Choir brings joy of music to Alzheimer’s patients and their care - KPTV - FOX 12

Choir brings joy of music to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Monday, June 20 is the longest day of the year, and the Alzheimer’s Association is using that fact to honor those with Alzheimer’s and the people who care for them.

While it is easy to talk about all the things Alzheimer’s patients can no longer do, researchers have found that many still are able to find joy in music because music takes less cognitive power.

As a part of their "Go Purple" campaign, the Alzheimer Association of Oregon sponsors a choir called "Sing Here Now" made up of patients and their caregivers. The patients in the group are dealing with various stages of Alzheimer's, from early onset to the more typical, older patients in the early and middle stages of the disease.

Marsha Swantz brings her 89-year-old mother Lorraine, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about eight years ago, to participate in the choir. Lorraine is entering the middle stage of the disease and now lives in a memory care facility.

"When we start getting a little confused or disturbed by something, I know the songs to start singing and then we start singing and then we forget all our troubles," Marsha said. 

Organizers of "Sing Here Now" say the focus of the choir is social interaction, and that patients often experience reduced stress and improved moods from singing, to which Marsha can attest.

"We don't have good voices, but we make joyful noise," she said.

"Well, if it's a big enough bunch then they don't hear our voices," her mother added.

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and there is no cure for the disease.It is now the most expensive disease in the country to treat and it is estimated that by the middle of this century the numbers of those with this disease will triple.

For more information for patients and families, visit ALZ.org.

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