Aylesbury Library was a-buzz on Wednesday 17 May as the new Town Mayor, Cllr Tom Hunter-Watts welcomed and thanked members of the newly launched Aylesbury Town Dementia Action Alliance for their support in working towards creating a Dementia Friendly town.
The Library hosted the launch, where nostalgic items including books, posters, reminiscent scents, board games and more from the 1970’s and 80’s where on display. Details on Dementia Friendly screenings at the local theatre were available in addition to information on supporting independent living, community events and details for carers of support groups were also available for people to take away on the day.
The Mayor met with everyone who attended on the day from the Healthy Living Centre, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Carers Bucks, Skipton Building Insurance, The Alzheimer’s Society, Prevention Matters, Sportif Citroen, 3SpiritUK, Bucks Trading Standards and Thames Valley Police, and it was clear to see that everyone had a passion for supporting the community.
The Mayor further commented in his opening speech “When I started out in nursing, we often had patients born in the 1890s. I used to sing old Victorian music hall numbers and their faces lit up because they still knew all the words. But now I find that older people are too young for Shirley Temple, much less Florrie Forde. As I get older and older, older people get younger and younger, and the majority these days are into Elvis Presley and the Rat Pack. So, I have had to update my repertoire.
We all have the right to live a life with some fun and laughter in it. Laughter is the best pain killer that there is, and listening to my singing tends to induce laughter in most people. Cheaper than pills as well.
I read once that music and singing are older than speech, and that the parts of the brain used for melody are older than the parts used for words. To put it another way, we sang before we could talk. We feel with music, we relate to one another through music, we think with music. If someone with dementia has forgotten how to hold a conversation, or if they don’t speak at all, they may still be reached with song. We all have the right to sing.”
This year’s slogan from the Alzheimer’s Society is #unitedagainstdementia which was apt as Aylesbury’s Youth Town Councillors came to lend their support. Vice-Chairman of the Youth Town Council, Cllr Laura Sinclair said “it was important for the Youth Town Council to show their support as our mission statement speaks of bridging the gap across generations”.
Members of the Alliance have agreed to promote the work towards a Dementia Friendly town within their organisation and groups, and by working organically, will continue to support a community living with Dementia.