Murlough Melodies Sing the Notes of Positive Change for Memory Loss Patients

6th April 2023

Murlough Melodies, a singing group designed for people who are experiencing Dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss, is the first group of its kind in the South Down area.  The group has been a very successful initiative, helping both those experiencing memory loss and their carers to enjoy a wide range of music each week.

Social Work Assistant, Toni Adamson who coordinates the group has seen first-hand, the difference this can make to the lives of the participants.  Toni explained, “It was clear that there were a huge number of patients in the local area who had a diagnosis of Dementia, Alzheimer’s or memory loss and were being cared for by their spouses. They had no social outlets and were becoming increasingly isolated, this was a situation that needed to change.

“Research indicates that singing can harness improvements in a person’s health and wellbeing.  It helps to reduce anxiety and depression, promotes speech and language skills, creating a positive effect on a person and triggering happy memories from the past. We were eager to use non-medical interventions to assist our patients and their families and this is how the Murlough Melodies singing group was born.

“It is great to witness everyone participating in the sessions and enjoying singing along, the words are projected on a screen so everyone has the opportunity to get involved. The group has created a supportive environment not only for the patients but also for their carers, who can also enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the music and the social interaction they get from their peers.

“Our star performer, Edelle McMahon is an accomplished musician and has considerable experience in working with Alzheimer’s groups, her input has been extremely valuable and a great boost to the group.

“Participants have commented on how much fun this unique group is to participate in, with one saying, “It is the highlight of my husband’s week” and a family member who has witnessed the transformation this has had on their parent’s lives reflected, “This group has helped my parents engage and meet new people.”

The Murlough Melodies participants have also worked with pupils from the local Sacred Heart Primary School, the children attended a session held just before Christmas and brought handmade cards with them for the group and participated in singing along. This was a great co-productive session which was enjoyed by everyone involved and it is hoped that a similar event can be planned for the future.

The group will be holding sessions based in Seaforde Presbyterian Church Hall from Thursday 6 April 2023 at 2.30pm, some places are still available.

You can find out more about the sessions and register to participate by contacting the team on: (028) 4481 2727.

No experience of singing is required and participants do not need to be able to sing.