Alzheimer's: The Musical - BBC2 tonight


Registered User
Apr 29, 2007
Good Evening

Not sure if there is already a post about this but this evening 21:50 on BBC2 is a programme Wonderland: Alzheimer's: The Musical. Exploring the benefit of music for dementia sufferers.

The write up in the Mail was every good. I will be watching with interest as my lovely Dad John enjoyed a good singalong even in the very late stages of dementia and amazingly remembered all the words to the old favourites.

It's now 5 weeks since we lost Dad, and I miss him terribly....

Aplogies again if a previous post has already mentioned this programme tonight.

Kind regards to all

Gill x


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
From what I've seen in Ken's care home music has a power to reach many dementia sufferers. Sitting and holding hands and singing songs has a wonderful effect. I've just bought a 12 CD collection of the war years songs for the home, one disk is Vera Lynn, on is George Formby, one is swing with Glen Miller, one is Gracie fields ect etc. Way beyond my and Kens period of music but it is wonderful to see Hilda aged 92 sitting in a corner singing away to the words. Or Billy who never speaks and is aged 88 joining in a chorus or two of a song.

A young man comes sometimes with his dad. They have marracas tanbourines, shakers and swishers, Then they play Glen Miller songs and everyone shakes their instrument to the beat of the music. Some residents need you to help them shake their instrument but it is a very pleasurable activity which joins us losely together. Alice will have a go for a few minutes then wander off, Hilda will sit there for the whole session shaking her shaker. Mary will just sit and watch, Everyone takes part in some form or another for either a short or longer time. It is very enjoyable to be a part of these activities. The home pays the two men to come along and in this way the residents get some stimulation.

Then we have regular visits by a local choir. The average age of the choir members is over eighty years but they take it very serioiusly, all wearing a 'uniform' and looking very smart indeed. They sing and some residents sing along with them. The choir is very poular at the home.

Our karioki machine has been broken for some time but we have been promised a new one for Christmas. The care workers and I take turns in singing and dancing along to a song and this also goes down very well with residents.

We have spot that tune where residents have to cover up the title of a song which they hear on a board with a counter but this is very hard work and needs lots of helpers,

These are a few of the singing activities which take place regularly at Ken's EMI home.

?We are all very much looking forward to our Christmas Party on the 18th when we have a gutarist and two singers come along to play for us. We get residents up to dance or just sit and sing the songs with them. It is lovely.

Just a few simple ways to make a day a little more exciting and interesting both for residents and for staff. Of course the residents wander in and out, they can stay and take part if they want or they can wander away for a while and then wander back. It is all free and easy.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
What a moving programme.
I could identify with so many of the couples and was in tears for them and ourselves with every story.
And the lyrics of the songs were so meaningful.

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
North Derbyshire
Tina that is so much what I wanted for my mum in the care home, and to be fair, although it was nothing as grand as your effort, they did have entertainers and singers and Janice the manager (who died in a tragic car accident) often brought in CDs and tried to get residents singing. I don't know if it was just the mix of residents or their state of mind, but it never really worked. I thought mum would love it, but she didn't remember the words and often said "what is that racket? Can't they turn it off?". And mum was always a singer of the stuff you have mentioned. It was very sad that she didn't enjoy it.

Ah well.



Registered User
Nov 2, 2007
West Sussex
Excellent documentary. I was a bit worried about where it was going to go, "Alzheimer's the Musical". However I felt it was very insightful and the only other word I can think of to describe it is Tender. My Mum is in final stages of AD and she is only coherent when she sings, she was never a singer but did and still does love music. Recently the best responses I have got from her are when I talk to her about Elton John, Rod Stewart or Mick Hucknall!

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Well, have just about stopped crying enough to type ....:eek:

That was so moving – and uplifting, and sad and wonderful.
First thought that programme should be compulsory viewing for all the care home owners (a la Gerry Robinson programme) running ‘stagnant lounges’. :mad: (I was lucky mum’s NH unit had staff who spontaneously burst into song and/or dance and I perhaps never realised the merits of it) .... but I also felt overwhelmed by the couples shown – I know we ‘witness’ that dedication and devotion on TP but it humbled me.

I thought Tom was wonderful taking up his dancing again ... his devotion to his wife not lessened by his bravery in taking up something they had loved together and hopefully gives him much pleasure and some release from all the sorrowful things in his life. A carer knowing to take care of himself, I suppose?

Hauntingly brilliant, moving and inspirational .... in so many ways .....

Karen, x

sad nell

Registered User
Mar 21, 2008
bradford west yorkshire
just watched that programme and am in tears, but ashamed to say for selfish reasons, just wish trev was so well it would be wonderfull, how bad does that sound but just being honest. some 2 years ago at an alzhiemers walk there was a percussion band and they allowed trev to gone in, he loved it and i pushed for music therapy, contacted bradford uni, nothing in our area? contacted localAZ something in pipe line but never materialised, to late for my trev now but am sure it can help others, the smile on trevs face when he beat out a rhythem was wonderfull, i urge anyone to give it a try, tonight trev responded to an old irish song on the programme, just lifted an eyebrow, but i knew it stirred something, this must have research as to why, and give our loved ones some moments of pleasure, sorry to be so emotional. but just how i am at mo goodnight pam


Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
Co. Derry
Hb with the possible FTD very musical - tonight conducted dress rehearsal for Christmas Concert & son played violin in a musical in another venue. & we have often all 3 sung to a guitar in a care home. There are plenty of folks out there connected with dementia who have talents if the local AS workers want volunteers they can just ask & they should be flooded with responses.

Still I'm wondering if there is an element of - "the others will do it"......maybe if I ring my local care home I'll find the others are not doing it this year & we should step in??


Registered User
Mar 26, 2009
Bookworm I think you have a point - maybe people assume it's all being done.. so no need. But what a need by the sounds of things and what rewards! Hello Tina T your care home sounds a happy place. .. or as happy a can be expected, which is what we can all only hope for.