A charity from Swinton aims to bring life and rhythm into the hearts of those living with Dementia.
Over 180 people were in attendance at Swinton’s Grand Palais, on Station Road, to support Dancing With Dementia, a monthly event which provides an opportunity for people with the illness to socialise and have fun in a musical environment.
Evelyn Hale, 80, attends the sessions every month and said that despite the illness, music always remains familiar: “A lot of these people here have dementia, and music is one of the things we’ll never forget.
“They can do the steps because it’s always there in the mind. It’s always there is dancing and it never leaves them.
“The volunteers are wonderful people, and we really enjoy ourselves.”
Volunteers and carers help coordinate a raffle, as well as live entertainment to help those with dementia live their life to the fullest through songs.
Dementia, as an illness, describes a group of symptoms relating to severe memory loss.
In Salford, there are thought to be over 700 people diagnosed with the condition each year.
From a previous study by the Manchester Evening News, Salford had the highest rate of diagnosis in Greater Manchester, at 76.3 per cent.
Lesley Fisher, 68, became involved with the group four years ago after her sister was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia and she wanted to find out more about ways to help.
Since the group began, they have been awarded charity status and are on the lookout for more volunteers to help with their increasing demand.
Lesley and her sister used to dance and the Grand Palais in Swinton. Since its renovation, she saw a perfect opportunity to create something fun for the community.
She chose to host the event at the iconic Grand Palais in Swinton as many of the guests have fond memories of the venue from their younger years.
“I did a little bit of research and found out that music, singing and dancing was very therapeutic for people with the condition,” she said.
“We started off four years ago and had 24 people who came. We’ve grown just a little to say the least, and have about 180 people here today.”
Shirley Henson attends the event every month, accompanied by her carers from Worsley Lodge. She enjoys the music because it takes her back to fond memories of her youth.
She said: “It’s important to us because it’s our type of dancing.
“We know the crowd we go out with, we all like this music. We were brought up into this from being young.”
We believe that everyone with dementia should be treated with dignity.
Too often, people with dementia face discrimination and treatment that contravenes their human rights.
— Alzheimer’s Society (@alzheimerssoc) December 10, 2019
Elaine Fox, a local Tesco employee, is one of the regular volunteers who gives donations to the to Dancing with Dementia. This month, Christmas themed donations were welcomed in light of the festive season.
“I bring quite a few donations to the event. Sometimes, like today, it’s hats, other days it can be food for the buffet, or I’ll bring some raffle prizes that we can use to make money for the next event,” she said.
“They come in and always call me Miss Tesco! They’re always just so happy to see you.
“We all really look forward to it every month. We try and do different events with themes. They come and join in, and their faces just light up as soon as they come through the door.”
For those looking to volunteer and find out more about the charity, find out more here.
To find out more information about the illness and other organisations you can get involved with, you can visit the Alzheimer’s Society’s website.