West End star joins forces with Alzheimer’s Society to support Dementia Action Week
Dementia Action Week (21-27 May), encourages people to commit to an action, to make everyday life better for people affected by all forms of the condition. The Alzheimer’s Society partnered with the UK’s leading social enterprise leisure provider Better to support events that proved active lives are still possible for people living with dementia.
Across Better Leisure Centres and Libraries, staff provided a varied programme of sport and culture, welcoming existing and new customers through their doors.
The London Aquatics Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – which is working towards becoming a dementia-friendly facility, became host to the largest ‘Singing for the Brain’ extravaganza in the UK. Singing for the Brain sessions allow people living with dementia to enjoy singing along to live music. Music and singing have been shown to boost brain activity and song lyrics are often the one thing people living with dementia can remember, regardless of how advanced their condition is.
Sessions regularly take place in communities across the UK – including at the neighbouring Copper Box Arena. In recognition of Dementia Action Week, the iconic Olympic swimming and diving venue hosted the largest event of its kind in the UK, opening its doors to over 300 participants, from boroughs including Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Croydon, Redbridge, Barking, Havering, Kingston, Hammersmith & Hounslow.
Former Eastenders actor and West End star John Partridge also joined guests on the specially-adapted dive pool floor, to sing and dance to the live music, as well as treating the audience to a performance.
Elsewhere, Woolwich Central Library capped a week of activities - including a VR dementia experience, and dementia café - by receiving its Dementia Friendly Award, recognising the steps taken to make the library among the most accessible in the country.
Wellington Sports Centre in Taunton Deane, Somerset, led a health walk and hosted a quiz, as well as a session with a Natwest community banker, to advise on how to stay safe online and protect against fraud.Other activities included a number of free sport sessions at Sutton Sports Village in Greater London for people living with or caring for someone with dementia, including short tennis and walking football.
Caitlin Thomas, Corporate Health Manager at GLL said: “We’re dedicated to making our centres and services accessible and have loved supporting Dementia Action Week at Better facilities across the country.
“Our staff have made this happen with local initiatives being led by team members who are dementia friends and champions and who represent the Better leisure centres and libraries as an integral member of their local Dementia Action Alliance. We understand that we have a significant part to play in ensuring that those living with dementia and their carers retain vital links in to the community, stay active and enjoy social contact.”