Airport choir helping spread the word on dementia

editorial image

More than 60 people who are living with dementia, their family carers, and volunteers, sang at London Luton Airport during Dementia Awareness Week.

People moving through the airport’s departure lounge were greeted by the singers from the Young@Heart dementia café and Stopsley Singing Café during the awareness raising event just after midday today (Friday).

Maria Collins, of the home care company Home Instead Luton and Central Bedfordshire, has organised the Friends With Voices event to prove that people who are living with conditions including Alzheimer’s disease are still able to play a full role in society.

Maria, who also chairs Luton’s Dementia Action Alliance, said: “Traditionally once people have been diagnosed with dementia they are treated differently, friendships end, they and their family carers become socially isolated and stigma surrounds the diagnosis of this condition of the brain.

“By singing at London Luton Airport we are hoping to raise awareness that it is possible to live well with dementia – singing is beneficial and has been shown to have a positive effect on well- being.”

Maria said the event will also support London Luton Airport with its intention to become dementia friendly having recently become a member of the Luton Dementia Action Alliance.

She added: “Having London Luton Airport on board is a major step forward. By helping their staff become more dementia friendly, they in turn, can help spot the signs of confusion and bewilderment and help people who are living with dementia, when travelling through this busy airport to experience it in a calm and dementia friendly way.”

London Luton Airport’s Accessibility Manager Liz Saint-Clare said: “We want everyone who comes to the airport to have the best possible experience regardless of their needs. Ensuring all of our staff have an awareness of conditions like dementia is a key priority and we aim to be fully dementia friendly by the end of the year”.

Friends With Voices is also being helped by local bus company Arriva who supplied transport for the choir from Crawley Green Sports Centre to London Luton Airport.

The choir was conducted by Teela Hughes, from Music24 and John Peace, of the Stopsley Singing Café.