Bedfordshire Police welcomed the Alzheimer’s Society to their headquarters in Kempston last month as officers hosted a ‘Singing for the Brain’ session.
Singing for the Brain sessions are attended by people living with dementia and their carers, and the activities build on the well-known preserved memory for song and music in the brain.
Even when many memories are hard to retrieve, music is especially easy to recall.
Sergeant Phil Boyd has been attending local Singing for the Brain sessions after hearing about the initiative when Alzheimer’s Society representatives were invited to give a presentation to a group of officers and staff at a Dementia Champions Forum, which was organised by Mental Health Lead Chief Inspector Jaki Whittred.
The group meet in Biggleswade every week and for the past few months Sergeant Boyd has been attending the sessions as often as he can, and he even joined the group in the summer to take part in the Bedford Memory Walk and raise money for the charity.
As well as holding a bake sale throughout the day which raised £301, chief constable Jon Boutcher presented the charity with a cheque for £1,000.
Sergeant Boyd said: “We have been working closely with the Alzheimer’s Society for some time now to improve the force’s understanding of dementia and how it affects people.
“It is estimated that dementia affects one in 14 people over 65, and some of these people will live in the communities that we protect and serve.
“I have been attending their sessions since May and I thought it was only right to invite the group to HQ to say a huge thank you to them all for making me feel part of their team and so they could meet other officers from the force and find out more about us and what we do.
“I think it was important that our officers and staff could meet them too and see a ‘Singing for the Brain’ session for themselves and how important it is.
“Everyone joined in and it was an absolute pleasure to host. We had a great morning and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.”
Ayla Patton from the Alzheimer’s Society said: “I thought the day was an excellent demonstration of the strong community development and partnership work between the two organisations.
“This was an outstanding day for everyone involved and it clearly meant a tremendous amount to people with dementia and to their carers.
“The people who attended this session chose their favourite songs and were practicing for weeks to become pitch perfect.
“Everyone had an amazing amount of fun and that’s what the sessions are about – fun and enjoyment.
“The Singing for the Brain sessions help raise the spirits of people who are affected by dementia, they leave feeling happy and that’s what people remember.
“A big thank you must also go to Phil Boyd, Jaki Whittred and to all of the Bedfordshire Police for their support in making this a special day for the Bedfordshire and Luton Alzheimer’s Society.”