June 14, 2024

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Tony Christie drives Music for Dementia message home

New ‘Give It A Go’ campaign kicks off on Wednesday 1 May in Lichfield where singing legend Tony Christie is encouraging dementia carers to try music in their day to day care

A new ‘Give It A Go’ campaign from Music for Dementia, designed to encourage carers at home and at work to give music a try, was launched today by singing legend Tony Christie who announced in January 2023 he was living with dementia.

It is estimated there are 2.4 million people in the UK acting as unpaid care givers to people living with dementia. Overall, the number of unpaid carers could be as high as 10.6 million and every day another 600 people take on an unpaid caring responsibility. While there can be moments of joy, life can be tough for carers; 82% have feelings of hopelessness and 71% regularly feel tearful, and despite feeling they are at breaking point, nearly three quarters (73%) of these carers are continuing to provide care.

As a music lover and an Ambassador for Music for Dementia, Christie has thrown his weight behind the ‘Give It A Go’ campaign, which recognises that while music may not be a magic wand, it can be enough to turn the day around for carers. It is encouraging everybody, regardless of musical ability, to ‘give it a go’ and see if it helps.

As part of the new campaign, Music for Dementia has created a series of digital ads with simple and colourful messages encouraging carers to ‘prescribe some purple rain today’ and ‘try the singing thing’, while letting them know that ‘Sinatra’s power might help with the shower.’ From today, the digital billboards will be seen throughout the UK’s major cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow courtesy of Ocean Outdoor and GEM Display.

To mark the start of the campaign, a digital billboard AdVan was driven by Christie around his hometown of Lichfield as a means to raise awareness around the new campaign. After a brief stop in Lichfield, the mobile billboard travelled on to Manchester, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Christie also stars in a new short film, which can be found on Music for Dementia’s website, featuring families affected by dementia and how they are using music all around the country. The website is there to support carers who want to go further on their musical journey, with links to some of the amazing organisations available that can help them make a playlist, join a choir or pick up music therapy tips.

Christie said: “I’m here launching ‘Give it a Go’ to encourage families to try music as part of living with dementia. Research shows music can help manage dementia symptoms like anxiety as well as making every day that bit more enjoyable.  You don’t have to be a professional singer or musician to belt out a football anthem or hum the theme tune to Eastenders – it’s whatever works for you.”

Sarah Metcalfe, Managing Director at Music for Dementia, a campaign to make music an integral part of dementia care said: “Musical ability doesn’t matter, you could be a concert pianist or somebody who hasn’t got a musical note in their body. Being a carer can be stressful, lonely and exhausting, but music can help. People can visit our website for ideas to get started.

“Music can raise your spirits when things look bleak, it can manage stress and agitation, it can spark memories and create moments of joy. Just singing a song or finding a tune on your phone can turn a difficult moment around and get you through the day. We urge everyone affected by dementia to just give music a go.”

The final word of the day came from Christie’s wife Sue, who said: “I may have a terrible singing voice but I always join in and our house is filled with music. On more difficult days, it lightens the mood and on happier days, it makes us dance.”