Care home staff rocked against dementia


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A pop concert at a pub raised the roof – and money to battle dementia.

Among the stars at the Rock Against Dementia night at the Commercial pub in Wrexham was Olivia Thomas, 26, a singer who once shared a stage with pop princess Pixie Lott.

She was joined by musical workmates from the award-winning care home organisation, Pendine Park

They performed an energetic mix of pop, indie, R n B, and raised a total of £300.

The proceeds are going to help raise awareness of dementia and support the work of Admiral Nurses, who are specially trained look after people who have it.

Olivia Thomas, an activities and wellbeing coordinator at Pendine Park and one fifth of girl-band Indigo City, performed on the same stage as Pixie Lott at Chester Rocks.

At the Commercial she sang Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, and Killing Me Softly by the Fugees.

Olivia said: “The night went really well. We had a fantastic turnout. After everyone had performed we had karaoke at the end which was really funny. There were a lot of people dancing and singing along.

“We had a raffle, and there were loads of different prizes like wine, and chocolate. Places like Nando’s, ODEON, and Mecca Bingo donated prizes. We even had a big hamper from Unilever.

“They’ve all been very generous so we’re really grateful to them. We’re also really grateful to the Commercial because they donated an extra £100 on top of the £200 we raised and they put on free buffett.

Olivia added: “Music is very important to what we do here at Pendine Park. It’s part of our enrichment programme.

“The residents always remember the old songs. They bring back memories for them. Music connects with people on a different level.”

Also performing on the night was Olivia’s boyfriend Rob Hanaghan, 26, an engineer from Neston on the Wirral, who played an acoustic version of Purple Angel, a dementia awareness campaign song written by Pendine Park staff member Tracey Green.

Care practitioner Bethan Williams, 23, who works at Pendine Park’s Hillbury care home, also sang on the night. She performed True Colours by Cyndi Lauper, and Valerie by Amy Winehouse.

Dementia is a common condition that affects about 800,000 people in the UK.

It is a syndrome associated with an on-going decline of the brain and its abilities. This includes problems with, memory loss, thinking speed, mental agility, language, understanding and judgement.

The driving force behind the event was Anita Moran, activities and well-being coordinator at Pendine Park’s Hillbury care home.

She is the first person in Wales to become an ambassador the worldwide Purple Angels dementia campaign that’s been supported from the outset by Pendine Park.

Pendine Park is a pioneer in dementia care and has won numerous awards for its work.

Anita was inspired to join the Purple Angels campaign, which has spread to 79 countries, by the experience of her late father Barry, who had dementia.

She said: “It’s a cause that’s really close to my heart because of my experience with my dad and the fact that I work with people who have dementia day in day out. I see what families go through and I’ve experienced it myself and it’s heart-breaking.

“It’s hard to deal with when your family members forget who you are. That’s why I try to give families of people who have dementia as much support as I can, because I’ve been there myself and I understand what they’re going though.

“My dad forgot who I was and it was the worst feeling ever. But you have to remember that it’s the disease.”

Anita deed: “The Rock Against Dementia Night went really well. I couldn’t have wished it to be any better to be honest.

“Everyone had fun, but they also understood the serious side of it, and they were all talking about dementia and sharing their experiences. There were a lot of people there whose family members have dementia.”

She said: “Music can change people’s moods. If they’re feeling a bit sad then music can make them happy.

“Rock Against Dementia is just a way of using music, poetry and the arts to raise awareness of dementia, and how the arts can help people with the condition.

“Admiral Nurses are specially trained so they better understand people with dementia. They work within hospitals to support people with dementia and their families. They make a real difference.”

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