CBS This Morning

Published on Sep 1, 2018
People diagnosed with dementia often see their worlds narrow, becoming more homebound as their condition progresses. One program is giving patients a new and joyous way to step back into life, by literally giving voice to both patients and their caregivers.
Dr. Jonathan LaPook reports.
Giving Voice inspires and equips organizations worldwide to bring together people with Alzheimer’s and their care partners to sing in choruses that foster joy, well-being, purpose and community understanding.  Since May, 2018, a new chorus (Resounding Voices) for people with dementia & their caregivers, is meeting in Rochester, Minnesota.
ROCHESTER, Minn. – Tuesday mornings for Joel Dunnette means music, friends, and a lot of fun.

“Frankly this group is fun. Singing together, making music with other people is fun. So I’m not good at it but they appreciate me being here which is nice,” he said.

This is all thanks to the Resounding Voices Choir. Joel is a member of the choir along with his wife, Sandra. While fun, the choir gives more than just a good time. It gives people with memory impairment and their caregivers a place to be social and help with memory.

The choir focuses on a person’s learning ability, rather than an inability to remember.

“Music has a power that you know, I come from a scientific background and it’s like we don’t know how this is working,” he said.
But it is working.

“I’ve noticed with my wife, she’s sharper after doing it, she’s happier after doing it,” Joel said. “I will hear her singing at home and there’s an enjoyment in that…I can see some of what I married 50 years ago.”

Resounding voices also helps Joel as a caregiver because he has the opportunity to hear and learn from other caregivers going through similar experiences.

“Times get a little hard. You got to take care of yourself so that you can take care of the other person,” he said. “You can always find some good in it. Even though there are things you wish were better you got to focus on what’s good.”

He encourages everyone to join in on what he calls, ‘the joyful noise.’

“If you have some memory loss, don’t hide away…get out of your house don’t be afraid, it’s a good friendly group. It’s a real opportunity to have a nicer, fun life,” he said.

To learn more about the choir, click here.  The chorus meets weekly and performs publicly.