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TV repeats, old songs help people with dementia

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Health Desk- Dec 22, 2019: TV repeats and familiar festive songs can help people with dementia by stimulating memories and keeping the brain active.

Christmas can be an unsettling time for those with dementia.

But experts say singing along to songs like White Christmas can stimulate "emotional memories".

And while people with dementia might not remember the exact details of It’s A Wonderful Life, they may recall how they felt at the end of the film.

NHS England's national clinical director for dementia, Prof Alistair Burns, says Christmas can sometimes be strange or confusing for those living with dementia.

Lots of social engagements and a steady stream of house guests coming through the door have the potential to be unsettling.

"People with dementia might find it hard to follow convoluted conversations amid the chaos and noise of Christmas and can end up feeling excluded.

"Gathering the family round to watch a much-loved classic film, thumb through an old photo album, play a family game or even sing along to a favourite carol can bring people together and help everybody feel part of the fun."

Experts say it is the emotional details of a favourite film or song that remain lodged in our minds.

Courtesy: BBC Health