Meet Tom, a member of Age UK Salford
For six weeks in September and October 2022, members of Age UK Salford took part in music workshops each Wednesday with Create musician Holly Marland.
Tom (80) told us about his experiences on the project.
“I’ve had dementia for about 10 years. I don’t think it’s got worse but it may have done. As a doctor I had to stop working. I get a lot of support from my wife and I’ve got a daughter who also helps.
“Initially it worried me a lot, and I felt diminished by it. But with all the things like my family and coming here [to Age UK Salford], that’s lifted me up quite a bit. The challenges are trying to remain independent and not leaning too much on your family, be that your wife or your children; and trying to keep your morale up – by going out, by reading and realising that, particularly in this area, there are a lot of lovely people who can help you in this journey, which can be incredibly lonely unless you’ve got support.
a morale boost
“I’ve been coming every Wednesday for the past six weeks. I have learnt a lot. It has also lifted up my morale. Because the teams are so warm and friendly and skilful at talking to people, it has uplifted me psychologically. I’ve learnt how much I enjoy music. It cheers me up and inspires me.
“Doing something creative always feels good because it builds your confidence. When your memory is not as good as it was, that’s absolutely essential.”tom, create participant
“It’s a very good experience working with the group because it stops you feeling lonely, with a group of people who are probably going down the same road as you, and we all help each other. It’s a very friendly small society.
“Doing something creative always feels good because it builds your confidence. I certainly felt that helps me. When your memory is not as good as it was, that’s absolutely essential.
“I need this support”
“I’ve learnt that I need this support. I find [it] very inspiring, and overall it has taught me how important it is, particularly with dementia, to be talking to and mixing with other people. In many respects we’re all very similar, and we’re all trying to overcome the effects of dementia, which can lower your morale quite a lot.
“I think I’ve always been a creative person. I have sung in choirs as a young man, I’ve probably always been quite good at painting and things like that. But all of this helps me keep happy.
“Projects like this help people living with dementia tremendously in cheering them up because, as we know, dementia is quite depressing, particularly when you’ve had a very active life. I have been very active as a doctor and a surgeon. So it has been good for my morale.”
This project was funded by an anonymous benefactor.