Volunteers needed for support service

John and Edith Appleby with Singing fo the Brain volunteer Malcolm Bennett.
John and Edith Appleby with Singing fo the Brain volunteer Malcolm Bennett.

The news that a potential dementia treatment has failed to live up to its promise serves to highlight the importance of supporting people with the condition.

That’s the view of Alzheimer’s Society volunteering officer Fiona Swindell, who believes the search for a cure should not overshadow the need to help those currently in need.

She was speaking following a Singing for the Brain session at The Alnwick Garden, where people living with dementia take part in musical activities that stimulate memories.

Last week, pharmaceutical company Lilly announced that its Alzheimer’s disease drug in development, Solanezumab, had not lived up to expectations.

Fiona said: “It’s obviously disappointing news and serves to remind us that despite all of the research work currently taking place, there’s no cure or ground-breaking treatment on the horizon.

“That’s why it is doubly important to do all we can right now to help people to live well with dementia – and that is precisely what Alzheimer’s Society services like Singing for the Brain aim to do.”

The Alnwick group meets once a month, but urgently needs more volunteers.

John and Edith Appleby, of Amble, are regular visitors to the sessions. Edith, 86, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago and John, 83, is her main carer.

John said: “We’ve been married for 62 years and I’m determined to care for Edith for as long as I can. I’m managing OK at the moment but I realise there might come a day when I can’t.

“Services like Singing for the Brain make a big difference to us. It’s a chance for us to get out of our routine and mix with other people.”

For details, email Fiona at Fiona.swindell@alzheimers.org.uk or ring 0191 2983989.