Grandmother with Dementia Starts Singing in French After Using Music App

August 29, 2018

Ginette Koonjean, 71, was born in Mauritius but moved to the UK 50 years ago and stopped speaking in French years ago as her condition deteriorated.

The retired nurse, who had been part of a choir, had also stopped singing over 10 years ago. But then she used the MindHarp, a tool which can be played on an iPad and has been shown to help people with dementia engage with music and interact with people. She then sang a full rendition of song in French – much to the surprise of her carers and family.

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The Magic of Music

July 16, 2018

Every Friday, music therapist Laura Cowal-Belet visits Angelina in her home for one hour. Together they sing traditional Italian songs as Laura strums on a guitar. Sometimes Angelina keeps a steady beat with a mallet and tambourine.

When Laura plays and sings the Italian ballad Volare, its strong one-two-one-two rhythm triggers something within Angelina, allowing her to hold a mallet with her right hand — the side impaired by the stroke — while banging it on a tambourine, reading the song’s lyrics on a table in front of her, and singing along.

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