Michael & Isabel’s Story
A Shaw Spotlight feature on two members of the Voices in Motion Choir - their life story and the positive impact Voices in Motion has made on their lives.
Dr. Debra Sheets (Founder of ViM and Co-Lead Researcher, UVic Nursing) on CBC Radio:
Debra Sheets talks to CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie about how members of Voices in Motion—a choir in Victoria for adults with memory loss, their caregivers, friends and students—have continued to maintain their sense of community and joy by continuing to sing together online.
Erica Phare-Bergh (Artistic Director) on CBC Radio:
Victoria’s Voices In Motion was created to see if singing in a choir could tell us more about how music interacts with the effects of dementia in the brain. The pandemic has stopped their gatherings, but they’re still finding ways to bring people together, and bring people back.
Voices in Motion on CHEK News – Vital People
More than half a million Canadians are currently living with some form of dementia and as friends and family wonder how best to support their loved one as the disease progresses, a choir in Victoria is doing just that.
Rick Bergh & Erica Phare-Bergh – BC Choral Federation Town Hall Webinar
Rick Bergh (bereavement counsellor) and Erica Phare-Bergh (conductor/composer) join BCCF Executive Director Willi Zwozdesky and conductor/clinician Sandra Meister to look at ways to rebuild a grieving choral community.
University of Victoria Online Academic Community
Like many other programs, UVic’s Voices in Motion community choir research project had to move online in March—not an easy feat for five choirs supporting a study on people with dementia and their caregivers.
Featured as an op-ed in The Tyee
Debra Sheets is the research lead for Voices in Motion and a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria; André Smith is an associate professor in the UVic department of sociology; Stuart MacDonald is a professor in the UVic department of psychology; Erica Phare-Bergh is artistic director of Voices in Motion in Victoria and Rick Bergh is executive director.
The CBC-Radio program Now or Never
Curious about our caregivers, Now or Never came to one of our choir rehearsals to interview some of our special duets under the theme, Amazing Caregivers. Ralph and Penny openly share some of their thoughts, and they also spoke with Erica. The episode which aired Saturday, February 8 across Canada. If you go to 19:08, you’ll find the start of the ViM segment.
Voices in Motion: a joyful choir for those with dementia and their loved ones
Voices in Motion is a multi-generational choir that brings together adults experiencing memory loss, their family members, care partners, caregivers, young people and members of the community. Founded just two years ago, there are now six Voices in Motion choirs across Greater Victoria.
Concert Gives Voices to Those With Dementia
A local choir put on a winter concert Sunday afternoon to help de-stigmatize dementia and improve the health of participants with Alzheimer’s or dementia and the people who care for them through song.
What happened when Victoria teens joined seniors with dementia in a choir
Jessica Coady, 17, joined a choir this spring unlike any she had ever seen before. Besides high-school students such as herself, the choir gathered together singers in mid-life and older adults with dementia. But in the first few rehearsals, as they learned pieces ranging from Second World War ballads to African songs, “it was actually a bit of a struggle to tell who had Alzheimer’s.”
Meet our Researchers: Debra Sheets, University of Victoria
For people with dementia and their caregivers, it can be difficult to find activities that strike the right balance between being supportive, being socially appropriate and, of course, being fun. As the disease progresses and abilities change, it’s common for friends to withdraw and activities to start to fall away. A person is left with few things that can offer joy, a sense of purpose and human connection.
Singing for social connection and for science
Before her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Noel Schacter’s wife found joy in singing with a local Bach choir. But as the disease progressed, participation in regular choirs became too difficult, Schacter said. So when he saw a notice about a new intergenerational choir for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, he quickly sent an application to its creator at the University of Victoria. “I immediately jumped on it,” Schacter said.
The world doesn’t end when you have Alzheimer’s: Isabel and Michael’s story
My wife, Isabel, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in January 2011. At that time, she was 70 years old. I had been aware for a year or so that things weren’t right. The repetitive questioning, poor cognition, getting lost in familiar places, etc., were all signs which made me worry and wonder. Eventually, I asked our GP, who admitted he was concerned as well, mainly due to her unusual responses to basic medical questions. She was tested, diagnosed and soon after lost her driving license.
Singing to fight the stigma and social isolation of dementia
The Second World War was young and Rita Goodman was nine years old when she first started singing about bluebirds flying over the white cliffs of Dover and the long, long road to Tipperary. In her earliest memories of the songs, she was huddled in the darkened basement of the Liverpool orphanage where she grew up, being led in song by nuns who taught their young charges to sing to drown out the sounds of the German Luftwaffe as bombers pummelled the British port city.
Intergenerational choir in Victoria hopes to end stigma around dementia
An intergenerational choir that is part of a pilot project by the University of Victoria is hoping to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. “It’s not like singing is going to improve brain health but if we can address a lot of the lower things like high-stress levels, depression, social isolation, they might be able to capitalize better on the resources they have,” said Dr. Stuart MacDonald, associate professor in the Department of Psychology for UVic.
Intergenerational choir helps UVic researchers study dementia
Voices in Motion, a new choir formed as a research project at the University of Victoria, is already showing that living with dementia does not mean a life without song. Formed as part of a scientific and medical investigation and led by researchers at UVic, the 60-member choir bills itself as multi-generational. Voices in Motion boasts as members 20 people living with dementia, 20 of their care-givers and 20 teens from St. Andrew’s Regional High School.
The power of music provides comfort to those with dementia
People living with dementia often suffer from isolation. But a nursing professor from the University of Victoria has been working to change that. Dr. Debra Sheets is the lead researcher for a Victoria choir that began in January called Voices in Motion. It is for people with dementia and their family caregivers.
New choir strikes a chord for people with dementia
A new Saanich-based choir is looking to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s disease by pairing people afflicted by the disease with high school students. About 50 people gathered on Wednesday to sing at Voices in Motion’s first session in the multipurpose room of Saint Joseph the Worker Parish in Saanich. The University of Victoria research-based initiative joins high school students in a choir with locals in the early or intermediate stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers, to study effect of singing and socialization on those with dementia.