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Live Music Now

Actor Simon Callow makes an appeal on behalf of Live Music Now, a charity using music and interactive performances to tackle isolation and loneliness in older people.


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My mother Yvonne worked hard all her life and brought me up on her own.

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She was always active and independent.

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But life for her now, at 94 years old, is very different.

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My mother suffers from severe dementia,

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she has done for many years. She doesn't speak at all,

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she doesn't recognise me, as far as I'm aware.

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She's lost everything that she knew -

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her home, her family, her friends.

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But despite the isolation that she must feel,

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I want her to have the best possible experience of life

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that she can have.

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I'm not alone in wanting a better quality of life for a loved one.

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This is Rose.

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Eight years ago, her father David was contentedly retired and married.

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My mum and dad were married for over 50 years.

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My father used to care for my mother a lot

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in that she became more and more immobile.

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They lived a quiet life together but I think he became her carer,

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and that became, in his eyes, his life, really.

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But after Rose's mother died two years later,

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her father David struggled to cope by himself.

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Well, I think he lost his purpose in life.

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He began to deteriorate.

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David was eventually diagnosed with dementia

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and Rose had to move him into a residential care home last year.

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He's now 86 years old.

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That was at Nicola's christening. Do remember that?

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-Not really.

-Not really.

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You know that, to a degree,

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as soon as they're in a home, they will withdraw.

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Now he really doesn't talk to people a great deal.

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He doesn't like to socialise particularly.

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I think he finds it almost threatening.

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Feeling helpless, Rose must watch her father

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become more and more withdrawn from the outside world.

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Illness, loss of loved ones, and mobility

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can seriously affect an older person's quality of life.

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They may face difficulties communicating,

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cut off from the pleasures of sharing with others.

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But there is help available from an organisation called Live Music Now.

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I've been able to experience the benefits of their work

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with my mother, so I'm now making this appeal on their behalf.

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Live Music Now is a charity

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which uses musicians and interactive performances

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to tackle isolation and loneliness in older people.

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Nearly half of all people aged 75 or over in the UK live on their own.

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82-year-old Betty has lived alone for 16 years.

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We used to do the gardening together, Frank and I,

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and he was pleased to do it, you know.

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And if he was happy, well, I was happy.

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When I lost Frank, that was very sudden. And I...

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That is the biggest adjustment - living here on my own, really.

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Betty's deteriorating health and mobility

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has made getting out of the house more difficult.

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Many people in Betty's situation

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easily become forgotten and isolated.

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Loneliness can be bad for you

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because you allow yourself to get depressed.

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And then you can't be bothered to go anywhere.

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You do begin to give up.

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And I don't want to give up yet.

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Thankfully, there's a charity that's working to help.

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For over 35 years, Live Music Now has been working on the best ways

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to bring the joy and benefits of live music to older people in need.

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With specially trained young musicians and tailored programmes,

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their work has an older person's wellbeing at its heart,

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providing the emotional, intellectual and social support,

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and helping to improve their enjoyment of life.

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A key part of the charity's work is providing regular music sessions

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in residential homes for the elderly.

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Hello! How are you? I'm Daire.

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-Are you a singer or a dancer, Peter?

-Neither.

-Oh, I don't believe you!

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The charity's special training for the musicians

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helps them understand the needs of different residents.

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A typical concert for me would be on arrival, greeting everyone,

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trying to get to know people at least a bit before the music starts,

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put them at ease, reassure them.

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We're going to start with something to get you all moving.

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This is from My Fair Lady.

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# I could have danced all night... #

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'It's really nice to see people coming along

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'and being really with you in the moment,

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'and I think that's something that music can do really well.'

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# ..Still have begged for more... #

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'Relatives and staff are also encouraged to participate.'

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'Our concerts often have quite a stark effect on the room,

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'from uniting everyone, bringing everyone together in a sing-song,

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'getting people to their feet to move around and dance.

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'People often say to me, "Oh, I can't, my legs don't work,"

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'and after two songs, they're up and moving around the room.

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'So that's quite fun to see.

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'Sometimes we have a bit of tears at our concerts,

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'and I always think tears and laughter,'

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if you make them laugh and cry, you've done a good job.

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# Heaven, I'm in heaven... #

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'The benefits of the sessions

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'can remain long after the musicians are gone.'

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'In terms of lasting effects, we really hope that it helps'

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to foster a sense of community and a sense of togetherness,

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'that people do things together, experience new things,

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'and there are new things to look forward to.'

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APPLAUSE

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Well, I enjoyed the concert very much.

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I thought it was very lively and the presenters were very charming.

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Music makes you feel light. I'd say it was brilliant!

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Live Music Now is making a real difference to people's lives.

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Their distinctive approach and regular music sessions

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make a vital contribution to those living with dementia,

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to their carers and their families,

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providing a channel of communication,

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when all hope seems lost.

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Live Music Now set up a four-month series of music workshops

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at David's care home last year.

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'I could tell that these sessions were important to my father

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'cos he was quite determined he didn't want to miss it.'

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So it was written on his calendar, which quite amazed me.

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And it was finally something

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that Rose and her father could share together again.

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I suppose you do get a part of your old dad back.

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I found it very pleasurable to be able to do something with my dad

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when he was quite obviously happy

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and we could both enjoy it together and talk about it afterwards.

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The charity also runs live music concerts

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for older people in the community

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who are at risk of being socially isolated or live alone.

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Like Betty.

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Well, it makes you feel a part of a group,

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and you're not isolated then at all.

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You go and you thoroughly enjoy it.

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And when you come back, you feel better for it.

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I think it's a tonic, actually, music.

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Live Music Now currently reaches

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nearly 30,000 isolated older people each year

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in both care homes and the community.

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But they're desperate to help even more.

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Your donation will help them provide a greater number

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of regular live music sessions, giving social and emotional support

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to older people across the UK who need it the most.

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Please go to the website, where you can donate.

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If you don't have access to the internet, then call 0800 011 011.

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If you can't get through, please, please keep trying.

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You can also donate £10 by texting SUPPORT to 70121.

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge,

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and the whole £10 goes to Live Music Now.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to Live Music Now,

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and send it to Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing "Live Music Now" on the back of the envelope.

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Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,

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the charity can collect gift aid on your donation worth another 25%.

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Just send in a note

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to say you want your donation to be subject to gift aid,

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and include the date, your full name and address.

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Thank you.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Actor Simon Callow makes an appeal on behalf of Live Music Now, a charity using music and interactive performances to tackle isolation and loneliness in older people. The charity believes that music can have transformative benefits for people's quality of life.

The film features 86-year-old David, who struggled to cope after the death of his wife, the onset of dementia, and a move into residential care. His daughter Rose has watched her formerly contented, sociable father become increasingly withdrawn from all social interaction. She talks about the genuine difference that the charity's music workshops in David's care home made to his behaviour and to their relationship.