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The TV repeats and old songs that help people with dementia


The film poster for It's A Wonderful LifeImage copyright
Liberty Films

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Old films like It’s A Wonderful Life can stimulate memories and feelings

TV repeats and familiar festive songs can help people with dementia by stimulating memories and keeping the brain active.

Christmas can be an unsettling time for those with dementia.

But experts say singing along to songs like White Christmas can stimulate “emotional memories”.

And while people with dementia might not remember the exact details of It’s A Wonderful Life, they may recall how they felt at the end of the film.

NHS England’s national clinical director for dementia, Prof Alistair Burns, says Christmas can sometimes be strange or confusing for those living with dementia.

Lots of social engagements and a steady stream of house guests coming through the door have the potential to be unsettling.

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The familiarity of Christmas specials on TV can be reassuring

But he says watching familiar films or singing along to favourite songs can help make the festive season easier to navigate.

“People with dementia might find it hard to follow convoluted conversations amid the chaos and noise of Christmas and can end up feeling excluded.

“Gathering the family round to watch a much-loved classic film, thumb through an old photo album, play a family game or even sing along to a favourite carol can bring people together and help everybody feel part of the fun.”

Experts say it is the emotional details of a favourite film or song that remain lodged in our minds.

Rekindling them improves a feeling of connectedness with other people which is important for both people with dementia and their friends and families.

NHS England has this advice on how to make Christmas easier to cope with for someone with dementia.

  • Put decorations up gradually so it doesn’t come as too much of a change
  • Help people who are frail or living with dementia feel included by getting them to assist with hanging a bauble or other simple tasks
  • Spread out family visits to keep things low key and familiar
  • Don’t overload on food – a full plate can be difficult to tackle for somebody with dementia who might have eating difficulties
  • Be flexible with planning – be prepared to change plans if something isn’t working

Prof Burns is also urging people to look out for signs of dementia among older family members and friends over Christmas.

These might include emotional changes and forgetfulness which can sometimes be the first indication that someone has dementia.

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The Good Life: An old favourite

Kathryn Smith, chief operating officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, says Christmas can pose difficulties for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, but there are strategies that can help.

“Whether it’s an old song they used to enjoy or a classic Christmas film, reminiscing can be beneficial to someone with dementia – it can help to maintain their self-esteem, confidence and sense of self, as well as improve social interactions with others.

“However, every person with dementia is different, so it’s important to listen and accommodate your loved one’s unique needs and wishes.”



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Hollyoaks’ Luke Morgan ISN’T in the flash forward episode sparking fan fears he will die after dementia diagnosis


LUKE Morgan will not feature in the Hollyoaks New Year’s Eve flashforwarded episode fuelling fears he is going to be killed off next year.

Soap fans have been terrified Luke – who is played by actor Gary Lucy in the Channel 4 soap – is going to die next year after being diagnosed with dementia.

 Hollyoaks fans are convinced that Luke Morgan is leaving the soap again

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Hollyoaks fans are convinced that Luke Morgan is leaving the soap againCredit: Channel 4

The Sun Online can reveal actor Gary will not appear in the special hour-long episode which will jump forward a yea rot explore the new drug dealing County Lines storyline, meaning he could die in the next year.

While Luke’s ex Mandy and his friend Nancy both appear in the flash-forward, Luke does not and his absence is conspicuous.

Taking to a fan forum, many asked if Luke’s dementia diagnosis meant he would be saying farewell to the village.

It comes after Luke dumped his girlfriend Cindy Cunningham just days after proposing to her.

Fans were left in tears at the emotional scenes and started questioning Luke’s future.

“Oh wow. Yeah. Not expecting this at all. I think he’ll die in late 2020,” one person wrote.

 Viewers were in tears as Luke dumped his girlfriend Cindy

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Viewers were in tears as Luke dumped his girlfriend CindyCredit: Channel 4

A second viewer commented: “Unless it’s a misdiagnosis or something, I think this must be the end for Luke.”

And a third added: “Soaps do often kill off an iconic character in an anniversary year. But I think Gary is absolutely going to smash this and it will be heart-breaking to watch.”

A fourth fan was really upset at the possibility of Gary leaving, and wrote: “Not happy about it at all, plus they did change his character from when he left to how he was when he came back with Luke saying he’s a loser all the time.

“He was more positive when he first left. I really wanted to see him back to be more like his old self & move forward.”

Hollyoaks fans break down in tears as dying Luke dumps Cindy to save her from watching him die

Gary, 38, first joined Hollyoaks back in 1999 and was a series regular up until 2002.

During this time he received much praise for taking on the male rape storyline and won the Best Newcomer Award at the 2000 British Soap Awards.

He returned to the soap in 2017, and then again earlier this year following his character’s stint behind bars.

Hollyoaks airs weeknights on Channel 4 at 6.30pm with a first look episode following at 7pm on E4





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