A Singing Group for People with Dementia and Their Families
Directed by Chris White and Moe Archambault, Turquoise is a weekly singing group for people with dementia and members of their families. In an atmosphere of friendship, creativity and fun, the group delivers a wide range of significant social, cognitive and emotional benefits in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. The sessions lift people’s spirits, encourage participation and collaboration, and maintain an ongoing focus on *learning*.
This Grassroots Festival workshop demonstrates some of the techniques that make the ‘Turquoise approach’ so effective. A short documentary produced by Chad Kirvan captures the impact of two performances of a musical called ‘The Wizard of Ottawa’ that Turquoise delivered in April, 2019: https://youtu.be/WL5UMoxu0mw.
Chris White is a songwriter, song leader and radio host who loves to connect people with music and with one another. He co-founded the Ottawa Folk Festival in 1993 and guided its evolution for 16 years as Artistic Director. He hosts two weekly radio programs on CKCU FM, and has released three albums of his songs. He leads five “”dementia-friendly”” singing groups each week, with the twin goals of generating as much fun and learning as possible. For more information. please contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moe Archambault is a Registered Practical Nurse who has worked for over 30 years providing high-quality care for seniors. She also supports seniors on a volunteer basis in community centres, seniors’ residences and care facilities. A self-described “”all-round fun-loving individual””, Moe radiates positive energy and addresses individual needs during Turquoise sessions, and stays connected with participants between sessions.
Media and Academic Interest in the Turquoise Approach
The benefits of the Turquoise program have been described in several articles, and have attracted the interest of an international, cross-disciplinary research consortium that is studying factors that contribute to positive aging.
Trish Elliott, the minister at Southminster United Church where Turquoise sessions take place, described the group in her article about music and dementia in Broadview magazine. She will delve more deeply into the ‘Turquoise approach’ in her upcoming book about innovative approaches to dementia:
Ottawa journalist Joel Haslam did a short profile of Turquoise for CTV News: