May 02, 2023

By Christine Ross

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Listen to Christine’s report here.

Attending a music concert in person can be anxiety-inducing for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

But a concert series that accommodates their needs is returning to live in-person performances in Toronto.

“When it comes to dementia-friendly programming, we make adaptations such as shortening the concert, so the whole event is an hour long, and we also keep our verbal introductions fairly brief, and fairly straight forward,” said Rory McLeod, artistic director of Xenia Concerts.

In partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, the two groups will present the award-winning Thalea String Quartet at Meridian Hall.

“They’re a really amazing and dynamic group of people who have focused on outreach in their programming so they were a natural fit for Xenia Concerts because they’ve done a lot of work with children, and they’ve done a lot of work with older adults,” said McLeod.

Forced online for the past three years, Xenia offered virtual concerts and the feedback has been overwhelming

“The Xenia Concerts were a great way to spend Sundays and we know other participants from the Alzheimer Society, they’re online too and we comment and it’s just great, like it’s something to look forward to,” says Wendy Lau whose 95-year-old Mother Lucy has Alzheimer’s. Before recently suffering a stroke, Lucy enjoyed the online concerts.

“She’s happy, she’s listening she loves it. She’s not just staring at the TV and I’m surprised because it’s not just Chinese music, it’s Classical, it’s Cuban, it’s electronic but she likes it.”

There will be two concerts Sunday, May 7th at Meridian Hall.

A family-friendly, neurodiverse and disability-friendly concert goes at 11 a.m. and a dementia-friendly concert for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s and their caregivers goes at 2 p.m.

Click here for more information.



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