Chamber choir performance on dementia

Five years ago Tido Visser’s father died of dementia. This inspired Tido, who is the director of the Dutch Chamber Choir, to design a multidisciplinary concert performance. The performance of “Forgotten” (“vergeten” in Dutch) attempts to express how people with dementia experience the world. It features choral music, acting and electronics. Actor Arjan Ederveen plays the acting part (double role: patient and son). Arjan also knows the tragedy of dementia, as his mother suffered from the disease.

“Forgotten” is not only an original performance but also highly relevant. The opening scene introduces Arjan Ederveen as the son of a retired general practitioner who is suffering from dementia and incontinence. The character struggles to get through on the phone to one of the nursing home administration departments, seeking support for his father — who at this stage does not had the necessary level of care. The reply of the person on the other end of the line is: “we will call you back”. This response was so familiar to the concert’s audience that a load and angry muttering filled the theatre.

This performance can only increase public awareness that dementia is here to stay. We need to accept this a simple fact and focus on how to live and interact with those suffering from dementia.

The recent workshops by Frans Hoogeveen (February 2019), hosted by the DAA-Group, Cambridge Resthaven and Bupa, can help us provide a meaningful existence for those who have this disease. You can download a report on these workshops here.