About Giving Voice and the benefits of singing

What are the benefits of singing for people with dementia?

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, it’s expected that by 2030 there will be 78 million people living with Alzheimer’s. The need is great, and growing.

We need to think differently about dementia.

We need to recognize the need for dementia friendly, dementia inclusive activities where people living with dementia are seen as people.

We need to recognize that there is life after a diagnosis of dementia. A life that includes friendship, laughter, and joy. A life that includes hope and possibility.

At Giving Voice, we believe that music is the key to living well with dementia.

Here’s what Giving Voice’s Director of Choral Operations, Viva Carr, has to say about why singing with Giving Voice, or a chorus like ours, can change what it means to live with dementia.

  • We know that folks who are living with a dementia diagnosis of any kind are told many times a day what they are not capable of.
  • We know that at Giving Voice there is nothing they are NOT capable of.
  • We know that Giving Voice has given that same gift of empowerment, sense of purpose, and dignity to countless people.
  • We know that Giving Voice reminds us that every single human has value. Every single human has something to contribute. And we are all capable of things beyond our wildest dreams.

“At Giving Voice, we believe in the power of music to help people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia live well. Through singing, we can create connection and wellbeing.

“Not just in our own community, here in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, not just here in Minnesota, but across the world.”

What’s different about singing in a chorus for people with dementia?

Although listening to music has many wonderful benefits, making music is even more beneficial. When we sing, we are actively making music.

In a chorus, we are active participants in the music experience.

Music can be uplifting, calming, and improve mood. Music can stimulate cognition and mental alertness in the brain. Singing also has these benefits, but it also requires us to think, listen, and learn.

In addition, singing is actually aerobic, heart-healthy, and can help to improve posture, sleep, and swallowing. There are so many benefits to singing!

In a chorus, we have to modulate our voices, match pitch, remember words and lyrics, follow the directions of a conductor, and pay attention to the other singer’s voices.

Phew! That’s a lot of work! And, that’s the point.

Singing in a chorus is a full brain workout. And, if you are living with dementia, singing in a chorus can actually help improve your quality of life.

And, everyone can sing! Everyone is a singer.

There is no wrong in this room.

For people living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, (and their support partners), Giving Voice Chorus, or a chorus like ours, is an opportunity to belong without judgment.

Every community needs a Giving Voice style chorus.

Let’s get serious. Every community needs a Giving Voice style chorus.

We know the impact that singing together has on people with Alzheimer’s, their support partners, their families, and our community.

Alzheimer’s is full of obstacles and challenges at every turn. We need more life-affirming moments on the Alzheimer’s journey.

It’s more than singing. It’s more than a chorus. It’s a community.

In addition, to running our own choruses here in the Twin Cities and online, we support Alzheimer’s choruses all over the United States and choruses internationally by providing our toolkit to launch a new chorus and ongoing educational opportunities.

It is our dream is to see a Giving Voice style chorus in every community across the globe so that everyone living with dementia has the opportunity to experience the life affirming experience of singing in community.

Our Mission

Giving Voice Initiative inspires and equips organizations to bring together people with Alzheimer’s and their care partners to sing in choruses that foster joy, well-being, purpose, and community understanding.

Our Vision

Giving Voice Initiative will lead a worldwide movement that helps people with Alzheimer’s and their care partners live better lives and benefit their communities through singing together.

Our Non-discrimination Statement

Giving Voice is committed to creating an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. It is the policy of Giving Voice not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, status with regard to public assistance, military status, or other status protected by applicable law, in any of its activities or operations

Our Values

Joy:  We believe in reframing the prevailing narrative of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia from one of decline and despair to one of well-being and joy.

Empowerment:  We believe that singing together builds empowerment, purpose, and belonging for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and their care partners.

Innovation:  We strive to develop new ways to transform people’s experience with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Collaboration:  We believe the collective strengths and experiences of our singers, choruses, and partners allow us to more effectively advance a shared mission.

Inclusion:  We seek to serve all individuals and communities affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, recognizing and celebrating the unique characteristics* of this population.

*Characteristics including age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, education, national origin, financial means, or other classifications.

2023 Impact Report

Financial Information

Giving Voice Initiative is committed to integrity and transparency with every dollar.

Giving Voice 2022 990

Tax ID# 47-4484086

Giving Voice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

logo for the Metro Regional Arts Council

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This program was funded in part by a grant provided by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Logo