Coronavirus has put the whole country in lockdown with people being told to stay in their homes to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Restaurants, pubs and theatres are now closed, along with schools, and people are being told to only leave their homes when they have to get essential supplies, like medicine and food, or for exercise daily.

Group gatherings are now totally banned with people being told to stay six feet away from others at all times.

The elderly, who are especially at risk to infection from coronavirus, are among the group of the most vulnerable who have been told they must self-isolate for 12 weeks in a bid to keep them safe.

But this can be an incredibly lonely experience for OAPs, who are unable to spend time with their loved ones or socialise.

And now  people living with dementia who are separated from their families in the Coronavirus lockdown have explained how music has become a lifeline in keeping them connected.

The online sessions are a lifeline for Moyra and John
The online sessions are a lifeline for Moyra and John

Moyra Tourlamain, 71, lives at home with her husband John, 84, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2018.

They have had to stay away from family and friends but have found solace in online music sessions via the Music for Dementia 2020 campaign.

Moyra said: "John and I have always been into music – in fact one of the reasons I married him was for his record collection! It’s played a big part in our life and still does."

Before the Covid-19 pandemic they would attend music classes designed to help people with dementia in their local area near Cambridge.

But although John has missed out on the face-to-face connection, his symptoms – which have been heightened recently due to the isolation – have been alleviated by attending online versions of the sessions.

Don and Caroline are staying connected through the internet
Don and Caroline are staying connected through the internet

Former BBC bureaucrat Moyra said: "As Hans Christian Andersen famously said, 'where words fail, music speaks'.

"The online sessions have been a lifeline not just for John but for me. They are a landmark in what are very long weeks.

"I think it’s really important for our general wellbeing. It’s also a whole new experience and the engagement with the computer is important for John. It’s really good to see everybody, to connect and make the music together.

"There are hundreds of thousands of people who are in the same boat as us who might feel lonely and isolated and their conditions may have got worse as a result.

"We’d urge them to go onto the Music for Dementia 2020 website and find out how to make the most of music during this time."

Don and his daughter Caroline have been separated by the coronavirus lockdown
Don and his daughter Caroline have been separated by the coronavirus lockdown

Music for Dementia 2020 – a campaign backed by broadcaster Lauren Laverne to get more access to music for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK – has launched a new Musical Guide for those experiencing heightened anxiety during the lockdown.

And more and more people are now using Music for Dementia 2020’s Musical Map, which gives information about online services for those with dementia, as well as taking advantage of Dementia Discos and live streamed events.

It comes amid reports that UK care homes are in danger of being overwhelmed by the coronavirus with staff warning they are at “breaking point”.

Lauren Laverne said: "We’ve already seen how music has played a vital role in keeping people’s spirits up across the world during isolation.

"It echoes exactly what the Music for Dementia 2020 campaign has been saying - although the feeling of isolation is an ongoing situation for people with this condition.

Paul Hitchmough has been spending his time in isolation composing music
Paul Hitchmough has been spending his time in isolation composing music

"For people living with dementia, music is a lifeline to connect in a way that nothing else can."

Don Leitch, 73, of Royston, Hertfordshire, has been living with dementia for seven years and has been separated from his daughter, Caroline, due to the coronavirus.

Caroline, 43, would see her dad at least once a week before the lockdown and pick him up from his home to accompany him to weekly music sessions run by a local group Together In Sound.

She said: "Music therapy is one of the very few positive things added to his life since being diagnosed with dementia. My dad has lost a lot but this one positive thing that has been added, and brought us closer together.

"In the car on the way there, I’ll play the music he likes listening to. He loves The Shadows."

Caroline explained they are join each other and other people living with dementia for online sessions – which have been just as much of a relief to her as it has to her dad.

Paul Hitchmough has been separated from his son, Joel
Paul Hitchmough has been separated from his son, Joel

Many music organisations have already made their services available digitally and these are being added to Music for Dementia 2020’s digital Musical Map, an advice hub of virtual events and activities that people living with dementia can participate in.

Examples of online music events include The London Symphony Orchestra, now streaming online-concerts and The Sofa Singers, a new weekly online event which sees 500 people come together for a 45-minute rehearsal where they learn a classic song and sing it together.

Music for Dementia 2020 is urging music services that are moving online to get in touch, so they can be added to Musical Map.

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Paul Hitchmough, 67, lives alone in Liverpool and is battling Alzheimer’s. He has been separated from his son Joel who would regularly visit so they could play music together.

Paul said: "Playing music with my son is one of the main ways we stay connected. Since isolation began, I haven’t been able to see Joel, he has a young baby and I feel it’s too much of a risk going into their home.

"During isolation I’ve been keeping myself busy by composing songs and playing the guitar in my home. In absence of friends and family, I have found being able to make music a great help."

And he said that searching through old records offline and online and making a playlist is a great way to bring back memories.

Paul added: "People being able to access music in their homes during this time is a huge help."