Sing from the Heart by Clare Childs

From Hertfordshire

Clare Childs shares her ‘Sing from the Heart’ project with us:

Her dementia friendly singalong started in a local care home in September 2019. Shortly after, the live singalong got postponed and she went online in March 2020. The project has gotten 140,000 videos views since. For December 2020, Clare created a musical advent calendar with daily videos for care homes, with songs to sing for residents living with memory loss or dementia (as reported by ITV News in the video below). She was inspired by her mother, who has dementia and enjoys singalongs.

Clare is now looking to develop this further to keep care homes, carers and families living with dementia connected in these isolating times! She is looking for funding that could help make that happen. Here is how to watch the videos and get in touch with Clare:

FACEBOOK Sing from the Heart – Harpenden: https://www.facebook.com/claresingfromtheheart/

YOUTUBE Sing from the Heart Harpenden: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCutgnvGbq9z0FdBDSqoEp4w

PLAYLIST Songs: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLILE2fquUYF0EJQpUWCBDqM_sFYao-vR6

INSTAGRAM: @singfromtheheartuk

TWITTER: @singfromthehea1

Sing from the Heart on ITV News

4 generations share 4 songs

4 Generations share 4 songs

Stefan Szczelkun shares how 4 generations were united by music

Stefan, together with his son and grandson, visited his mother Joan to sing, and play, some songs that she might remember from her youth – she was born in 1926. Here is what he shares about the experience:

‘I’d heard about music being a key way to communicate with people with dementia but hadn’t done much about it when I saw the BBC site of snippets of songs from decades. My Mum’s life began in 1926 so I started by listening to the ’20s and ’30s lists. I was surprised to find many songs I recognised from our family radio in the Fifties. Joan has always danced since she’s been in the care home – but not sung. It was only in the last year that I got more confidence in my own singing. 

I started to practice singing some of the songs and downloaded lyric sheets. I then got my son and his son involved in playing and singing a small selection to my 92 year old mum in her care home. It was all a positive experience and I hope the video will inspire other people to try something similar.’

Source: https://szczelkuns.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/music-memory-and-mum-home-movie/

Julian and his Nanny

From Northamptonshire

My Nanny, who died about a decade ago, had vascular dementia for the last 10-15 years of her life and by the end didn’t know any of us at all. Yet I recall well that she sang along with gusto to “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn during a music listening session during the last weeks of her life. She even remembered who some of us were while she was singing – encouraging us to sing along. A rare good memory from her final days and one we all treasure.

Song that stood out: Vera Lynn – ‘We’ll Meet Again’

David and Huguette Tett

From Hertfordshire

Back in 2016, my wife, Huguette, was in a care home – St Matthew’s in Redbourn – living with an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease. She was usually unresponsive and often difficult when staff cared for her.

After speaking to care home staff and members of this charity, I agreed to help create a personalised playlist of music we hoped Huguette would respond to. During my next visit, we played this music and almost immediately Huguette’s face lit up and she started to sing along to the songs she recognised. She was clearly positively stimulated by this music, and her reaction had a positive effect on myself and others present. In later trials care staff were similarly positively stimulated by the evident joy Huguette was experiencing listening and singing.

After this experience the family created a Boom Box of music she responded to which was available to staff and visitors to play to Huguette. There is no doubt that having this playlist enhanced the quality of her remaining life.

Song that stood out: ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ – Jacques Brel

Sarah and Ann Finch

From Hertfordshire

My name is Sarah Finch; my mother has been living with dementia for more than 10 years now. When the care home approached me with the opportunity to find some of my mum’s favourite songs, I was naturally very keen for her to participate in anything that could potentially improve the quality of her life!

I was blown away by what happened – my mother was listening to songs that referenced her life when she was young. She no longer speaks properly, but suddenly she engaged, laughed – and then became articulate and joined in the songs. I hadn’t seen my mother like that for a long while.

I am convinced that personal music could open the way to improving life-quality for many, many people having seen and experienced the power music has on the mind. I also believe that the knock on is massive savings for our overstretched NHS!

Song that stood out: ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ – Noel Coward

Lesley Lees

From Worcestershire

I remember only too well from my husband Steve’s nursing home days, how an amazing transformation took place in those with dementia when I played the piano. One eighty year old lady with white hair actually spoke and said “What a lovely piece of music.” Normally, we could not understand what she said at all. Then she was back again to her old unintelligible muttering.  She was visited every day by Poppa, her devoted husband. She, to my knowledge, never uttered anything intelligible. The nursing home was in Bromsgrove, near Birmingham.