Singing Videos by our talented CAREGivers!

We are very lucky to have the CAREGivers that we have in our business. Whether they are looking after companionship Clients, dementia Clients or high needs Clients they always provide the highest level of home care possible. We make sure we match our CAREGivers with our Clients and one of the ways we match Clients and CAREGivers is based on their hobbies and interests. We are lucky enough to have some very musically talented CAREGivers. 

Below is a short 'About Us' from Theresa and Shannon, two of our talented CAREGivers who have been creating short singing videos to help our Clients during this difficult time. 

About Theresa: 

A wife for 31 years, mother of two adult children, dog owner, with freckly face, frizzy hair, butterfly brain, greenish fingers with wildish ways. A singer and music-maker, arty crafty, thankful, joyful, hopeful, a people-person, love time to potter and ponder, listen to birdsong, watch the bees and so much more. 

So, here's a potted biography:- my school years began in Bedhampton Infant School, and Barncridt Juniors where a live for music was encouraged, off to My local Secondary school for O' levels and then Prices College for A levels. After college and a rethink from a career with languages, I started working in a local chemist, this was the only job I chose to leave! Most other admin jobs subsequently ended with companies in liquidation! I don't think it was anything that I did!! 

After marriage and starting my family, I worked a couple of evenings at the Office for National Statistics and alongside started teaching guitar and some childminding. 

So, on a search for some more paid work was introduced to Home Instead 4 and a half years ago. My first clients, a married couple, the wife who I had the pleasure of visiting in her nursing home. Our friendship grew from cooking an evening dinner three times a week to her trusting me enough to assist with her personal care, then companion visits were added with lovely long drives out along Portsdown Hill and other country roads, listening to music and singing together wherever possible. In her home I would be at the humming something while washing up and she would be echoing what I was singing. 

A strong bond grew between us, our conversations are mostly singing a repertoire of songs and sharing chocolate. I still visit (before Lockdown). She has a great sense of fun, rhythm, tempo, pitch and if she enjoys what she's hearing gives a slow blink, raises her eyebrows and gives a nod of approval, her hands see-sawing in the air as she engages with the musical moment. 

Second client, I have very fond memories of was a feisty, sweet-hearted, funny Irish lady with early onset dementia. I spent many hours befriending, watching Heartbeat on TV and singing along to the songs, listening to her stories about her family. She trusted one other caregiver and I to share visits, our friendship continuing until she needed a nursing home who nursed her til she passed away. The other caregiver and I and the lady's daughter, spent a precious time in her last hours telling stories of her antics and shared a time of singing and stories with tears and laughter as we sang some Elvis Presley and of course Oh Danny Boy. 

Another client serenaded me with a Doris Day song, a favourite one she shared special memories of her late husband, she sang it as she rested her head on my shoulder in a very in a most fragile stage of her journey with early onset dementia. There were some pretty stressful visits made in her home made much more comfortable and brought her some calmness by reading to her from her own diary, Pam Eyres familiar poems, gardening magazines and looking at pictures of donkeys. On a good day she could dance you a jive whilst singing some rock n roll, a gentle Que Sera Sera could be calm her anxieties. 

A current client, a gentleman with Alzheimer’s, whose appreciation of good, well played, well sung music transports him. He particularly loves my Don't cry for me Argentina which brings a smile and he mouths the words and sometimes sings along. Most recently the Hallelujah chorus caused him to stand and sing out loud his part while I sang mine. My kazoo being played as an addition to the bands playing on Classic FM on VE Day, brought to his face the broadest smile. These musical journeys don't happen quickly, they are built out of growing friendships, investing time in looking for cues in expressions and clues from their stories and conversations. Sometimes, to be honest, I am singing or humming to keep myself calm, to fill a space at times when words are limited or to ease another's tension. Of course there are times for silence and not everybody connects through singing. 

I've always loved music and play/teach guitar and play flute, want to learn to play violin (fiddle/folk music) and piano too. Singing with confidence has grown, through singing at church, choirs, shows and with a great leap of faith to leading worship at the church I go to. 

I have taken up some study on Song Therapy with a view to gaining a greater understanding of the power of familiar songs for those with dementia, group singing and so much more. So when asked by Greg to consider adding my singing voice to Home Instead I am happy to do so. I hope you will enjoy the offerings of my favourite and popular songs and feel comfortable to sing, hum or lalala along.

About Shannon:

My name is Shannon, I’m 18 years old, and I’m a quarter Irish. I have been visiting the south-west of Ireland every year since I was born to reunite with family, and my love of its rivers and mountains never fades. I began my journey with Home Instead who have welcomed me with open arms in December 2019, and I also started my psychology undergraduate degree at the University of Winchester in September 2019. At the moment uni has been an academic adventure, with hurdles and achievements, but has also been a bridge of personal development, where I’ve made friends for life. As a person I’m reflective, adventurous, and compassionate. I also enjoy the simple things in life like mozzarella sticks, or a sing along on a car journey! 

Music wise, I have been playing guitar and making songs since I was fourteen, and I love how music brings people together. One client I visit enjoys listening to Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, and Joe Dolan, so I find the chords on google and he makes up his own words to the strum of the guitar. It’s clear to see the difference music makes, because he always joins in with a smile and talks about all the memories the songs bring back (especially of this one time where he saw an Elvis Presley tribute). Not only does music bring joy but it strengthens neuroplasticity and memory too!

I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with my clients, uni, and Home Instead. I’m also prepared for the new challenges the future has laid ahead, because I see them as opportunities to grow and learn.