"It was amazing, like a miracle"
Songs & Smiles ran from July 2017 - June 2018 at Ross Wyld Care Home, Walthamstow, London. It was the very first place we launched, and was home to an amazing group of residents and staff. Sadly the home is closing in July 2018.
Here are some words about Songs & Smiles from the people who enjoyed it each week.
“Songs & Smiles was the best thing we could ever do. Everybody was so happy every week to have you here. Honestly, it was amazing.
When the kids started coming every Friday we began to see changes - emotional changes, verbal changes even. We have a few residents who cannot really talk, and I realised they began to try to say something; the noise that they were doing, it’s like a kind of singing, which they couldn’t do before. Big progress, I saw it develop over time, 100%. Even the instruments you gave them - how they were holding them, how they were trying to use them - they never wanted to do that or were able to do things like that, so that was amazing, like a miracle. Or even a simple, lovely smile. Some of our residents don’t like to smile or they don’t want to talk, but as soon as you and the kids and the parents came in here, I’ve seen a smile on their faces, even their eyes were laughing and smiling. That was priceless.
The sessions even help the staff as well. This job is very difficult, it’s very stressful, and so when the babies were coming and we could enjoy ourselves with the residents, that was so lovely. Every time when a session was finished we still had a smile on our faces and that’s really important.
Also, the residents’ families were so happy to see mum, dad, grandma, grandpa play with children and use the instruments, when they never wanted to do something like that before. It was priceless to see them smile. This kind of session is amazing for people with dementia, it brings back the memories and it’s really, really helpful.”
“I love it. As far as I’m concerned they could come every day. I like the informality of it, I can have a laugh and a joke. I love the kids – I used to work at a school. I think any care home would be privileged to have the company of the parents and children.”
“I think it’s wonderful. I watch the people enjoy it, including myself. I watch all the children, how they get on and play. They learn from it as well, and the older people learn from it. It brings back memories to them because they themselves had children who have grown up now to men and women. It brings back a lot of memories to me. I enjoy the music very much, it reminds me of my own childhood days. If for some reason you can’t make it one time, you miss it very much.
I would advise other care homes to grab the opportunity [to have Songs & Smiles] because they will see how helpful it is.”