'Watching their faces light up is amazing': Classically-trained Preston care home worker sings old hits to residents

A Longridge care home has kept its residents entertained throughout lockdown as a classically-trained carer has been singing popular music from their era.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 4:00 pm

Music has been proven to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of care home residents, as they can reflect back on fond memories through the power of song.

Lucy Shorrock has been singing old classics for the residents of Longridge Hall Care Home twice a week through lockdown since she began working there last December.

She said that the faces of the residents, particularly those living with dementia, "light up" when she sings ABBA classics and hits from popular musicals such as The Sound of Music and Les Miserables.

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Lucy sings the classics for residents at Longridge Hall

Lucy, 34, said: "I have sung in every care home I have worked in. When I came to Longridge Hall, I began singing with the activities coordinator was off and I wanted to do something to entertain the residents.

"I can see how much it helps some of the residents because many of them haven't seen family for over a year or don't even have any family who can come and visit them.

"The music just provides them with that upbeat spirit and gives them something positive and fun to enjoy. They love singing along and I usually pass the microphone around and the residents all get involved and sing, just like karaoke.

"With the music, they seem to forget about what is going on in the world and the fact that many of them haven't seen loved ones, even if it is just for a short while."

Staff have noticed that residents with dementia respond well to the music

Having begun singing at the young age of four, Lucy's mum worked three jobs to pay for her to be classically trained before she joined Preston Players drama school and featured in dozens of musicals.

And since signing twice weekly to residents at Longridge Hall, Barnacre Road, she said she has particularly noticed a positive reaction to her voice from those suffering from dementia at the home.

According to NHS England, music helps to light up emotional memories from the past of people living with dementia, from their first kiss, a song at a wedding or popular music from their childhood.

Lucy said: "Some of our residents aren't very vocal normally, but when the music comes on they sing along and even get up and dance. It's amazing to see them and watch their faces light up.

Carer Hayley, also a staff member at the care home, regularly sings for the residents too

"It has really helped to raise spirits through such a difficult time. I have built amazing relationships with the residents, and it is like one big extended family.

"Even though we don't do this job to receive anything back, it's nice to know you have made a difference to someone's life. It has been proven that music is a great stimulant to take them back to times they remember and helps them with socialisation."

Singing carer Hayley Eccles, 22, who also works at the Preston care home and was a semi-finalist on ITV show The Voice in 2017 has been entertaining the residents over Easter.

Tracey Hartley, Registered Manager of Longridge Hall Care Home, said: "Music is one of the best things for our residents because all of them really love it and get involved with the singing.

"During Covid, it has been incredibly difficult for residents who have not been able to have visitors or any entertainment so to have two members of staff who are so talented has been great.

"Some of our residents can't verbally communicate, but once they start singing you see their smiles come on their faces and their feet start tapping and they completely change. I have worked in care for over 20 years and this is the first time I have seen staff who can do such a great job entertaining them, it is wonderful."

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