As part of our Day Hospice program we have a range of special visitors who come to run stimulating activities for the Anam Cara guests. Simon and Kevin are just some of our regular visitors who come to entertain our guests with their musical performances! Having performed together for 30 years, their love of music is what inspired them to entertain the sick and elderly. Kevin and Simon have been preforming at Anam Cara for over 7 years and sing a range of songs from Elvis to the Beatles and even some rock and roll to so there is a bit of something for everyone.
Whilst they both love how performing brings a smile to people’s faces, they believe music has a great impact on the guests at Anam Cara. “We can see the joy in their faces and it fills our hearts. Once while we were performing, a guest was all crouched over and not very engaged, but once we sang a song they recognised, they filled with happiness and sang the entire song. When we finished, they curled back into their original position. It was so touching. Music is the most wonderful thing for healing,” said Kevin.
“We also had this little Italian bloke who would have been in his 70s. He was a singer back in Italy and he used to get paid to stand under balconies and serenade suitor’s girlfriends. He loved singing and he had a good voice and when we would start singing some of his favourite songs, he would wheel his wheel chair right up beside us and sing. He just loved it and it made his day,” said Kevin.
Kevin and Simon also highlight the importance of music for guests living with dementia. “Guests with dementia may not remember us from previous visits, but when we start to sing the songs of yesteryears, they know all the lyrics,” they said. “If a guest has a special song they would like Kevin and Simon to sing and it is unknown, they acknowledge the guests’ request and learn the song to perform next time they visit. One of our guest’s in the past has been known to change a medical appointment so as not to miss Kevin and Simon singing. The camaraderie with Kevin and Simon, our guests and the volunteers is evident as the house has an energy when they perform which is both relaxing and calming for all” said Gail who coordinates our Day Hospice activities.
While our services have been limited by COVID-19 restrictions, Kevin and Simon have been performing for the Anam Cara guests by video, but the duo can’t wait to get back performing in front of them all. “I think music is paramount to health and your state of mind. In this day and age with coronavirus around, music just enlightens your heart and it does a lot for the people from Anam Cara. We would love to get back to doing it again because at the end of the day when we bring joy to people it brings us joy,” said Simon.