To mark World Kindness Day, we’re sharing the special story of singer-songwriter Amy Faith Morley’s series of care home visits arranged by Embracing Age Isle of Wight this summer. Amy, who lives in Liverpool, generously gave her time to spend a week visiting and performing in care homes along with her husband, Josh, acting as her roadie.
We previously shared Amy’s story of blessing older care home residents by gifting them copies of her album “Abide with Me”, which she recorded during the first lockdown, as a gesture of kindness to bring residents hope and to know someone out there was thinking of them.
Sharing her music in-person has always been a joy for Amy and she has special memories of playing in care homes over the years. So when Rebecca, our Embracing Age Isle of Wight co-ordinator, got chatting to Amy about the care homes on the island, Amy excitedly agreed to visit the island to support Embracing Age and entertain care home residents with favourite songs and old, well-known hymns.
There were so many special moments during Amy’s visits - below are some highlights.
The daughter of one resident was visiting during Amy’s visit and said of her mother, “she does not usually join in the activities but I saw the poster and she does love music. She has not smiled for some time but today I saw her smiling. She has really enjoyed it." Tears were brought to this lady’s eyes as Amy sang one of her favourite songs "Crazy" by Patsy Cline.
One gentleman was overjoyed when Amy led the room in singing Happy Birthday to him and Amy gave him a personal copy of her CD "Abide with Me".
In one care home, there was a lady who apparently never goes into the lounge, but moved ever closer down the corridor towards the music and by the end she was at the door and fully engaged singing and dancing in the corridor. Her favourite music is by Abba and Amy played some requests especially for her. When asking if the residents would like to pray at the end, they answered with a resounding ‘Yes!’
Another resident told Rebecca, "This is wonderful. I have never seen [the other residents] enjoy themselves so much."
The care home staff were also so appreciative of the visits and Amy’s uplifting music, which is a real gift of kindness to them after the challenges they have been facing, and the pressure they continue to be under. One manager said, “thank you to Embracing Age Isle of Wight for being able to offer such events to care homes on the Island - we are very grateful!” and another, “the residents and staff absolutely loved the music in the afternoon. We were able to put some videos of it on the facebook page for families to see. It was a great success and we would very much look forward to Amy visiting again if possible."
Rebecca summed up "It was a privilege to enter into some of the stories of the residents' lives as we spent time talking to them, enabling them to share the tears and the joys of life after each singing session."
While on the island, Amy also enjoyed the Lionheart music festival and attending the Elim Church on the Roundabout, led by Tony and Sally Murphy, where she and Josh both shared their testimony and Amy got to sing. Amy says “some of the young people there particularly liked the original song “Once Upon a Time”, which is a new song to be recorded this year!”
Reflecting on the week, Amy said "Thank you so much to Embracing Age and a special thanks to Rebecca who has worked hard to organise these visits! It's been a privilege as we have laughed, cried, sung, danced, played tambourines and waved flags with very precious residents this week. My heart is so full!"
Amy works with some local care homes in Liverpool where she and her husband reside. She works together with activities co-ordinators offering sing-alongs of various themes for residents, including easy listening, war time songs, country and western, crooners and modern rock and pop, seaside themes and soon to include christmas carols. Residents enjoy joining in on tambourines and shakers, flags and singing.
It is so inspiring to hear how such acts of kindness of sharing time and talents can make such a huge impact on the lives of older care home residents. If you have a skill to share with care home residents or time to visit a care home to bring joy and companionship, please see our website for ways you could get involved or contact Sarah to find out more.