Lily's love of music

When Baptcare Home Help customer, 91-year-old Lily Francis first expressed a wish to explore her options for social engagement she had no idea this would lead to her regularly performing at a local nursing home. Lily now has a frequent gig at Sherbrooke Private Nursing Home with one of the residents she performs to remarking that “she makes the piano talk; I could hear the words. She’s a lovely player, she’s fantastic. I love coming to her concerts.”

When Baptcare Diversional Therapist, Paula Bain first visited Lily at her home, Lily talked about her love of music and fondly presented Paula with her music book containing song titles dating back to the early 1900s which she refers to as her ‘bible’. Lily possesses a remarkable gift of being able to play a tune on the piano by ear soon after hearing it. She feels that music is in her blood, that “it is a gift.”

Over their numerous catch-ups, Lily recounted her musical background with Paula, as a way of getting to know each other. Lily had grown up with music and it has always been a very important part of her life. As the two women talked they started to explore ways Lily could bring her love of music to other people and that all she wanted to do was “put a smile on other folks’ faces.”

From this conversation, contact (via Baptcare Care Worker, Penny Butler) was made with a local nursing home and its staff and residents were so thrilled to hear performances from Lily, such a talented hidden treasure, and thus began Lily’s regular visits to entertain.

The reaction to Lily has been tremendous with some residents who normally do not join in with activities starting to do so. One staff member commented after one of the concerts that “it is wonderful to see one of our less verbal residents join in singing the words to ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’. Sometimes it just takes a magical key of a melody to bring the residents out.” Paula observed an Italian resident who was living with advanced dementia becoming animated and engaged, softly clapping her hands and clearly very aware of Lily’s music. Another one of the nursing home’s volunteers, aged ninety-two herself, said: “it brings back the memories of years gone by, when we were young. I think she [Lily] is marvellous. Just because you have got old you don’t have to drop out of society. There are plenty of things to enjoy.”

Baptcare continues to be instrumental to the success of Lily’s regular appearances, getting her ready and driving her to the nursing home with her ‘bible’ close at hand for the performances and is delighted that Lily has been able to indulge in her passion in this way.

Contact: Annemarie Watt

Phone: 0428 063 664