accessibility & help

Marjorie’s story: thanks to my singing volunteer

Our volunteers are always willing to go the extra mile to help people – even if that means belting out a song or two.

For Marjorie Bird, having a sing-a-long has been a real lifeline. The 98-year-old is registered blind and lives with advanced dementia. She finds that singing therapy sessions help stimulate her memory.

But when the pensioner recently left her Cheshire home to be cared for full-time by her daughter in Shropshire, the music suddenly stopped. In her new home, the nearest singing activities were 20 miles away.

Stimulating songs

Daughter Jean contacted the British Red Cross to see if they could at least arrange for someone to visit Marjorie regularly for a chat. But they went one step further and found a support at home volunteer, Jill, who shares the pensioner’s passion for singing.

Jean recalled: “Jill came round each week for nearly two months, and she and mum would start belting out golden oldies with gusto – anything from ‘My old man’s a dustman’ to ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’.”

She added: “The visits helped mum immensely because they stimulated her brain, making her much more responsive. After Jill called, she seemed to be on an adrenaline high, really alert and chatty.”

More independent

In fact, the sessions helped so much that both Jean and visiting support workers have also started warbling along to encourage Marjorie to complete daily tasks.

Jean said: “Whenever mum is confused or exhausted, we’ll just sing out a verse of a song. She always joins in, and afterwards seems more grounded and able to respond to simple requests.”

She added: “It’s so nice; you can see mum glowing with satisfaction when she’s been able to do something independently. I’m so grateful to the Red Cross – and of course, the irrepressible Jill.”

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