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Filling care homes with Christmas music

Posted onPosted on 5th Oct

A singer bringing joy to care home residents through live streaming of singalong sessions and specially-recorded DVDs has promised to continue her work on Christmas Day.

Ellie Fessey, of Pinxton, has prepared a DVD of Christmas songs that care homes can use to entertain residents and will also be live streaming over the festive period, including Christmas Day.

A Bolsover District Council grant helped her to make the DVD and supporting songbooks. It will be for sale soon on Ellie’s website, https://singalongwithellie.co.uk

Ellie, who featured in the News Journal earlier in the year, said: “I am determined to fill as many homes with music as possible. They, now more than ever, need to be looked after and supported, as residents and staff living and working within the care community must not be forgotten. It is going to be a long winter with coronavirus restrictions still in place.”

Ellie began singing in care homes after being appointed activities coordinator at one local home, Kingfisher Court, Sutton.

She added: “I jumped at the chance to start making a difference and enhancing people’s lives.

“Within this role I took it upon myself to start a singalong session in the care home. Even using quite crude equipment and with no repertoire to fall back on, I quickly established a lovely little singalong group.

“We have fun and use music to connect, reminisce and sometimes break through some of the barriers and social isolation that loneliness, depression and dementia can bring.”

Ellie was inspired by her late mother, Mary, who sadly died from cancer in a care home during the coronavirus crisis after living with dementia for seven years.

“Before mum had to go into a care home, we supported independent living on her own for as long as possible,” Ellie added.

“One of the vital activities we started was ‘Singing For The Brain’, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society in a local church hall.

“This literally changed our lives, to see everybody involved animated, engaged, happy and having fun in a safe, friendly and warm environment surrounded by music and the wonderful sound of singing.

“My wonderful mum continued to sing and engage with music, whether it be taking part in singalong sessions in the wonderful nursing home or just the two of us sitting, singing our favourite songs together.

“Music surrounded and comforted mum throughout her life. Singing is good for the soul, it lifts all of our spirits and is a lovely way to express ourselves when words are sometimes just not enough.

“Residents, carers and family members gain so much from music therapy. I have witnessed this time and time again. I just want to reach out to people and make them smile whilst singing.”

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