M used to be a piano teacher and is very well-spoken with a wicked sense of humour. She confesses that she may well swing for another resident who keeps annoying her with witless conversation. M doesn’t eat much and walks up and down the corridors humming to herself. She doesn’t have many visitors as she has no family left, the occasional friend comes to see her.
This particular afternoon we end up in two armchairs with Mum in her wheelchair next to us. M says how she loves to sing but can’t remember the first lines of anything. So I start her off with ‘Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do’. It turns out that once she has the first line, she knows all the verses. So we continue, first with any song I can think of, from Molly Malone to Tipperary. Then we try some carols, but after a bit she says waspishly,’ how about some non-religious songs?’
So she starts telling me some songs she vaguely remembers and I look them up on the trusty iPad and she’s delighted at the technology. We soon gather a small circle of residents and carers listening in to the repertoire.
A good couple of hours later, she says, ‘time for a cuppa’ and heads off. But next day she remembers the singing and says we must do it again some time, ‘with your magical toy.’