Ever wanted to volunteer but couldn’t get yourself out of a rut long enough to start? Prepare to be inspired with this blog entry by Dorcas Ng who shares her experience as a volunteer with Southwood Care Centre.
September 04, 2012
Today, I started my volunteering at the senior home for the Sing-a-long program. Volunteering with seniors had been on my “to-do” list since last year when I graduated, but never got around to do it until now.
After today, I asked myself why I didn’t take 10 minutes to fill out an application form earlier. It was so precious for me to see how music really light up a person’s life. These elderly men and women had endured so much pain and sickness and are in their final stages of life; hence, that’s why they are in a long-term care home 24/7. Most can no longer walk by themselves, no longer eat by themselves, and no longer able to take care of themselves. When they were wheeled out into the common area for the morning, most were extremely unresponsive, did not move and just starred into space. However, when we started singing, many of these seniors looked up and started singing and you can definitely tell that they were alert. It was magical. It almost seemed like music had stirred up old, happy memories of their past…and that they were able to experience briefly what it was like to truly live again. They were free, for that hour and a half, from their disabled bodies and the sad results of dementia.
These seniors really have nothing more to look forward to in life; all they see in their near future is death. Their diseases cannot be cured, they spend most of their days watching TV, sleeping or starring into space. It was an unreal experience to just share these few moments of happiness with them. Some dementia patients started singing, remembering these old songs that they once sang when they were growing up just like me. (Does that mean I might end up singing Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift songs when I’m like 80 years old?!) You can tell by their facial expressions and actions that they DO remember…they are HAPPY (even for that brief moment), their faces lit up and there was a sense of serenity and joyfulness in the room.
Usually, people who sing off key bugs the heck out of me. But today, as I saw all the seniors sitting around me, singing their hearts out with their raspy voices, none of them sang in the same key. Most of them are hard of hearing so some were often a line or two behind, sometimes even a verse or two ahead. It did not bug me at all. In fact, when I looked around me, I thought to myself, that is the most beautiful music I’ve heard!
I’m looking forward to the weeks to come, to shed some light and happiness into these people’s lives through the use of songs and music. 🙂
Post written by Dorcas Ng, a volunteer with Intercare Corporate Group
*Special thanks to Angela MacDonald, Volunteer Coordinator at Intercare, for sharing this inspiring story.