Alive! and RSVP West

Training older volunteers with RSVP West 

Last year we teamed up with RSVP West, to work on an exciting Bristol Ageing Better project. We trained older volunteers in Alive! techniques for delivering music based activity sessions. These volunteers are now working with Bristol care homes and delivering weekly sessions. The project was a great success, with the volunteers reaching 100 older people in 6 care homes. Here's a story from RSVP volunteer Lindsey, about the time that she spent with Grace. 

 

Singing with Grace 

Grace is a resident who attends the weekly activities keenly. She smiles a lot and is a friendly and welcoming person. Her quite advanced dementia means that she is unable to undertake conversation, but physically she is very able. The effect of the music and activities on her is extremely moving. She loves to sing and has recall of many of the words to songs. Lindsey thinks that Grace has always sung, she visibly gets huge pleasure out of hitting the high notes and connecting with other people through singing and music. 
 
Lindsey told us “At the end of 'The Skye Boat song' (a traditional Scottish folk song by The Corries) where there is a chance to go up or down, Grace will choose to go right up and we do that together, while I point to the ceiling, genuinely delighted and she shares that thrill with great animation. The music reaches her in a powerful way and moves her. Once in the 'listening' slot, we had the slow movement of a Mozart piano concerto and she was so excited that she got up and danced. It seemed very clear to me that this was a piece she knew and meant a lot to her".

 

A lasting difference 

Even through the project has now drawn to a close; the volunteers have forged such a strong bond with Grace, and the other residents that they continue to visit the homes on a weekly basis. We couldn't hope for a better outcome than this, and we look forward to hearing more stories from these amazing volunteers soon.