When Withens Nursing Home’s Activity Co-ordinator Sara pondered about a lost opportunity to learn to play a new musical instrument whilst talking to resident Gwen earlier this year, she was robustly informed “You’re never too old to learn something new!” and so a beautiful partnership began.

Gwen, an accomplished Ukulele player herself, offered to teach the Ukulele to Sara, neither realising what this initial offer would lead to in the following months. Having taught herself how to play the Ukulele when she was in her 30s, Gwen would then go on to play small concerts, often visiting local Women Institutes and Age Concerns to entertain their members.

Resident at Care Home teaches carer how to play the Ukelele

Preferring to spend time in her room rather than join in with group activities, their one-on-one sessions were a perfect opportunity for Gwen to teach Sara. Confident in her new skills, Sara then purchased her very own Ukulele and teamed up with talented fellow musician and colleague, Health Care Assistant Elise who plays both the guitar and the Ukulele – between them both, they’ve kept residents happily entertained during the global pandemic.

The musical pair now regularly hold ‘Resident Request and Jamming’ sessions with residents in the social lounges or in the comfort of their own rooms, meaning everyone can not only enjoy the benefit of these music sessions, but also receive truly person-centred attention. An absolute favourite of the residents in the Southfleet based nursing home is ‘You are my sunshine’ – which is particularly apt with the current hot weather!

What is particularly wonderful about this story is how it underpins the sense of community and friendship within the home, with both residents and staff alike having benefited from Gwen passing on her musical legacy to Sara. Although Gwen may prefer to not join in with group activities, she has still been an integral part of helping to create new memories for the residents in the nursing home.

Gwen has very much enjoyed sharing her musical skills and helping Sara not only learn how to play a new instrument, but the life lesson of never giving up on a dream!