Kim Carroll, previously Kim Alvord, has sung for over 10 years now and was successful on The Voice UK in 2015 with Tom Jones’ team.
Kim, who was born in Urmston and now lives in Swinton with her husband and son, has sung at weddings, restaurants, wine bars, pubs and events.
“I decided to start singing at care homes when I was asked to do a charity summer fair event at one of the homes, so of course I said yes and sang for the residents,” says Kim.
“I didn’t know what to expect at first, because my grandparents were well at this point so I hadn’t been around people with dementia.
“However, the afternoon was a delight. The smiles on their faces were just priceless.
“I came away feeling exhilarated and that I’d achieved something by making their day a little brighter even if just for a couple of hours.”
Kim’s own experience of dementia in the family made her realise just how much the disease directly affects everyone involved.
“A few years back, my gran was diagnosed with dementia and has now sadly passed away,” she says.
“It opened my eyes to the disease even more and how it affects the family members, too.
“Watching my dad and auntie go through it and see their mum that way was just heartbreaking.
“However, the music in the home, whether it was me or someone else, would light up the room. For that hour or two things didn’t seem so bad, and the family could enjoy happy memories with their parent or grandparent.”
Kim sang many times at one particular home with residents who all had severe dementia, and was told often by staff how her smile, spending time talking and singing to the residents really changed their moods.
“There are two particular moments that have always stuck with me and I’ll never forget,” she recalls.
“One of the residents’ family members came over to me and hugged me so tightly (when we could hug) and said ‘I’ve not seen my mum move or open her eyes for months, she obviously liked your singing very much, thank you for that’.
“I didn’t feel like I’d done much, but that lady’s smile and thanks said it all. It made me want to go back every day and sing for her mum.
“Another was a gentleman who hadn’t lifted his head off the pillow in a very long time – but he did just that as well as holding my hand singing Fly Me To The Moon at the top of his voice.
“It was such a lovely experience.”
Kim is moved by how the experience of music and song can give people such a boost – and she is offering to sing a song or two (socially distanced) for others who need some cheering up.
“There are sometimes a man and his wife in the home together, but because of their dementia they don’t really connect anymore in any way,” she says.
“However, there have been a couple of occasions I’ve seen a married couple dance like they are 21 again together.
“I often had to take a deep breath so I didn’t cry and mess up my song.
“All of these moments have brought a tear to my eye, and I want to continue to do this, which is why I decided to start giving my services to the community for free with a donation to Dementia UK or Cancer Research charities in return.
“It’s the least I can do.
“Whether it’s at care homes or at people’s own homes (social distanced, of course) I would love to help and cheer up as many people as I possibly can during these hard times.”
Kim is offering to come and sing a song or two for anyone who needs cheering up (socially distanced) outside their home, for free plus a donation (big or small) to either Cancer Research or Dementia UK. You’ll need an extension lead in their home that can reach the front or back garden, and she can set up her speaker and microphone. You can find out more here justgiving.com/fundraising/KimCarroll2021 and here fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org, follow Kim on Instagram, and email her on [email protected] to set something up.