“When I first started working at Ascension Sacred Heart Village,” said Kim Ley, activity director, I thought music was just music.” Today, she has a completely different point of view.

Over the past 16 years at this senior living community, Kim has seen musicians from Audiences Unlimited (AUI) captivate unresponsive seniors. She’s even heard patients with Dementia sing all the words to a favorite tune.

“Music is the best natural healing medicine there is,” she said. “Without our partnership with AUI, there’s no way I could provide that experience for our residents.”

This gift of music means even more to Kim, knowing that most AUI performers drive up to an hour to arrive at her location. “It’s a commitment,” she said. “They go out of their way to come this far, just for us.”

During COVID, Kim took extra steps to make sure her seniors had access to all the music and memories AUI performers bring. “At times, I set up the residents outside, and the performers were entertaining us from inside the church,” she said. “They never complained about all the painstaking steps we took to make sure these performances didn’t stop.”

It’s just one of the reasons Kim will continue to invite AUI to her facility. “They are excellent to work with,” she said, “and I appreciate all they do to make my job better. It’s worth every penny.”

That’s because, according to Kim, AUI is meeting the greatest need her seniors experience at Ascension: a sense of community and belonging. “AUI brings all these entertainers who share their gifts with us,” she said. “In healthcare, budgets can be tight, but AUI is the one place where I put my buck. I’m so thankful that the administration at Ascension has never told me no.

“The people I care for are the most positive people I’ve been around my entire life,” she said. “They’ve lived an entire lifetime, so giving them the gift of music through AUI is the least I can do.”

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