PRINCETON — On the Friday before Christmas last month, former actress Kathryn Hays made a visit to the residents at Aperion Care assisted living in Princeton.
Hays had reached out and asked if she could drop by and sing Christmas carols for the residents, and her request was welcomed with open arms.
She didn’t come empty handed on the day of her visit. She brought along Christmas treats and local pianist Debbie Pease to accompany her singing.
In an interview in her Princeton home recently, Hays reflected back on the day and said she has been taking singing and piano lessons since moving back to Princeton from Connecticut and wanted to share what’s she’s been up to.
“I wanted to do something for somebody instead of just sitting here like a lump,” she said with a laugh.
Her performance got the crowd going, especially for one resident who has not spoken a word since being at Aperion Care. The staff was shocked and in tears when they noticed him singing along with Hays.
Following her performance, Hays remained for a while to visit with the residents. Some asked her questions about her personal life. Some asked about her life on the “As the World Turns.” Some shared with her just how much she impacted their own lives while watching her on the soap opera over the years.
Hays played Kim Hughes on the CBS daytime soap opera from 1972 to 2010.
She posed for photos with those who wanted a keepsake memento of her visit. Some residents even had family members join in on that day to get a chance to meet Hays.
Lydia Kriewald, Aperion Care’s community liaison, called Hays’ visit “a lovely, exciting time” for the residents.
“It wasn’t just she introduced herself and moved on. She actually took the time to talk with anyone who made an effort to talk with her. … They look forward to having her back,” Kriewald said.
“She still wants to perform and do things. When this opportunity came up, I just thought it would be awesome. Her mother was here, and so I think that’s why she felt the connection to this place.”
Hays said she is looking forward to visiting the residents again soon, and just might make her visits a regular occurrence.
Hays moved back to Princeton, the place she was born in 1933, nearly a year ago.
She said the community continues to be very welcoming and good to her. She frequently has people stopping to talk with her while she’s out and about or share stories about how much her work meant to them.
She gets a kick out of every conversation and said she is always willing to snap a quick photo with a fan. She said she even gets a chuckle out of the fans who accidentally call her Kim Hughes.