Care home day 2021 at The Elms

Front view of The Elms

My name is Kathryn Bailey, Activity and Wellbeing Co-ordinator at the Elms supporting older people living with dementia. On Care Home Day 2021 with our daily activities we are having a Yoga Class with Rachel Cairns at 11am in our beautiful gardens followed by morning coffee. After lunch there is to be an outside concert with Stevie Quinn at 2pm, residents will be singing and dancing from our Summerhouse and this will be followed by tea and celebratory cakes.

During lockdown we have adapted all our daily activities to conform with restrictions and have made the most of what we can do with multi-sensory activities. Music has played a big part in our recovery with wellbeing and mindfulness at the forefront, small groups and lots of 1:1, for example, garden walks, observing nature, gardening, painting, knitting, embroidery, story-telling, poetry. One of our residents had her work selected for a recent Heart for Art online exhibition.

Our residents have benefited from been involved in many of the dementia friendly activities/projects including those offered by Dawn Irving and the team at Capital Theatres, (  including regular Tea Parties, specially adapted Theatre performances and a range of performing arts projects. Most recently our residents have contributed to ‘Sundowning stories’, ‘When the sun meets the sky’, ‘Zoom with a view’ and the ‘Satellites.

Everything so far is on this YouTube playlist:

‘Sundown Stories': Three residents told real life stories in their own words. Tiger rescue’, ‘Peggy of Metalbridge’, ‘A real tomboy’ and poems which were then narrated by Adam Robertson and available online and in DVD format.

‘When the sun meets the sky’: residents contributed to the dementia friendly radio play content and one resident provided the illustration for publicity.

‘The Satellites’ is a performance company working with one of residents who have explored themes around hopes, dreams and fears with Tricky Hat artists using performance, film and music.

‘Zoom with a View’ is ongoing as a 12 week project with one of our residents who has a particular interest in the theatre. The broad theme has been theatre past, present and future involving a variety of creative forms including creative writing, singing, song writing and visual art. At the end it is hoped that there will be a gallery exhibition and sharing event.

'Virtual live animal petting': residents have had weekly access to on line service offered by Bunny and Co who have enabled them to meet all the animals normally brought into the home including rabbits, hens, ducks, guinea pigs, rats, mice with a bonus of cats. Residents also met newly born animals, suggested names and followed their development.

Contactless tea parties with music have been accessed via You tube, Zoom, Skype through Capital Theatres, Music in Hospitals & Care Homes, independent artists and Skype.

All projects have evolved naturally in response to individual participants in each group with much joy and laughter. It is wonderfully progressive approach which enables people living with dementia in care homes, to continue to access visual and performing arts along with other activities in their local communities.

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