“Never allow anyone to dull your sparkle” is a sentiment that the Dementia, Residential and Nursing Homes in the RCH Care Homes Group are a firm believer of.
Understanding the importance of ‘The Arts’ and the essential role they play in the lives of the residents who they support is something the family owned company is proud to be recognised for through the many arts inspired activities and themed campaigns over the years.
Whether it is through the heart-warming story of Gwen, who helped Activity Co-ordinator Sara to fulfil a lifelong dream of learning to play the Ukulele, or the inspiring Olympics 2020 campaign which saw each home take part in events such as Opening Ceremonies, famous athletic poses, a synchronised swim and a virtual relay race; the 9 homes have certainly sparkled more than ever considering the dark cloud which has drifted over the country over the last 6 months!
So, when it came to celebrating National Day of Arts in Care Homes and this year’s theme ‘Creative Communities’, the staff and the residents who live within the 9 communities definitely knew how they could shine!
Throughout the month of September, the homes came together as a community to be creative in as many ways as possible, culminating in an Autumn themed exhibition on the actual day. This included spontaneous dance, art therapy, collage, poetry, music, various crafts including knitting;
“I am very good at knit and natter. I love arts and crafts. I colour everyday as it is good for me.” ~ Pamela (Orchard House Resident)
Orchard House Care Home in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, organised various arts inspired activities culminating in a family tree installation, Deputy Manager Sarah spoke about the importance of the creative environment at the home, “Providing extensive access to the creative arts is really important to us here at Orchard House as we recognise their holistic benefits and impacts.”
At Brentwood Care Centre (Essex), one of the group’s dementia centres of excellence, they explored how they could incorporate all the arts. Manager Torie spoke about the lasting impact the arts have on those living with dementia in their care, “It is often difficult to get people living with dementia to join in, especially when something feels too big, and yet breaking it into smaller art pieces created individually that join a bigger picture is exceptionally creative! It shows the skills of our team, understanding our residents and supporting them to create their own artwork, and the community approach of the unit which meant that they wanted to join these all together.
After the weeks of creative events the feelings of joy, happiness and achievement were still felt by the residents who had taken part, I spoke to a resident who was telling me about what he had done and identified his fellow residents and what they had done too, it is a really lovely talking point”.
At Withens Nursing Home in Gravened, Kent, they came together and utilised the passions and interests of everyone at the home. As some of the ladies had been following London Fashion Week, they were inspired to make an Autumnal themed dress from natural and recycled products.
“It’s been good to do something fun during these difficult times. I’ve really enjoyed us coming together over the last few weeks. It’s been lovely having something to look forward to and be part of.” ~ Pat, (Withens Nursing Home Resident)
Lead Activities Co-ordinator Sara Morrissey spoke about her role, “I love to see how the arts have an incredibly positive impact on our residents’ emotional well-being. The arts are not just painting and sticking, it’s encompassing things like dancing, music and cooking, and is a powerful tool in the day to day activities at our home.”
What is different about the homes is their collective commitment from their specialist trained and dedicated staff across all departments to empower the residents who live within the family orientated homes to continue to achieve their wishes and dreams, whilst focusing on enabling them to feel they are purposefully contributing their community.
Paul Smith Head of Dementia and Developments reiterated the Group’s commitment, “We strive at all times to offer care that is inclusive, meaningful and which fulfils a person’s needs, taking fully into account their preserved strengths and abilities. Arts approaches (such as dance, music, and visual art) have been demonstrated across multiple researches to improve wellbeing and quality of life.”