~ “I’ve loved reading to the children, it’s what I’ve done all of my life and would love it to continue doing so now I’ve done it once”. Joan Vicente, resident. ~

In celebration of National Storytelling Week, Brentwood Care Centre resident and published Author Joan Vicente used virtual technology to read her poems to children at the local day nursery.

Joan, recently moved into the Nursing, Residential and Dementia Care Home in Larchwood Gardens, Brentwood. When Joan’s family shared with the care team of dedicated professionals at the home her past experiences and love of poetry, they couldn’t think of a better way of supporting Joan to continue sharing her love of poetry by including her in the care home’s intergenerational partnership with Hopscotch Day Nursery.

Born in Whitechapel, London, Joan’s passions and the loves of her life are her husband Manuel, her children and grandchildren, her community and also writing poetry.

Joan has always loved poetry and in her later years would regularly visit local primary schools to hold poetry writing workshops and also read poems from her books. Joan and her family thought this part of her life was over until the team at Brentwood Care Centre started planning the intergenerational event as part of RCH Care Homes National Story Telling Week.

‘By Your Side’ is part of the home’s Dementia Strategy. Torie, the Home’s Manager explained it’s importance and effectiveness, “The strategy is a 3-year plan to audit, review and further develop the Dementia service we provide. There are four pillars where excellence of care is signposted: learning and development; activities and occupation; food, drink and the mealtime experience; and prosthetic environments, with all four pillars working within the provision of strengths-based person-centred care planning.”  It is this approach which enabled the team to co-ordinate and support Joan to once again engage and continue this skill and passion with the virtual poetry reading.

~ “My mum looks like the lady I thought I would never see again.” ~ Joan’s daughter Sally

The importance and benefits of intergenerational relationships are well documented and Brentwood Care Centre are proud of their partnership with Hopscotch Day Nursery, who were overjoyed when Mel contacted them about the idea, “We’ve built up a great relationship with Brentwood Care Centre over the past couple of years and we’ve missed our visits which have had to stop since the Covid-19 pandemic. When Mel contacted me about the idea, I jumped at the chance.”- Karen Hopscotch Day Nursery Manager

Joan’s family were delighted when the idea of Joan being able to combine her passions of community, children and poetry in this way was put to them. As you can imagine this was an emotional and heart-warming event for Joan and her family, “The staff at Brentwood Care Centre are unreal and beyond words. Watching her read her poems to the children, I cannot even start to explain how I felt. We’ve shared the video with friends and family and there have been many tears of joy”. – Joan’s daughter Sally

The importance of this type of engagement for residents was underlined by the home’s Deputy Manager, Charlie “It is amazing to see Joan interacting and doing what she loves. It is even more special that Joan read from her own published book whilst reading to the Children from Hopscotch Day Nursery. It is lovely to see how different generations can engage and interact with each other and the difference this makes to the resident’s wellbeing, especially during these difficult times.”

The last word goes to Joan’s family on what this has meant to them, “What they’ve helped mum achieve is priceless and there are no words. Thank-you all from the bottom of our hearts.”