RCH Care Homes’ is supporting Dementia Action Week by showing that with specialist training, dedication and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of those with Dementia, incredible moments can happen.

Romford Care Home specialises in supporting those living with dementias, offering a meaningful lifestyle when often the complexity of the disease can be extremely limiting in day-to-day life.

Our teams are committed to enabling those living with Dementia to feel a connection, engagement and a purpose to be a part of life in a supportive community.

When a new resident moves in to an RCH Care Home, often the team have to become detectives, piecing together many fragments of the individual’s life history, their interests, skills and experience in order to create and support a meaningful, engaging and person-centred lifestyle programme. Often the specialist Dementia team at the home will speak with family and loved ones to help. However, in some instances, this isn’t possible.

~ “It can be like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.” ~  – Hayley, Lifestyle Co-ordinator

When Stuart moved in to the Dementia Nursing and Residential Home based in Romford in the spring of 2020, due to difficulties in communication caused by Stuart’s Dementia, it was hard for the team to find out more of his life history and they had to rely upon the many possessions that Stuart brought with him.

Whilst getting to know Stuart, Lifestyle Co-ordinator Hayley noticed the numerous awards, certificates, framed pictures and photograph albums crammed with images of very unique and glamorous hairstyles.

After some further research, the team discovered that Stuart’s profession was hairdressing; in fact, he’d had quite a successful and award-winning career, showing off his skills and artistry at numerous Fashion and Trade Shows, including a number for L’Oréal!

“Although he was unable to tell us the details about his career, it obvious from his emotions that he was very proud and still very passionate about the incredible elaborate creations he was responsible for creating throughout his career” – Hayley, Lifestyle Coordinator

Determined that Stuart’s history and passion for hairdressing was not forgotten, the team at Romford Care Home implemented a number of ways to make sure it didn’t.

Stuart and Hayley have spent many afternoons looking through his portfolio of work so that Hayley could understand Stuart’s passion. The team brought Stuart a professional ‘block head’ with which he could create new styles. “Watching Stuart use the block head to show off his hairdressing skills makes my job all the more worthwhile. To see the look of joy on his face and how much it brings him alive when he is doing what he loves best is breath-taking. It really is so enjoyable to sit together and look through his photo albums, I would have loved to see some of his shows in real life.”

The next step was to introduce Stuart to the home’s own Beauty Salon with the support of their own professional hairdresser. Now, every Thursday, Stuart can be found assisting the hair dresser, helping with styling tips and giving the ‘salon experience’ to other residents.

“Developing person-centred activities has huge benefits to a person’s wellbeing and is something we have always strived to excel at. Memories of the individual’s life, achievements and personal characteristics give value to them and their family by allowing them to make the link between past and present.” Tracy Smith, Customer Relations Manager