Wellbeing is key to successfully providing excellent care. We have a full time coordinator, Elaine, who works closely with every resident to ensure that all residents receive the attention they deserve.
The home recently celebrated Armed Forces Day with a garden party for the reidents and their families. Local schools attended, as did the Mayor and Mayoress of Swale. Specail thanks to members of the Armed Forces who came in uniform and paid special attention to the residents, who were proiud to pose with them.
We have an ongoing collaboration with local artists and schools to involve diverse community groups in art projcets. The benefits of this project, which is ongoing, are well described by Jo Eden, an artist involved in the project:-
My impression is that the sessions have had a strong impact on some participants and some impact on others. I was delighted when I witnessed the way that some of the participants gradually became more engaged and more opened-up to new activities and experiences. Even those residents who have not joined in directly with our activities have still sometimes sat quietly with us and engaged in this way.
I was happy when Elaine described to me how some residents who would not normally be even talking to others in the home were engaging now with the group. I particularly noticed the way that simple making using objects that are meaningful to the participants such as family photographs which unlock memories and invite engagement through personal story-telling in a very powerful way. I was also struck by how potent music and communal singing is. I want to explore more deeply how singing can be used in this context. I have seen how the craft activities have helped with dexterity and with increasing the range of movement for some residents with physical difficulties.
In the 2017 summer sessions, I noticed how the shared activities helped the participants to engage more with each other socially, with each other, with carers and with volunteers from the community. I think the intergenerational work has been fantastic. The young students from Oasis Academy had already been doing some excellent work with residents from different care settings running the Dementia Café. The work they are now doing in the joint arts activities sessions is invaluable in creating new social links and in them being able to share their experiences with each other. It was heartening to see the young people attending and taking part in the Forces Day event.
Overall, I think the participants are enjoying the sessions as they bring vivacity, variety and dynamism into the day. It is good to see how a participant can start out with the belief “I can’t do art” then came around to the idea “perhaps I can” to “I am proud of that.” I know that these activities are helping to increase the resident’s sense of belonging, creativity and ultimately well-being.
Through the life of this continuing project, my perspective has become more nuanced. I see success with a vulnerable older person in a subtler way than I did at the beginning of the experience. To just sit and hold a person’s hand, to whisper to them, sing with them, to not try to get them to respond but to just be with them can produce a comfort, a release and a sense of safety for that person in that moment and that that is enough. I have not felt such joy before in seeing a person’s eyes light up or a smile come to their face even for a brief moment.
I think Elaine and the team are doing an excellent job of organising the Home environment to make the resident’s lives as fulfilled, happy and embedded within the community as they are able.
LAPWING or the 'Live Art Practice Wellbeing Inspire Network Group' is an initiative inspired, managed and evaluated by Fay Blair.
The partnership led by Age UK Canterbury was supported by Kent Creative Arts CIC, and funded through Arts Council England with Canterbury City Council, NHS Canterbury & Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group and is supported by Kent County Council in addition to a number of 'in kind' funders.
The project aims to:
The project included the development and delivery of innovative training for creatives and a series of eight mentor-led programmes in Canterbury & Faversham Age UK day centres, Cranmer House sheltered housing scheme in Canterbury, and Barton Court Care Home in Minster, on the Isle of Sheppey.
In this radio interview, artist Chris Reed explains the benefits to the residents and the interaction with the community:-
When our resident's are treated to animal visits, they are warmly welcomed and results in many very happy smiles. Recently, Ray visited Barton Court with Tramella Charles AKA Bailey. This is a comment...
River's Rodents and Reptiles visited the home in August. The residents loved the exotic animals, including snakes, a rat, lizards, a guinea pig and tortoises. Chanel the snake was the star,...