How it Started
In 2009 I watched a BBC 2 documentary by Gerry Robinson titled ‘Can Gerry Robinson Fix The Care Industry’, this was all about Care Homes and what goes on inside them.
There are now ¼ million people in care homes in the UK. During the next 20 years over 1 million of us will have dementia and the chances that many of us will find ourselves in a residential care home are extremely high.
Quite coincidentally while this show was being aired, I was having to deal with the difficulties of putting my own mother into care, and so things were very relevant to me at the time of watching this programme.
A participant on the programme was a man called Dr David Sheard, a care consultant and chief executive and founder of Dementia Care Matters. www.dementiacarematters.com. I hold David in extremely high regard and admire him greatly for his forward-thinking attitude and implementing change in the care industry. It was David that set me on the road to what I am doing now and how I feel about Care Homes today.
Closing The Gap
Being a family member with a parent in a care home and having some 35 years experience of events and the entertainment business, I saw an opportunity that I felt sure would be attractive to both families and carers. I felt there was a gap between families and carers, which this project certainly helps to close.
I meet residents with dementia on a regular basis. Many of them struggle with trying to remember who they are or where they live, but this is totally forgotten when you see the same resident singing every word of every verse and chorus from songs that were written as far back as the forties. This proves that music really is the food of fun and life!
The Older One
One day when I went to see my mum in her home in Shenley, Hertfordshire, I saw her sitting at her window looking out. When she saw me, she put her hands together as though to pray, but I could tell from her smile that she was just so pleased to see me. I wondered how long she had sat in that chair for?
I felt inspired to write this poem.
1. I sit alone in my chair
And gaze outside at who is there
Many folk will pass my way
Their own routine becomes my day
But when they turn back to look at me
I wonder what they really see
A boring person old and grey
And someone who has had their day!
2. Of course their thinking, could be right
Back in my youth, I had many a night
Of partying late and having fun
Never thinking of ‘the older one’
Though as we say, things were different then
But what goes round comes round again
So younger ones beware
When I look down at you, in your chair
3. Wednesday is my favourite day
As grandchildren come along to play
They smile & giggle and get out their toys
There is one little girl and two little boys
They run so fast, as I would do
When I was young, when I was two
Although I’m pleased to see them all
I am not the reason why they call
As they belong to Molly Bee
She’s in room number 23
4. We eat our meals at regular times
And I hear the clock, with its regular chimes
I loved my crosswords, puzzles and games
But all I have now are my aches and pains
But I’ve had my time, so let’s be fair
As I close my eyes, here in my chair.
Vicky Churchill 23/08/2008