FESTIVE FUN AT FRIENDS OF THE ELDERLY

Charity’s Residents and Day Care Clients Enjoyed a Jolly Holly Christmas Time
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Throughout Friends of the Elderly, the Charity which runs care homes, day care services and a grant giving service for older people living on low incomes throughout England, the festive period was a very busy and merry time for all its residents and clients.

Every member of the Charity’s care team loves to make sure that all its residents and clients have a joyful Christmas, and everyone thoroughly enjoys engaging with them in a wide range of yuletide activities.

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The Christmas arts and crafts sessions had joyful Christmas themes and included advent calendar and creating Christmas treat bags at Bernard Sunley, our residential, nursing and dementia care home in Woking; and making beautiful festive, floral hanging baskets at Orford House, our residential care home in Coulsdon. Our Kidderminster Day Care clients designed and decorated wonderful Christmas baubles and each care home and day care service was decked out with wonderful Christmas Trees and sparkling decorations.

Residents, Geoffrey and Helen Harrold, at Woking-based Bernard Sunley care home. Picture: submittedResidents, Geoffrey and Helen Harrold, at Woking-based Bernard Sunley care home. Picture: submitted
Residents, Geoffrey and Helen Harrold, at Woking-based Bernard Sunley care home. Picture: submitted

Residents and clients also enjoyed many visits and festive performances. RNNH, the Charity’s residential and dementia care home in Bournemouth welcomed St. James’ Church of England Primary Academy’s Choir for a yuletide carol concert and also the 4th Christchurch Brownies, who delighted the residents with their nativity performance. RNNH residents also received handmade Christmas cards from Year 5 pupils at St. Walburga’s Catholic Primary School.

In true ‘thigh slapping’ Christmas style, pantomimes were a plenty. At Redcot, Friends of the Elderly’s residential care home in Haslemere and at RNNH, residents got further into the Christmas Spirit, enjoying performances of the classic Dick Whittington. Both shows were put on by The Carousel Theatre Company. All the actors are seasoned professionals, many of whom have worked in the West End. The performances were created to be as visually and mentally stimulating as possible and written especially for people living in care homes or visiting day care centres, which is ideal for the residents and clients.

“The pantomime was great fun, with bright costumes, funny props and lots of jokes and slapstick,” said Jan Daly, the Registered Manager at Redcot. “Our residents were in full ‘Panto-Mode’ as there were lots of shouts of ‘It’s behind you…Oh no it’s not’, boos and cheers thoughout the performance.”

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Clients from Malvern Day Care and residents from Bradbury Court, the dementia care home at Friends of the Elderly Malvern, also enjoyed the Christmas pantomime tradition when they visited The Coach House Theatre in Malvern to enjoy a special dementia-friendly performance of Snow White. The dementia-friendly show was staged by students of Drama Studios London who are managed locally by professional Director and Producer, Kirsty Cubberley of The Phoenix Collective. “The Snow White pantomime was thoughtfully tailored for people living with dementia, their families and carers, so that everyone enjoyed the show in an environment that is comfortable and supportive,” said Shirley Bradley, Friends of the Elderly’s Head of Day Care Services.

Beautiful Handmade Christmas Decorations. Picture: submittedBeautiful Handmade Christmas Decorations. Picture: submitted
Beautiful Handmade Christmas Decorations. Picture: submitted

To make the pantomime dementia-friendly, the theatre, cast and crew worked hard to make the performance an enjoyable experience for those living with dementia, making it not only accessible but entertaining as well. The volume of music was reduced, the house lights dimmed so the auditorium still had ambient lighting, the cast were fully briefed on how some of the audience may react during the show and there were additional staff on hand to offer support if needed. This created a relaxed, friendly, comfortable and safe environment for everyone to enjoy the magical performance.

However, that’s not all. Malvern and Kidderminster Day Care created a Friends of the Elderly Christmas Tree which was displayed at Worcester Cathedral; and many of our care homes took part in the Friends of the Elderly Mince Pie Bake-A-Thon.

A jolly holly Christmas time was had by all, and all the Charity’s care homes, and day care services, are now enjoying the New Year and looking forward to the year ahead.

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