Today Nathaniel and I went to visit a dementia day care home for the first time with a Norfolk based charity called Friend in Deed.
I am just going to write a short post as I’m meeting the founder of the charity Kelly Lindsay soon, and I will be able to speak to her and share her amazing story.
Just this week, Kelly was presented with the Pride of Britain Community Award at a special Good Morning Britain event. The 1 million minutes award is a campaign to encourage volunteers to help people who struggle with loneliness.
This is a brief summary of my visit today. All opinion is my own. The images belong to the Friend in Deed website as I couldn’t take photos inside. But the images of Nathaniel are mine.
The vision of Friend in Deed is to create friendship across generations with the aim of reducing loneliness and promoting kindness. Adults with their children and babies visit care homes, dementia cafes, day centres and sheltered housing sites.
Today Nathaniel and I went to Harford Hill, a dementia day care centre on Ipswich Road run by a social enterprise called Independence Matters. We took Big Ted along with us.
On arrival, we were shown into a lovely big room with a box full of toys to play with and some lovely dementia therapy toy pets, a wonderful toy kitten that purred back and wanted stroking and a toy pug dog with realistic breathing. Well, Nathaniel was off….
After a quick warm up flinging all the toys out of the box and with freedom to run around the room, he eventually met the day care residents and easily made friends. It’s great to see how adults with dementia react to little children. They are delighted when he runs round, explores under their chairs, throws balls across the room, demands to be heard and jumps up and down on various items. Meanwhile, I am delighted that someone else thinks this is wonderful and sit back happily for a chat with some super people.
One gentleman started humming some hymn tunes. It turns out that he was once in the Salvation Army, he couldn’t remember my name but when he sat at a piano, he could play every tune by heart. He had such a wistful look on his face as he closed his eyes and played without any music required.
Another lady was fascinated with Nathaniel’s hair (he has a lot) and was convinced he was a girl. She tried to give him babies to play with but he wasn’t having it and kept giving them back. They both laughed at this game.
With dementia, I thought it would be difficult to carry a conversation, but the residents are so friendly and kind, they have no problems talking to complete strangers and can talk about anything, no matter how many times!! The smiles on their faces as they watched Nathaniel whizz about the room with his usual high spirited energy made it such an enjoyable morning, and I was able to get out of the house and socialise too. A win, win in my opinion.
We’ll definitely go again.
If you have a baby or toddler and you live in Norwich or surrounding area, I strongly recommend that you come too!
If you want to find out more about this wonderful charity, here are some details:
- Twitter: @FriendinDeed_
- Facebook page: @friendindeed
- Website: http://www.friendindeed.org.uk
- Instagram: friendindeedinsta
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org