Old and young partner to document dementia

Older people living with dementia in Belle Isle will share what life is like with the start of a £10,000 cross-generational journal project.

Resident Iris Stephens with Elliot Jayakumar from Sharp Lane Primary. Picture Scott Merrylees
Resident Iris Stephens with Elliot Jayakumar from Sharp Lane Primary. Picture Scott Merrylees

Over the next 12 months residents in their 80s and 90s at Nesfield Lodge Care Home in Belle Isle, will partner with pupils from Sharp Lane Primary School to create an interactive diary.

Known as the ‘Friends of Nes’T’field’, the group of residents and relatives at the Orchard Care-run setting are celebrating after securing £10,000 from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All fund.

With daily accounts from the older and younger generations, the project will provide insights into how different people within their communities live, their interests and thoughts.

Dani Bird, Activity Coordinator at Nesfield Lodge, said:

“Everyone was delighted to find out the group had been successful with the award. Residents are really excited about the project getting started.

“The Year 2 class has already been visiting for sessions and each week residents look forward to working with them and sharing their ideas. It has really provided the home with links to the community and it’s great to see.”

Supported by creative ageing charity Equal Arts, residents and school children will take part in a range of artist-led activities together to help share their stories.

The journal will include written text, drawings, photos and keepsakes from those taking part.

Residents first partnered with local schools when the home joined Equal Arts’ HenPower project back in September 2015. The project is now in more than 40 care settings across the UK, and over eight Orchard Care Homes.

The innovative project combines hen-keeping and creativity to help reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing among older people.

Nicola Pemberton, who leads the HenPower project in Leeds for Equal Arts, said:

“It has been fantastic to see the relationships developing between residents and pupils. Many residents will talk about the children visiting as it has left them with a good feeling, and emotion they can retain longer than a memory.

“They get so much from learning alongside each other and the interactive diary will help shed more light on how their lives differ and where they are similar.

“It also highlights to young people and the wider community how people can live well with dementia.”

This Saturday (30 July 2016) Nesfield will open its doors to the community with its summer fair between 2-4pm with all welcome to attend.

For more information about the work of Equal Arts visit www.equalarts.org.uk, ring 0191 477 5775 or email information@equalarts.org.uk

To find out more about Orchard Care Homes, visit www.orchardcarehomes.com / www.facebook.com/orchardcarehome