Celebrate Real Lives

Sugar, spice and all things nice

Activities assistant Kathy Burge with resident Janet Needs, looking at flash cards of Indian culture.

Residents at a care home in Wellington have been treated to a day of sensory delights specially tailored to appeal to people living with dementia.

Members of the team with an Indian heritage at Camelot House and Lodge inspired colleagues to provide a day’s diversion with activities and treats to appeal to the eyes, ears, nose and taste-buds.

Activities co-ordinator, Richard Dempslake, said: “We know from previous Indian activity days that theirs is a rich cultural heritage we can borrow from with lots of different elements that appeal to our residents.

“And the recent hot weather made for a very appropriate environment – especially since we were driven inside by a monsoon-like downpour on the day. But this didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, and our residents had a fabulous time.”

In the morning the team entertained residents with an activity which involved identifying the exotic scents of a series of Indian spices such as coriander, curry powder, cardamom and cumin.

Richard Dempslake said: “Lots of the people we support are big fans of an Indian take-away, so we weren’t surprised they were pretty good at identifying the spices. They stimulated memories of Indian meals they had eaten in the past.

“For someone living with dementia, an activity that guides them to focus on just one of their senses at a time can be very beneficial, giving them special enjoyment and that all-important sense of achievement at a time in their lives when much of what is happening around them can be quite confusing, so this is good.

“Later we offered to apply mehndi designs to the hands of any residents who were keen. This is a form of body art: temporary drawn-on skin decoration where decorative designs are created using a paste made from powdered henna.

“Those who were given a tattoo for the day all wore them very proudly and were eager to show them off to anyone who would look.

“Our lovely Indian staff – and a few other members of the team, like me – dressed in traditional attire and some brought in homemade curries, cake and extra nibbles.

“Big thanks to senior care assistant Anju James, who prepared an incredible mango and cream sponge cake and decorated it in the colours of the Indian flag.”

Most of the Indian staff who work at Camelot House and Lodge come from Kerala, so Kerala special chicken curry and Kerala pork curry both featured on the home-cooked menu, along with dal makhana, steamed rice cakes, the popular Tamil Nadu street food kothu parotta, and sweet treats gulab jamun and fried banana to round off the feast.

Bollywood music and dancing was projected on to the home’s big screen for residents to enjoy in the afternoon, with other activities such as games with flash cards showing illustrations of Indian culture offering further entertainment.

Camelot House and Lodge’s Indian Day is part of a busy and varied programme of activities provided for their residents. The home is run by Camelot Care which also runs Avalon Nursing Home in Bridgwater and Butterfly Lodge in Plymouth.

Kirsty

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