Jazz Singh, Director, Sohal Healthcare
Sparkle was an idea that came to me following frequent visits to a care home. During these visits I was aware of a lady sitting on her own, in the same place day after day. She appeared to show no interest in her surroundings, I noticed that she refused to participate in the organised activities, declining any assistance to leave her chair and be involved in the home’s community or interact with the people around her.
I started to chat with her, trying to get to know her and find out why she didn’t want to be included in the community of the home, I wanted to make something nice happen for her so that she had some happy memories to look back on. I asked her if there was anything that she would like to do. Her answer was that she would like to go to London to see a show as she had never done anything like that before, but she was aware that she lived in a care home, so she felt that the possibility of that occurring was very remote.
I organised and accompanied the lady myself to London, we went to the theatre and saw Phantom of the Opera and then went for a nice meal in a restaurant. The emotion and excitement that the lady experienced was amazing, her whole demeaner changed and she had a real sense of achievement, having had the opportunity to tick something off her wish list. Realising that life had not finished just because she was in a care home enhanced her well-being and outlook on life.
The whole point of the Sparkle program is to promote the idea that “dreams can come true.” Just because someone is residing in a care home does not mean that life has stopped and wishes cannot be fulfilled. So often, it is the thoughts of residents and their families that going into a care home can mean only one thing…. Sparkle is a way of showing that you are never too old to follow your dreams or achieve things that you thought were no longer possible.
I decided to start the Sparkle program within our care homes to enable people to achieve life long ambitions that had never been possible for one reason or another. We have gained national coverage and made the national news with some of our more outlandish requests. We have also attained “Outstanding” in some of our Homes from CQC inspections. In one home residents were asked for suggestions and ideas for their Sparkle and the ladies decided they would like “some men”. The staff arranged for Butlers in the Buff to come into the care home and serve lunch to the residents in scanty aprons and not much else.
Another Sparkle event was to take a couple of gentlemen up into an aeroplane as they had never flown before. Our homes hold fund raising events throughout the year to help achieve these dreams, our managers work hard at building links with outside communities and businesses to make people aware of the Sparkle program, many homes have received donations to help with the Sparkle events.