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Archive for October, 2010

Welcome to my new office

One of the residents keeping me company today.

I have been settled in my new office for a couple of weeks now and I’ve decided I like it. It is much closer to the resident lounge so one nice result is that various residents come to keep me company at various times of the day, so I don’t get too lonely.

Our hall of fame


One of the portraits in our exhibition


This week we exhibited a collection of stunning  portraits of some of our residents, drawn by young artist Anamaria Marzec-Smith. It was just wonderful to see how she had captured their personalities and many of the relatives came to admire the portraits. Some of the relatives decided to buy a portrait which certainly brought a smile to Anamaria’s face!

Two of the portraits in our exhibition


Our activities coordinator Alice put together a brief life history for each of the residents in the collection, and it was wonderful to be able to read about people’s lives while admiring the portraits. I found it to be an intensely personal experience. If art is about eliciting an emotional response then this exhibition certainly did that for me.

Part of the portrait exhibition in our quiet lounge

While the exhibition was well attended and received by staff, relatives and friends of the residents, the response from the community was perhaps a little disappointing. I guess many people are uncomfortable about stepping into a dementia care home – perhaps they expect to see a lot of suffering (they wont at Rose Lodge) or maybe they just dont know how they will respond. Whatever the reason, it would be great if we could let the wider community enjoy these portraits so we will see if we can display them at a more ‘neutral’ venue somewhere in Exmouth.



Varied activities programme at Rose Lodge

As reported by Exmouth Journal 21 October 2010

Rose Lodge, East Devon’s specialist dementia care home, have a varied activities programme that helps residents stay connected to the wider community. The appreciation of beauty is an important strand of the programme, as research has shown that this ability stays with people as their dementia progresses. Next week, Rose Lodge is exhibiting a series of compelling portraits by artist Anamaria Marzec-Smith, who spent a week at Rose Lodge as ‘artist in residence’, getting to know the residents, sketching, and participating in daily life. She has now worked up her sketches into a series of compelling portraits, beautifully capturing their personalities. Rose Lodge will be exhibiting these portraits in their quiet Lounge, on October 26 and 27, from 2 pm to 4 pm. There will be an opportunity to talk with Ana about ther work at Rose Lodge, and of course to join the residents and staff for a cup of tea. Ana said “This has been the best experience in my life. I have experienced emotions I didn’t know I would feel, and met people I never thought I would meet”.

Portrait Exhibition at Rose Lodge 26 & 27 October


Portrait Exhibition  

Tuesday 26 October and Wednesday 27 October2 pm to 4pm

At Rose Lodge, 2 Isca Road, Exmouth

A collection of stunning portraits by artist Anamaria Marzec-Smith of residents at Rose Lodge







Come and join the artist and residents over a cup of tea



Do we really need to recruit staff from far-away places ?


The Rose Lodge staff team

I watched a news item on the local news last night which talked about a number of care homes in Devon challenging the government’s recently imposed cap on immigrants, in relation to care home staffing. They made the claim that ‘withouth foreign staff it would be impossible to care for our residents’

We beg to disagree.

Being a dementia care home, good communication is incredibly important to the well-being of our residents. Since many of our  residents have reduced communication and comprehension skills, it is even more important that our staff have good communication skills by way of compensation. Good communication can really help to reduced the suffering that is commonly (and erroneously) associated with dementia. 

In our recruitment we put communication skills very high on our list, and while recruiting local staff can be more difficult than shipping in a team of  foreign workers, we believe the benefits far outweigh the additional cost.

It is simply not true that local people do not want to work in care. On the contrary we are finding no shortage of people that want to come and work at Rose Lodge. The simple fact is this: an environment where residents can achieve a high level of well-being is also an environment where care staff feel they can make a genuine difference to people’s lives. In other words a happy home is one where local staff will want to work. Not only that, but local staff typically have a long term interest and history in the community that they live in, and it is one of the many ways in which a care home can truly be part of the local community that it serves.

We are very proud that we recruit, train, and develop staff from our local area, and we will will continue to do so going forward. Just to be clear, this is most definately NOT about race or nationality, it is about employing people from the local community regardless of race or nationality.