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Archive for March, 2012

Well done Mandy!


I had the pleasure of making Mandy blush today at the start of your ‘yoga on the lawn’ session. Mandy has passed her NVQ in medication with flying colours. Well done Mandy!

Welcome to our solarium

It is very interesting to observe how people use a new space, and people can surprise you!

Since we put up our greenhouse last week Rene has been found relaxing in it after lunch. Unusual perhaps, but not so strange once you know that Rene had a lovely lean-to conservatory in his bungalow. One can imagine how he and Edna would sit there after lunch, having a lovely doze before tea….

The gentlemen’s bush-hat is rather fetching don’t you think ?


…or the challenges of keeping up with your residents!

Person-centred care is perhaps the most used and least well understood phrase in Care Homes.

For us at Rose Lodge it means giving residents the widest possible choice of opportunities to lead meaningful lives. At times that means being challenged by residents. This was once such occasion.

Harry is  very active and capable in the garden, gardening for several hours a day and he has made a fantastic contribution to getting the garden under control and looking great. In the process he produced a vast quantity of woody material that would not have composted in ten years.

For a couple of weeks now he has challenged us to let him burn the wood. When we asked ourselves the ‘why not ? question (the most useful question in dementia care perhaps ?) we could not come up with a good enough answer,  and so this week we fashioned a make-shift fire pit. Today Harry, Rene, and I spent a pleasurable morning chopping up and burning wood, just in time before the pupils from the Beacon School came to grow vegetables with our residents (unfortunately I cannot publish photos of the children on this blog).

There could have been several answers to the ‘why not’ question, involving words such as Regulations, Vulnerable Adults, Safeguarding, Mental Capacity, Health and Safety, and Minimising Risk. Those words can so easily close our minds to creative solutions that can help to bring meaning to people’s lives. For one person for one day ‘meaning’ was found in burning wood. That’s good enough.

What next ? Well we are going to replace our make-shift fire pit with a properly constructed one, and it won’t  be long before you will find us sitting around the fire, singing songs, and roasting marshmallows on a warm summer evening.



Cameron speech today at Alzheimers Society

Our comment: Words are powerful but only if they are followed by action – let’s hope this is the start of real national action to cure the condition and to better support people living with it. In the short term much of it comes down to money and certainly in Devon, care home funding for people with dementia is nothing short of shameful. We know from Rose Lodge that the cost of providing good quality dementia care is more than the funding available from Devon County Council.



There are some challenges in our national life that get a lot of headlines, like the debt crisis.

But one of the greatest challenges of our time is what I’d call the quiet crisis…

…one that steals lives and tears at the hearts of families…

…but that relative to its impact is hardly acknowledged.

670,000 people in England are living with dementia today.

Each of these is someone like Enid Russell.

Twenty years ago Enid was diagnosed with dementia.

She’d been a mother, childcare worker and loving wife to George for many years.

George says that “she’s still the lovely Enid” he’s always loved….

…but – for the past four years – she no longer recognises her husband.

It is almost impossible to imagine seeing the one you love slip away from you while physically, they’re still there.

And every day, hundreds of thousands of these tragedies are playing out behind closed doors.

Click here for the whole speech

What a show!

Rose Lodge residents were on stage this weekend for the second year running, as part of ‘Wish upon a star’ show directed by Maslen George. It was a fantastic show with contributions from the wide range of drama classes that Maslen runs for children and adults including people living with learning disabilities or dementia. This year many more of our residents were on stage compared to last year, performing individually, and together in a very jolly ‘London knees-up’. Personally I would rather put pins in my eyes than perform on stage so I have the greatest respect for anyone with the courage to perform in public, and to just have such riotous fun!

There are tremendous benefits to these kinds of events. It gives people who enjoy performing on stage the knowledge that they are making a contribution to their community. But it also makes us consider how we think about people with dementia. Perhaps they are not as vulnerable and dependent as we sometimes think. If they can do things that we would never do willingly, perhaps our respect grows and it makes us wonder what else they can do with a little support. The answer is just about anything.  I think we will draw the line at skydiving though.

On the other hand…WHY NOT?


Maslen has once again succeeded in putting together a wonderfully inclusive and pioneering  show, and we are very happy to be part of her happy drama family.