Willow’s walkabout trails Dementia Awareness Week at Colten Care

ALL SMILES. Willow the donkey says hello to Anne Zammattio, a resident at The Aldbury, during his visit to the Colten Care home.
ALL SMILES. Willow the donkey says hello to Anne Zammattio, a resident at The Aldbury, during his visit to the Colten Care home.

Improving the awareness and understanding of dementia is the focus of free public information sessions at Colten Care homes.

The ‘Dementia Friends’ meetings feature among a range of activities the family-owned provider is staging in support of Dementia Awareness Week beginning today.

“As a care home provider, we support the message of the Alzheimer’s Society that life doesn’t end when dementia begins and it shouldn’t stop you doing the things you love,” said Tim Wookey, Colten Care’s Marketing Director and a Dementia Friends Champion. “The sessions we are hosting, across both our general and dementia-specific homes, will help people in the community raise their awareness and understanding of the condition.”

Ahead of Dementia Awareness Week, Colten Care’s Poole dementia care home The Aldbury welcomed a visit from The Donkey Sanctuary in Devon highlighting the therapeutic effect of animal encounters for people with memory loss.

Willow, a 14-year-old miniature donkey, prompted smiles all round as he toured lounges and corridors in the home under the supervision of two Sanctuary representatives.

One of them, volunteer Wendy Small, said: “You can see recognition in people’s eyes. They remember donkey rides from years ago and it can be an emotional experience to see such a beautiful animal close up. People very much relate to it and it’s always worth coming if we can see we have reached someone emotionally.”

On the same day, Willow visited Colten Care’s Ferndown nursing and residential home, Amberwood House, where he also proved a hit.

Amberwood Activities Organiser Jan Burns said: “The residents were thrilled as he walked round to greet everybody. He also went to visit people in their rooms. Lots of questions were asked about the sanctuary and where Willow had come from.”

Tim Wookey added: “Colten Care’s overall focus for Dementia Awareness Week is to join up with others to promote dementia awareness and help our homes’ communities to better understand how they can help people with dementia.”

The Dementia Friends sessions, run by volunteers, will take place in homes across Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire at different times during the week.

There will also be coffee mornings, wine and cheese evenings, raffles and other events to raise money for charities working in dementia care. Among them:

  • Canford Chase in Poole is holding a dementia talk and wine and cheese on Tuesday, May 19, from 6pm to 7pm.
  • Belmore Lodge in Lymington is hosting a performance by the Jam Tarts Ukelele Band on Wednesday, May 20, at 2pm.
  • Amberwood House in Ferndown will welcome members of the music group Melodies for Memories on Friday May 22, at 1.30pm.
  • Fernhill at Longham near Ferndown is staging a dog show and cream tea on Saturday May 23, from 12.15pm.
  • Woodpeckers at Brockenhurst is holding craft activities in the garden each day between 10.30am and 3.30pm.

Team members from St Catherines View, Colten Care’s dementia care home in Winchester, will feature in a film produced for Dementia Awareness Week by the West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

The film is designed to highlight how a dementia care home supports the wider community. As well as Tim Wookey, those sharing their thoughts are Dee Lovewell, Head of Care at St Catherines View, and Marion Grist, Colten Care Training Officer. The film is available to view from May 18, 2015, at www.westhampshireccg.nhs.uk.

For more information on all Dementia Awareness Week activities at Colten Care homes, visit www.coltencare.co.uk.


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