Not content to simply celebrate the Chinese New Year, staff at a Somerset care home have pulled out all the stops to provide a rich cultural experience for residents, with a variety of tastes and activities from across the Far East.
To set the scene properly Camelot House and Lodge in Wellington, a specialist nursing home for people living with dementia, was decorated with Chinese lanterns – many made by the residents – and all the flags of Asia, with a sound-track for the day selected by staff members from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Since 2018 is the Chinese ‘Year Of The Dog,’ one of the guests of honour was Treacle, a ‘Pets As Therapy’ dog, a German miniature pincher who is a regular visitor to the home and a favourite with many residents.
Activities included Chinese-style puzzles, featuring Chinese dragons, a firework display, native animals such as the Panda and Red Panda, and oriental scenery, as well as a quiz to see who could identify the most Asian flags.
Video clips were shown featuring culture, food, families, Chinese fireworks and landscapes of China, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Bhutan and Thailand.
Specially prepared delicacies provided throughout the day, included authentic Indonesian curries, prepared by kitchen assistant Niluh Chapman, and a traditional Filipino ‘Ube’ cake – an unusual layer cake made of purple yam (which tastes a bit like coconut), baked by apprentice carer Jam Garlitos who hails from the Philippines.
The day was rounded off with a spectacular firework display, which the mainly elderly residents were all able to view from the warmth of the main lounge.
Activities co-ordinator Richard Dempslake said: “Our Oriental Day was inspired by the success of a Romanian Day and an Indian Day which we organised towards the end of last year.
“Our residents simply love this kind of thing, and really enter into the spirit of the celebrations. They were delighted to be able to decorate the home with the lanterns they’d made, and our whole staff team – plus volunteers and family members – all pulled together to make the day really special.
“We are lucky to have such great support, and also to have a number of different nationalities represented on our staff team which enables us to create quite authentic experiences for our residents. My colleagues and I all enjoy dressing up in the appropriate national costumes for these days too.”