In-keeping with the Arts, as one of this year’s themes for Care Home Open Day, Jean Chesterman, a resident at Care UK’s Kingsfield care home in Faversham, Kent, has recently published a book of poems for children.
Roundabout, written under her married name of Jean Kenward, is the latest work in a writing career that has spanned nine decades. Jean has written more than 18 books and over 250 poetry anthologies but she is perhaps best known for her creation Ragdolly Anna, which was made into a children’s TV series in the 1980s.
Roundabout is a collection of simple songs and poems for young children, many about the natural world. The pages are beautifully illustrated with paintings in jewel-like colours by Barbara Sedassy, Jean’s longstanding friend and artistic collaborator.
Jean has written books and poems for adults too but she is mainly a children’s author and says “I’ve always felt an affinity for children, for the wonder that they have about the world and their sense of the absurd”.
Jean talks about her life at Kingsfield care home and thinks that it is important to see the good things in the world as we hear so much that is bad. She says: “I see good things here at Kingsfield in what the staff do. They are extremely understanding and very kind. They have a huge amount of patience and go out of their way to be helpful. They work very hard and I admire them. There is a lot of laughter here”.
“I moved into Kingsfield care home 5 years ago as I could no longer manage on my own at home. I have been very happy here. The gardens are lovely and I am able to walk into the village and go to weekly classical music concerts in Faversham whenever I can. I have met a lot of very interesting and varied people – staff, residents and visitors”.
Media headlines around residential care all too often focus on care failures and rarely on the daily successes. Every day in care homes across the country, staff show kindness to our loved ones, share laughs with residents and provide fun activities. These successes should be celebrated and encouraged and that is what Care Home Open Day is all about.
Care Home Open Day is being held on Friday 19th June 2015 and thousands of care homes across the UK have already signed up to take part again this year. You can find out which care homes are taking part and how you can get involved by searching using your postcode on the website at: www.nationalcarehomeopenday.org.uk