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Theresa, 92, Relives Time As WWII Secretary As Part Of Care Home’s Innovative Dementia Scheme

TheresaWork at the War Office during World War II has been recreated for one resident at a care home in East Sussex, as part of its project to become a centre of excellence in dementia care.

Hastings Court care home on The Ridge has launched a year-long commitment to become the first ‘Butterfly’ care home in the county.

The project will see management and staff trained in the Butterfly approach to dementia, which focuses on person-centred care and wellbeing.

As part of the scheme, rooms are being designed to reflect residents’ past lives and the things they enjoy, and staff on the floor wear their own clothes rather than uniforms to help create a family-type atmosphere.

Theresa, aged 92, from Eastbourne has lived at Hastings Court for 18 months.  A retired secretary for the War Office, the walls next to her room are being redecorated to resemble where she used to work.  Memorabilia such as a desk, a telephone, files and a typewriter trigger memories of a time when she was very productive and felt great responsibility, giving her purpose in her day and a sense of achievement.

Theresa’s nephew, Adam, said;  “We never thought to set up such a space for Aunt Theresa but seeing her so engrossed in what she is doing – even if it’s just loading paper into her typewriter – it seems such an obvious thing to do.  The staff here are so supportive and get involved with all of us so we all feel included in making life the best it can be for my aunt.”

The second floor of Hastings Court will also be transformed with dedicated lounges for people at different stages in their dementia which will make day-to-day life more fulfilling.

The Butterfly model has been developed by Dementia Care Matters, globally recognised leaders in dementia care and training.  Butterfly homes are given a national dementia care Quality of Life kitemark and there are now more than 100 across the UK.  There are currently more than 850,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the UK.  This forecast to rise to over 1 million by 20251.

Hastings Court recently launched the project to residents, families, health and social care professionals and members of the public.  Among them was resident, Fred Day, whose wife, Sheila, lives on the second floor.

“Dementia needs to be brought to the forefront.  Sheila is wonderfully cared for here but there are many places where people with dementia are forgotten.  I think it’s a wonderful idea to bring the Butterfly Project in to play.”

Manager, Katie Brewster, said;  “There is a growing demand in Hastings for dementia care and we want to offer the best care and the best environment.  The Butterfly project is about seeing each person as an individual, about bringing colour into people’s lives and allowing them to live as they want to live.

“We know that families need to feel their relatives are living well with dementia and we are passionate about enabling them to do so.  “Achieving Butterfly status will impact on the home as a whole so everyone will see the benefits, whether they have dementia or not.”

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