A Japanese woman who has been living in the UK for nearly 30 years has been enjoying a ‘cultural experience day’ organised by her care home in Bridgwater to enable her to revisit her native heritage.
Seventy-three-year-old Fumiko Mackintosh is the newest resident to move into specialist dementia care home Avalon, where staff arranged a Japanese-themed wellbeing day to help her settle.
After a morning shopping trip – one of Fumiko’s favourite pastimes – the highlight came in the afternoon with a special visit for Fumiko from fluent Japanese speaker Lulia Marton, a friend of Avalon and daughter of the home’s deputy manager.
Fumiko was delighted to have the chance to talk in her native language and also enjoyed writing in Japanese with her young conversation partner.
Lulia, who also speaks fluent German, is in Year 11 at The Castle School in Taunton and has studied Japanese privately for four years, prompted by a love of Japanese culture.
A special bonus for Fumiko was a home-made Katsu curry, which Lulia had prepared especially for her visit.
Avalon’s activities co-ordinator, Lisa Priddice, said:
“Fumiko liked it so much she had tears of joy in her eyes and she was smiling the whole time.
“This was a really special time for Fumiko who thoroughly enjoyed celebrating her culture with Lulia, talking with her about her early days with her beloved husband and about Osaka where she grew up.”
Fumiko emigrated to England in 1995 with her husband Terry Mackintosh, who had been working as an English teacher in Japan. The pair returned to the UK after a major earthquake and spent most of their married life in Axbridge where Fumiko worked as a secretary.
Lisa Priddice said:
“We always make sure we find out as much as we can about our residents’ life stories, because being able to converse with them in a meaningful way about their memories is such an important part of dementia care.
“Fumiko is fluent in English and has lived here for many years but her Japanese roots are still an important part of who she is. She really enjoyed her special day and is looking forward to more visits from Lulia in the future.”