Dementia residents join forces with local school

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Residents at a Chelmsford care home visited local pupils as part of an inter-generational project aimed at dispelling the myths and stigma associated with dementia.

The Care UK team and residents from Manor Lodge care home, on Manor Road, joined pupils from St. Michael’s CE Primary School in Galleywood to celebrate the beginning of The Archie Project initiative, which links local primary schools to care homes.

To launch the initiative, the children dressed up as scarecrows for a special assembly with Manor Lodge residents – and were joined by special guest, the Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Yvonne Spence.

The Archie Project is a dementia awareness project set up by the charity Reminiscence Learning.

The partnership will involve the children working with residents over several weeks on arts and crafts initiatives, as well as talking with residents about what life had been like when they were at school.

The project is centred round a brightly knitted scarecrow called Archie, which has been designed to help pupils understand how the condition can affect older people.

The children have also been learning about the effects of dementia and how as a society we can help those to live well with dementia.

In addition to the launch assembly, the local children have spent an afternoon at the care home getting to know residents by serving afternoon tea and exchanging stories.

Residents and pupils alike also enjoyed balloon games, which helped build relationships and encourage light exercise – both of which are hugely important to the well-being of those living with dementia.

Home manager at Manor Lodge, Juliana Miles, said: “We believe it is important to learn about dementia from a young age, and hope that this project will raise awareness of the condition for pupils and their parents and teachers.

“The pupils and residents had a wonderful time getting to know each other and sharing stories.

“Residents were delighted to have been invited along to the special assembly at the school, and we’d like to thank Councillor Yvonne Spence for joining us to mark the start of this project.

“We believe it is important for the children to gain confidence in speaking to an older generation, and to understand their needs.

“We are looking forward to continuing the work with pupils at St. Michael’s CE Primary School, with upcoming projects including arts and crafts, gardening and sharing memories, and hope to build on the friendships which have been forged.”

Manor Lodge is a modern purpose-built care home that delivers nursing, residential and short-term respite care for older people and they specialist expertise in supporting individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

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