As part of Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May), Harleston House in Lowestoft invited Palais De Danse to entertain the home’s residents. The care home staff wanted to make people aware that dementia can be unlocked through music and dance and that residents can share happy times together despite having the condition.
The residents at Harleston House selected the singers (The Spinettes) after surfing the internet for an appropriate musical group to perform. The residents worked with the local high school in researching what type of music, clothes, refreshments, and venue they needed to recreate the atmosphere of the Pally for one special afternoon. This was carried out as staff wanted to involve the residents in preparation to give them a sense of achievement and ownership when the event took place.
The residents were picked up by a Belle coach and driven to the venue in Kessingland for the afternoon. They were met by Gareth, Activities Coordinator, dressed as a member of the Royal Air Force to greet them and transport them ‘back in time’.
The residents were partnered with 15 semi-professional dancers to help them learn the steps of the Ballroom and Latin dances. This worked very well as the dancers joined the residents on the floor and they danced whilst the residents had periods of rest. One of the students that helped research the Pally leading up to the event came on the day with his nanny. While he joined in with the dancing, his nanny helped to run the refreshments bar.
The atmosphere was brilliant and the feedback from the residents has been fantastic. All of the residents enjoyed their time even those residents that could not take part in dancing.