Residents at a Colchester-based care home have been around the world in 30 days, from the comfort of their armchair, as they explored 13 different countries and cultures throughout the month of September.
Carers at Colonia Court Bupa Care Home selected 13 countries which the residents have special connections to, including Spain, Russia, Africa, India, Indonesia, China, Australia, Hawaii, USA, Mexico, Brazil and Peru before ‘travelling’ back to England, where they celebrated traditional English tropes.
The idea came from the home’s Activities Coordinator, Dawn Kirkland. Dawn said: “I first thought of the idea during lockdown. I was discussing wish lists with our residents and many of them mentioned wanting to re-visit certain areas of the world and explore new places, so the team and I worked together to make this happen, with props, costumes, food and music.”
Each leg of their journey included handmade boarding passes to give the residents the full travelling experience. Staff and carers even handcrafted aeroplanes, safari trucks and a red London bus, to transform Colonia Court’s lounge into new destinations.
Residents got stuck in by dressing up as different animals from the chosen countries, celebrating new traditions, tasting exotic foods and learning about different country cultures.
Jiji George, Home Manager at Colonia Court Bupa Care Home, said: “Some of our residents are living with dementia, so not only have going on these trips helped create new memories for all involved, but it has helped trigger memories of family holidays from their past which they were able to share with other residents. Our residents have all lived fascinating lives, so it was extremely heart-warming to hear stories about their travels and hear them reminisce about exploring the world.”
Percy Corps, 69, is a resident at Colonia Court. He said: “My favourite country was Spain, as it brought back lots of happy memories about going there with my family years ago. I also love Spanish food and drink.”
Residents Ron and Daphne, brother and sister living at Colonia Court, both relished in the activity and compared it to their family holidays as children.
Daphne, age 89, said: “The furthest Ron and I have travelled is the Channel Islands, which made this activity very exciting for us. We have never had passports, so making these has been great fun, filling them at each country with a stamp. It has been a wonderful experience and I loved learning about all the different countries.”
Ron, aged 92, said: “I especially enjoyed tasting of all the food and drink from each country. My favourite was the French food the kitchen team prepared.”