Residents at care homes in Cheshire, Dorset, and Worcestershire are celebrating after learning their entries to a national poetry writing competition have been selected as the best in the country.
The competition marked World Poetry Day celebrations at Care UK homes nationwide. Care UK lifestyle teams supported residents in preparing for the competition by organising writing workshops, poetry recitals, and visits from local authors and schools, giving residents the opportunity to share and talk about their favourite rhymes.
The competition received more than 50 entries with first place going to Abney Court in Cheadle, Cheshire. For several weeks, residents met with a group of students from Kingsway School and after gathering the residents’ most treasured memories, the students marked World Poetry Day by turning these memories into poetry. Residents and the pupils also worked together on a joint poem called “What we call home”.
The competition judges were particularly impressed with Akira Edgson’s poem about resident Pat Nugent’s memories and what life is like at Abney Court. Their entry won over the judges’ hearts to take the stop spot and a £100 prize.
Home manager Tracy Mitchell said: “It was so exciting to hear that Akira’s poem won Care UK’s poetry writing competition. It’s a beautifully worded poem and Pat was thrilled to see her memories turned into poetry. This is a great example of how activity based care at Abney Court supports residents to continue enjoying their passions and hobbies. Intergenerational relationships have been proven to be beneficial to older people, and residents truly enjoyed sharing their memories with the Kingsway School students.”
Two runners up prizes were presented to residents and the teams at Ferndown Manor in Ferndown, Dorset and Perry Manor in Leamington Spa, Worcestershire.
At Ferndown Manor, residents created a joint poem about what life is like at the home. The carefully crafted piece, “Ferndown Manor – My home”, addresses common misconceptions about care homes and describes some touching moments of life that many people can relate to, from freshly formed friendships to new experiences.
The second runner-up prize went to an entry from residents at Perry Manor. The home’s creative writing group collaborated to write a thought-provoking poem about their memories and describing their lives, from playing as children, to marriage, and life at Perry Manor.
Gill Allat, who leads on lifestyle and dementia strategy at Care UK, said: “Personalised, supportive care that offers residents the opportunity to maintain or develop new hobbies goes to the very heart of what we provide in our homes.
“Reminiscence activities, such as sharing favourite childhood poems, or simply having poetry read out loud, can be therapeutic to people living with dementia. Not only is it calming, but it is also helpful for people with restricted eyesight and soothing for those who are less able to communicate.
“Poetry is a great way for residents to express their emotions and memories and it is remarkable to see how reading aloud can unite people. Through our meaningful lifestyles ethos, we actively encourage care home teams to involve their local communities in events such as World Poetry Day, and we know this writing competition really captured their imagination.”
Poetry reading and writing is just one of 100 great ideas for fun and meaningful activities that can be shared with an older loved one. Download Care UK’s free ‘As easy as ABC’ guidebook for more hints and tips.