Residents at more than 40 Care UK homes across the country celebrated World Poetry Day on Wednesday 21 March.
The fun-filled events organised by Care UK’s lifestyle teams included intergenerational activities with local schools, poetry recitals, and workshops where residents were supported to pen their own poems to enter into Care UK’s ‘time to rhyme’ poetry writing competition.
In Suffolk, five Care UK homes celebrated the day by promoting the art of poetry and the benefits of reading aloud. Residents at Bury St. Edmunds home, Davers Court, invited pupils from King Edward VI School and local poet, Alan Askew, to share their favourite poems with residents, and at Cedrus House in Stowmarket, the local community were joined by special guest and local poet, Alan Jones, for a reading of his favourite poems.
Cedrus House home manager, Michelle Webster, said: “We had a wonderful time celebrating World Poetry Day. Reading, writing and listening to poetry is an activity enjoyed by many residents here at Cedrus House and we would like to say a big thank you to Alan Jones and all those who celebrated with us.
“Not only is poetry calming for those living with dementia, but it can also act as a great reminiscence activity as, for many residents, hearing lyrics and poetry can evoke fond memories from the past. The residents really enjoyed sharing poems from their past with friends and family, as well as putting pen to paper to write their own rhymes.”
In Framlingham, the team at Mills Meadow were on hand to welcome guests from the local community for an afternoon of celebrations. The day was particularly fitting for resident Peggy Courteen, who was able to share her own published poem written in 2000, the Tale of the Teddies, by Beatrix Rabbit, with family, friends and guests.
Also in Suffolk, events at Glastonbury Court and Mildenhall Lodge saw Alan Jones visit a second Care UK home and the local community invited to join residents for a morning of word play and rhyming fun.
Other events in East Anglia included residents at Cavell Court in Cringleford welcoming school children from Cringleford Primary School for an afternoon of poetry reading as part of their celebrations, while residents at Field Lodge in St. Ives marked the day by reading and writing poems. They were also visited by drama students from St. Ivo School for a performance of the pupils’ favourite poems.
In Essex, residents at Silversprings were delighted to be joined by local group, Poetrywivenhoe, who performed a number of their favourite rhymes, residents at Manor Lodge in Chelmsford were thrilled to spend an afternoon with students from Moulsham Sixth Form for an afternoon of rhyme, and Year 6 pupils from Richard de Clare Primary School joined in the fun at Colne View by presenting a handmade book of WWII-inspired poems to residents.
Elsewhere, Appleby House in Epsom was visited by pupils from Epsom Primary School, and resident Daphne was delighted to share poetry from her own published book of poems. Residents at Broadwater Lodge in Godalming and Weald Heights in Sevenoaks celebrated the day by reading and writing poems.
In Newbury, residents at Winchcombe Place marked the occasion with an afternoon of poetry reading and writing with children visiting from Happy Kids Nursery and Winchcombe Primary School. Sandfields in Cheltenham received a special visit from nursery school children for a morning of rhyming fun, and Knebworth care home in Woolmer Green hosted an afternoon of poetry with year five pupils from St. Michael’s Primary School. Residents also enjoyed a talk on the history of poetry, which was led by Hazel Bell and Diana Holt.
In the North, residents at Abney Court near Cheadle were joined by local pupils from Kingsway School, who spent the day with residents writing collaborative poems about their interests and hobbies. Residents at Tor-Na-Dee in Aberdeen celebrated the work of resident Alexander “Sandy” Donald, a published poet, whose work was shared with the team, fellow residents and visitors, while in Edinburgh, Lauder Lodge residents and pupils from Towerbank Primary School put pen to paper to write their own poems and lyrics.
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: careuk.com/Easy_as_ABC.pdf
Every year, World Poetry Day encourages children, teens, and adults to celebrate the power of rhythmic literature and promote the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry to all people.