Exploring ideas of home and play in a dementia care environment

What does home mean when you have dementia? If you are a migrant from another country, culture, region, or city, does your sense of ‘home’ reside in childhood memories over and above those from where you live now? Can a care home ever feel like home? How might we introduce ideas of play and playfulness into the care home environment? These are some of the questions being tackled by two internationally-renowned artists recently appointed to work on a public art programme for local care home provider, Brunelcare.

The programme is being managed by Willis Newson and we are really excited to be working with Deirdre Nelson and Eamon O’Kane to create artworks for Saffron Gardens, a new dementia care home due to open in Whitehall, Bristol, at the end of 2012.

Deidre and Eamon had a fantastic first session in the existing care home, Saffron House, this month.  They will be spending time there over the summer to get to know residents and staff and find out how best to respond to their respective briefs.

Contemporary embroiderer Deidre Nelson is tasked with researching the idea of home in how it relates to people with dementia, and to translate this into a piece of art for the care home. She plans to spend her first few days there just knitting, observing and talking to people to see what happens.

Eamon O’Kane will be exploring how people with dementia might be encouraged to play and interact with the environment of the care home. Much of his gallery-based work has also explored ideas around play and interactivity.  Here he is tasked with applying these theoretical explorations to practical use in a care home.

We’ll post more these projects here when they are complete, or you can sign up for the Willis Newson newsletter to hear more of our news.


One thought on “Exploring ideas of home and play in a dementia care environment

  1. “An Evening with Dementia” is a play about an ageing actor who lives in a care home. It has been performed in numerous prestigious theatres, was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010 and 2012 and has also been used as an effective educational tool for the medical and caring professions.

    Please see a review by Prof. Lawrence C. Kaplan MD, ScM, FAAP in the British Medical Journal which can be read on our website http://www.aneveningwithdementia.co.uk.

    Maybe this play could contribute to your conferences or workshops.

    Your sincerely, Janet Westgath. Producer.

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