Staff and residents at The Beeches Summer Beach Party

A Northfield residential home held a Summer Beach Party yesterday for its residents and their friends and relatives to coincide with Dementia Awareness Week.

Deputy Manager Sue Keaney helps residents collect their ice creams

Enjoying a timely change in the weather, staff and residents donned grass skirts and leis and enjoyed a summer party atmosphere with music, raffle, face-in-the-hole beach scene photos,  a visit from a whipped ice-cream van and drinks served from a palm tree ice bath.

The Beeches opened in Frankley Beeches Road in January 2011 on the site of the Dingle pub which had been destroyed by fire. The home has 56 residents, including 16 in a secure Dementia Unit.

The walls of the comfortable home is adorned with old photographs prompting local memories of , for example, The Great Stone Inn and the production line at Austin.

Deputy manager Sue Keaney said that residents get to decide what activities, events and provisions they would like to see in their home during regular meetings with staff. Their latest venture is an old fashioned sweet shop which is set to open at a Jubilee garden party in June and the newest request being looked into is having a pet dog.

The Beeches welcomes community involvement and has regular visits from Longbridge police officers who chat to and play bingo with the residents, Councillor Andy Cartwright and local school children.

The beach party event coincided with the national Dementia Awareness Week which is organised by the Alzheimers Society.

Sue Keaney said that Dementia Awareness Week is really important and, as dementia affects so many people and families, people need to know more and have a better understanding.

Cllr Cartwright said: “It touches my heart because my mother suffered with dementia… she used to forget simple things. She’d spend an hour in a morning looking for her slippers, which she always left in the same place. I’m the youngest of seven so mom was cared for by her caring family. There are people who live on their own who haven’t got that support.”

If you or someone close to you suffers from dementia visit alzheimers.org.uk for  information and advice.

You can find details on The Beeches residential home on the Ideal Care Homes website.

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