Elderflowers Visit Braeside House

Posted: 26/11/2013 | Care for Older People,

Residents at Braeside House are being entertained on a fortnightly basis by two jolly characters this autumn – Blossom Elderflower and Honeybunch. Wearing red noses and brightly coloured clothes, Blossom and Honeybunch use a combination of improvisation, puppetry, music and plenty of humour.

But they are not only there to make the residents laugh.

The Elderflowers is a scheme run by charity Hearts and Minds. It targets older people with dementia in hospitals and residential care across Scotland with a goal of reaching the person behind the illness.

Hearts and Minds representative Pip Quinn explains: “The people who the Elderflowers come into contact with have a range of complex issues. Some are isolated, while others aren’t sure who or where they are and frequently become confused. Since launching the scheme in 2001 we’ve had some fantastic results. For example, during a visit to one of the ten hospitals and care units that we work in, our performers met a man who hadn’t communicated with staff or visitors for a long time. They started chatting about picnics, and suddenly he chimed in to say that you should put ground black pepper on fresh strawberries as it really brings out the flavour!”

As well as their many impromptu corridor sing-alongs, the Elderflowers also hold playful, witty performances for larger audiences in Braeside House’s purpose built rooms. By taking the time to walk around the house and visit residents in living spaces and private areas the performers can reach out to the people who need their help most: for example residents who don’t get many visitors, or who are not able to participate in the many regularly scheduled activities and outings run by Braeside House staff.

“The visits mean a lot to the residents, but they also mean a lot to us too!” says deputy matron Morag Francis. “A lot of the people who Rachel and Ian work with can be quite hard to reach, so seeing them brighten up and begin to interact is incredibly rewarding for everyone involved.”

Find out more about the Elderflowers on the Hearts and Minds website.

Read more about Braeside House, our purpose built care home for older people who are registered blind or partially sighted.