WW11 secretary’s new lease of life

Katie Brewster and Peter Priednieks launch the Butterfly Project at Hastings Court SUS-160518-154024001
Katie Brewster and Peter Priednieks launch the Butterfly Project at Hastings Court SUS-160518-154024001

Work at the War Office during World War II has been recreated for one special lady at a Hastings care home, as part of its project to become a centre of excellence in dementia care.

Hastings Court care home on The Ridge has launched a year-long commitment to become the first ‘Butterfly’ care home in the county.

WWII secretary Theresa at her typewriter with her key worker, Silvio Gabor SUS-160518-154036001

WWII secretary Theresa at her typewriter with her key worker, Silvio Gabor SUS-160518-154036001

The project will see management and staff trained in the Butterfly approach to dementia, which focuses on person-centred care and wellbeing. As part of the scheme, rooms are being designed to reflect residents’ past lives and the things they enjoy, and staff on the floor wear their own clothes rather than uniforms to help create a family-type atmosphere.

Theresa, aged 92, has lived at Hastings Court for 18 months. A retired secretary for the War Office, the walls next to her room are being redecorated to resemble where she used to work. Memorabilia such as a desk, a telephone, files and a typewriter trigger memories of a time when she was very productive and felt great responsibility, giving her purpose in her day and a sense of achievement.

Theresa’s nephew, Adam, says the family think it’s a great idea. “We never thought to set up such a space for Aunt Theresa but seeing her so engrossed in what she is doing - even if it’s just loading paper into her typewriter - it seems such an obvious thing to do,” he said. “The staff here are so supportive and get involved with all of us so we all feel included in making life the best it can be for my aunt.”

The second floor of Hastings Court will also be transformed with dedicated lounges for people at different stages in their dementia which will make day-to-day life more fulfilling.

Hastings Court recently launched the project to residents, families, health and social care professionals and members of the public. Among them was resident, Fred Day, whose wife, Sheila, lives on the second floor. “Dementia needs to be brought to the forefront,” he said. “Sheila is wonderfully cared for here but there are many places where people with dementia are forgotten. I think the Butterfly Project is a wonderful idea.”

Manager, Katie Brewster, says there is a growing demand in Hastings for dementia care and they want to offer the best care and the best environment. “The Butterfly project is about seeing each person as an individual,” she said. “About bringing colour into people’s lives and allowing them to live as they want to live.

“We know that families need to feel their relatives are living well with dementia and we are passionate about enabling them to do so. Achieving Butterfly status will impact on the home as a whole so everyone will see the benefits, whether they have dementia or not.”