So here’s a little story – not quite about dementia – but definitely about memories …
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Blackpool Illuminations Switch On. Hollywood film director Tim Burton had been invited to switch the lights on – given the honour after filming ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ in the town during the year. The Vamps were headlining the show, which has now become a family festival week-end. I had been truly looking forward to this event, remembering visits to the illuminations as a child, fish and chips in newspaper, the smell of the sea air and the bright colours against the dark night sky. I found myself stirring up fond memories of a time when I attended the Switch On ceremony some years ago when my father, a man passionate about of his seaside home town and community, proudly held the position of Mayor of Blackpool.
And this time brought touch of anxiety; confronting roadworks and road blocks as I drove my daughter, Little Boots, and her band along a mile of tram tracks before we could approach a heavily guarded backstage entrance. With time running short, instruments to load, make-up to smooth, jackets to press, access area badges to collect, sounds to check and a member of the team on the missing list, I hadn’t even contemplated the evening ahead.
The 20,000 strong audience enjoyed the sounds of Lawson, Only the Young, Professor Green and of course Little Boots, whilst waiting for the famous switch to be flicked, another bright light in the shape of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, home-style consultant and Blackpool illumination’s creative curator appeared, posing handsomely for some press shots.
Would it be too much of a play on words to say: ‘This is when I had my light-bulb moment … ‘
Yes, I admit, I did ask Laurence for a photograph together. Yes, he obliged. And yes, I managed to burble some key words: Happy Days – Nostalgic Rooms – Residential Care Homes – Hospitals – Dementia Cafes …
So Laurence, here’s what I was trying to say: I am inviting you help me to encourage residential care homes, care services or cafes to create nostalgic environments and materials to help elderly and people living with dementia to live well. Prompting memories can instigate meaningful conversations and encourage interaction for well-being.
Everything’s ready to go at Happy Days HQ. My Happy Days direct line is 07971-953620.
Let’s make some care homes, residents and care teams very happy.