Where all of your wishes can come true
Care home staff turn dreams into reality for residents
They may seem like tiny acorns when residents of a Rutherglen care home post the seeds of their small dreams on the branches of a wish tree.
But when care home staff go out of their way to make sure these simple wishes come true, for residents, they then become as big as oaks.
A tall, white tree stands at the reception of the David Walker Gardens care home and to it are pinned paper clouds and photographs of the people who live there.
On the clouds are written requests from residents who dream of doing a simple thing that will, for them, become a new and cherished memory.
After 82-year-old Fred Honeyman pinned on the tree his wish to see a live orchestra, staff at the care home got to work to make his dream come true.
And next Sunday, Fred and seven other residents, along with eight members of staff, will be among the audience at the Royal Concert Hall for A West End Christmas – a performance of musical favourites, from Les Misérables to Jersey Boys, in full orchestral sound.
“It will be a fabulous wee day, full of glitz and glamour,” said social care worker, Nicky Springett.
For 79-year-old Alice Hannah, her wish is simple: she’d like to visit a nearby park with her family, followed by a coffee and a cake.
Fellow David Walker Gardens resident Jimmy Monaghan, 84, has pinned his own request to the wish tree: to watch from the stands as his favourite team, Celtic, wins a match, and to celebrate at full time with a pint.
“It gives the service users something to look forward to,” said Nicky, who first introduced the wish tree concept when she worked at at Kirkton House Care Home in Blantyre.
“We tell them they do not come in here and stop living. They come here to continue living.”
The tree at the home’s entrance is not just for Christmas wishes, as Nicky explained. It helps make dreams come true all year round.
“When someone’s wish is granted, another goes on in its place,” she said.
“We do our own internal audit to make sure wishes are granted fairly and evenly. We also like to involve their families in their wish, so that the families still take a wee bit of ownership.”
One gentleman had posted on the wish tree that he’d like to go fishing.
When he became unwell and was not mobile enough to fulfil his dream, staff arranged for the next best thing: they bought fish for the care home’s pond and invited him to release them into the water.
Among the other wishes that have come true for residents at the McCallum Avenue facility is a spa day, and a trip to the cinema, followed by a slap-up lunch.
And for those residents with limited mobility, favourite movies are screened especially for them in the care home’s cinema room.
Other requests that staff have helped to make happen include themed parties that transport residents back to the 1920s, 30s, 40s - and even the 80s.
And last summer, they responded to residents’ request for a trip to the seaside by taking two bus loads to Troon for a walk along the sand and promenade and an ice cream at Nardini’s.
“Some of the wishes are as simple as getting out and spending time with their family,” continued Nicky.
“No matter how simple, they are special nonetheless.”
Wonderful idea David Walker Gardens senior social care worker Nickey Springett, back left, with colleagues, residents and family members beside the wish tree