Where all of your wishes can come true

Care home staff turn dreams into re­al­ity for res­i­dents

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Niki Ten­nant

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

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