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Care home sets shining example

PUBLISHED: 16:12 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 12:44 20 May 2010

OTHER people's inventiveness is a constant source of wonder to me.

I heard about a simple, but brilliant, idea last week which could have so many applications for each of us.

OTHER people's inventiveness is a constant source of wonder to me.

I heard about a simple, but brilliant, idea last week which could have so many applications for each of us.

It's an initiative carried out at Aylsham Manor care home where, as in all good homes, staff are constantly striving to improve the quality of life for elderly residents.

I was putting some of the general concerns about homes to Aylsham Manor owner Denise Denis, and asked about benign neglect - we're all aware of reports nationally about elderly people being “dumped” in a chair in front of the telly all day.

Denise was explaining how it can happen in some homes because coping with the purely physical needs of residents was very time consuming for staff.

At Aylsham Manor they use a red T-shirt to tackle this problem.

Once a week a member of staff puts on the T-shirt and other staff and residents know that they must not ask the wearer to take anyone to the loo, get drinks, fetch or carry etc.

For two hours the sole function of the red T-shirt wearer is to talk with residents.

I hasten to add that while I was at the Manor plenty of chatting was going on, among a range of activities; communication certainly isn't confined to those red T-shirt moments, but the initiative ensures that dedicated time is given to this vital part of everyone's wellbeing.

Couldn't we all do with a couple of hours of red T-shirt time in our lives?

Just imagine putting it on mums and, magically, nobody is allowed to pester you about what's for dinner, why their jeans haven't been washed, and please could you run them down to the station?

I know what's going to be top of my Christmas list this year.


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