SIXTY walkers representing 26 HICA care homes and schemes from across the country met up in the grounds of the Albemarle Care Home, Hedon to take part in a sponsored walk (along the old Hull to Withernsea railway track) to Keyingham and back on Saturday morning.
The walkers had each obtained sponsorship in their respective areas and aimed to complete the 10 mile hike in order to raise money for two specialist Dementia Pods. “The pods are pop-up reminiscence rooms,” explained HICA’s Chief Executive Officer Penni Brown, “they allow us to create a therapeutic and calming environment for people living with dementia and let us recreate familiar sights and scenes that help a person reconnect with their own past.
“The fact that the pods are portable, means that all our homes will be able to obtain the benefits from using them.”
The pods were popularised by the BBC in 2013 after the concept received the backing of entrepreneurs Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden from the Dragons’ Den programme. The pods come in a range of broad themes but each providing enjoyable and therapeutic activity that can change and enhance quality of life for people living with dementia.
“We’ve still got to decide based upon the money we raise which two pod themes we actually get,” said Penni “but I’m keen that one of them is a ‘workshop’ theme aimed particularly at men with dementia. Whilst there are lots of stimulating craft activities traditionally for women, there’s not always a lot particularly geared towards men, so a theme that recreates the garden shed or the garage would help staff build even better relationships with the men who use our services.”
The walkers were in good spirits as they set off in staggered intervals in smaller separate self-supporting contingent groups. Leading one of the groups was Hedon Albemarle’s Activities Coordinator Agnes Murray who was delighted that many residents at Albermarle were watching the curious gathering of walkers through the windows of the activity area. “It’s a bit cold so they’ve chosen to watch from the comfort of indoors – but they didn’t want to miss the start!” she said.
The sponsored walk is expected to raise enough to cover the full costs of two dementia pods and associated reminiscence products each costing approximately £2,000.
The walk had been organised as part of the HICA Group’s Shine Initiative which pledges to ‘make a difference’ to the lives of the people they support.