By Julie Gouldstone of Rosevale Court Aged Care ©Dementia Care International
Julie shares news of their masked ball – a fabulous opportunity for reminiscence and fun.
One afternoon I was dancing with one of our dementia residents, “Bert”, a frail, older gentleman. I marvelled at his dancing ability and the great delight on his face, even though I repeatedly stepped on his toes! Amidst lots of laughter, we began reminiscing about the dances he and his wife used to attend, and I saw pride and love sparkle in his tired, old eyes. This started me wondering how long it had been since he, and indeed all our dementia residents, had experienced an opportunity to dance with a partner.
Thus, the idea of a ball was born – a wonderful way to spark enjoyable memories.
With Senior’s Week coming up, it was decided to hold the ball then and; just for the novelty effect, I decided to stage a masked ball. All of the ladies loved chatting about the beautiful frocks they used to wear and all remembered their favourite dances. How the memories flowed. Invitations were sent and entertainment organised. Excitement over the upcoming ball began to spread, and soon relatives, volunteers and staff alike all became involved
Lots of fun was enjoyed making the masks using cardboard, sparkles, feathers, jewels and ribbons. We had tiaras for the ladies and colourful bow ties for the men. On the day of the ball the unit was festooned with balloons, streamers and flowers and everyone dressed in their very best clothes.
What a perfect day it was; sons danced with mothers; husbands danced with wives and daughters with fathers. As I looked around the room, I could see enjoyment shining on the faces of all present and, for our residents, the rekindling of an old spark. We finished the day with a delicious feast of finger foods and a few glasses of punch; then a well earned rest! We received such positive feedback from all involved that we are now aiming to make the ball an annual event.