Creative Cupid Pair Design Monthly Displays For Residents To Enjoy

At Perrins House, the nursing home which is part of charity Friends of the Elderly’s Malvern-based residential, nursing and dementia care homes which are collectively known as Friends of the Elderly Malvern; residents have been marvelling at a specially designed Valentine’s display, which has been lovingly created by Vanda Jenkins and Dawn Barnes, two of the care home’s Domestic Team.

Dawn and Vanda – who between them have worked at Perrins House for over 26 years – design and create the displays each month to help keep the residents engaged and interested in seasonal subjects and topical, interesting themes. “We design our displays based on lots of criteria,” said Vanda. “Our displays focus on many different themes and subject matter. They can be seasonal, relate to awareness days, be based on a specific topic or highlight a favourite pastime. The ideas Dawn and I have are endless but are all tailored to intrigue and engage our residents.”

Commenting on their highly anticipated exhibits, Dawn, the Poet of the duo said: “Vanda and I thoroughly enjoy getting our creative juices flowing and creating the displays. Our residents really look forward to seeing what we have come up with each month and it’s great to hear what they think of them. I compose and write all the poems myself, keeping our residents at the forefront of my thinking and taking my inspiration from everywhere and everyday life.”

“The displays sometimes evoke memories or bring to mind a story from our residents’ pasts. It’s so heartwarming to hear their stories and know that they enjoy our displays so much and engage with all the elements on show,” added Vanda. 

Dawn continued: “For this year’s Valentine’s display I penned the following poem….

A day to celebrate affection and love,

To see a winged Cupid and a Dove.

Give your loved a card, gift or a Red Rose,

Or a heart-shaped chocolate and maybe propose.

It is said to be associated with love birds of early spring,

So be romantic and give your loved one a diamond ring.

And remember, Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, 

Honey is sweet and so are you.

“The displays are situated outside Perrins House’s dining room, where the residents are able to see it at any time. There’s always someone there admiring them,” added Selena Whittaker, the Activities Coordinator at Perrins House.

“Our residents are the inspiration behind each display,” continued Dawn. “During 2023, we actually did 18 displays. The favourites were our Beach display, the Animal Park display and, of course, Christmas. The Beach display got everyone chatting about their favourite holidays and beach tales – one resident even said he’d had his chips stolen by a gang of seagulls when he visited the South Coast. Another resident told us how she had taken her children to the Zoo and later to a Safari Park but didn’t like how the monkeys had broken the window screen wipers on her car.”

“The displays are an imaginative and artistic reminiscing aid and it’s so encouraging and pleasing to hear and see the positive reactions from our residents,” continued Jo Bennett, the General Manager at Friends of the Elderly. 

“The idea to introduce the regular and varied displays and poems was 100% down to Dawn and Vanda,” added Selena. “The displays have really gained momentum and some of the residents now enjoy making elements for the displays in their arts and crafts classes, which is a great interaction and stimulation for them.”

We decided to create the displays to give our residents an additional talking point and more visual stimulation and they seem to enjoy so that’s great,” added Dawn. “Our next displays are focusing on spring,” continued Yanda. “We will also do Easter and Mothering Sunday displays, oh and The Perrins House Teddy Bear’s Picnic, which should raise a few laughs and bring lots of smiles.”