An artist has enlisted the help of some unusual assistants for her latest piece - residents at the care home where she works. April Towriess, who is also the activities coordinator for the Fairway View care home, is supporting Dementia Awareness Week and using her background in yarn art to create a community-wide project.
She has had help from residents at the care home, who she calls her ‘forget-me-not warriors’ to knit and crochet flowers to create a mural which will be displayed at the front of their building, which looks out onto Bulwell Forest golf course. Over the week more of residents’ work will be added to the floral arrangement which depicts the Alzheimer’s UK forget-me-not flower.
The Bulwell-based artist hopes to raise awareness about the importance of stimulating the minds of dementia patients to keep them engaged. April said: “My preconceived idea of dementia was that it made people angry, frustrated and violent which isn’t the case.
“That only happens when their needs are not being met. They’re still people with pasts and we’re trying to maintain their dignity and self-worth.”
Fairway View is currently home to 46 people, many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s and find joy in arts and crafts activities run by the staff. The ‘knit and natter’ club is a weekly triumph as well as bingo and music sessions.
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Dorothy Hunter, 91, is one of the residents helping in the effort to compile nearly two-hundred wool flowers into a piece of ‘craftivism’ for the community to see. The mum-of-one has always crocheted for family and friends and is happy she can continue her hobby within the home.
She said: “Crocheting was always more me. I was a messy knitter. I crocheted matinee jackets for my granddaughter when she was a baby but the best thing I’ve ever made was a grey waistcoat that’s still in my wardrobe here.
“It’s exciting that our work is being displayed for everyone to see.”
Brenda Walton, 93, has also been helping the project by sewing together bunches of the flowers and making pom-poms. She worked as a bank clerk for 25 years and knitted many of her own jerseys and cardigans for work.
She said: “My favourite things to do are knit and play bingo. Today I’m happy to be sat in the sun, sewing these beautiful flowers together and enjoying the company.”
As well as the craft activities, the coordinators also organise reminisce sessions where those suffering with dementia can listen to music and look at pictures from their past to stimulate their memory.
April added: “I’m hoping that by the end of Dementia Action Week we’ll have created something very impressive which will catch people’s eye as they approach the home.”