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Residents at our Westall House care home and housing complex in Horsted Keynes spent the month of August on a trip of a lifetime, travelling around the world from the comfort of their arm chairs visiting a total of 6 continents, 12 countries and 4 U.S states across the 31 days.
Setting sail on the 1st of August armed with their own passport, residents spent the month visiting different countries, with events and activities taking place within the home that were themed around that particular country’s history, food and culture.
"It was a fantastic idea," said a family member of a resident. "When we are all heading off on holiday it is lovely to know that my Dad is enjoying his own imaginary break."
The residents began their journey in style, with a delicious feast of food from around the world accompanied by a glass of fizz, all from the comfort of their own dining room. From there, they visited Spain, enjoying a themed Spanish lunch and afternoon of entertainment from Flamenco dancers. There was also a reminiscence session that focused on past holidays in Spain; a destination that has been very popular among residents over the years.
"It was lovely that all the residents really got on board (no pun intended) with the whole idea," said Heather Rogers, our Activites Coordinator who was the brains behind the whole initiative. "One resident was asked if he would be at the quiz that afternoon and he replied ‘If I am not too sea sick!’"
After Spain the residents went a little further afield, immersing themselves in Egyptian culture with a talk about the facts and fiction of Egypt and an African food tasting session. In India, they enjoyed a chair-based slow yoga class followed by a well-earned Indian lunch and a film afternoon, where they watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
One resident Dido said that "the sheer originality was great and very enjoyable, I am still looking at all the stamps in my passport now!" While Tony thought the whole thing was "wonderful, and extremely imaginative."
Following on from this, they did a whistle-stop tour of China with an afternoon of Chinese brush painting and a delicious Chinese meal. In Australia, they enjoyed talks from a guest speaker and tried their hand at a spot of aboriginal dot painting.
The penultimate week of their round the world trip started in the USA, which kicked off with a celebration of the glitz and glam of Hollywood at their Hooray for Hollywood party. Residents, staff, volunteers and guests dressed to the nines as everyone came together to enjoy a fantastic night of delicious food, fantastic live music and of course a tipple or two.
This was a top moment of the month for Jemma, Registered Manager at Westall House. "Seeing all the staff, residents and relatives dressed up and coming together for a wonderful evening was priceless, at the end of the evening everyone was up and dancing and singing, we even had a bit of wheelchair dancing!"
They explored the wild wild west with a morning of fun facts before finishing off their tour of the USA in Hawaii, where everyone enjoyed dancing to Hawaiian music before enjoying some delicious colourful cocktails.
"I enjoyed every minute of it," said resident Ron. "We would like to do it again next year!"
Finally, it was time to finish the fantastic trip in South America, where residents’ knowledge of the vast and diverse continent was put to the test in a fun-filled quiz. They enjoyed watching Disney’s Rio at their Saturday film afternoon before a dance around the lounge to some traditional South American music.
The trip finished in deepest, darkest Peru where Samuel Joslin - who plays Jonathan Brown in the Paddington films - paid a visit to the home and joined them at their Paddington tea party. Local children and Grandchildren joined in too, with everyone enjoying a picnic, plenty of delicious homemade cake and of course, some marmalade sandwiches.