Malmesbury Lawn Staff Group

Residents with dementia at a care home in Havant, Hampshire are reaping the benefits of film nights, garden walks and attractive new flower beds thanks to the work of a group of dedicated staff.

Staff at the Malmesbury Lawn home wanted to improve people's quality of life by adding more variety to their daily routine. Although they already provided a choice at mealtimes and allowed residents to choose their clothes every morning, they were eager to do more.

The group worked on three projects simultaneously and has achieved excellent results. Residents now have a safe, enclosed garden to walk around and can stop off for a cup of tea and a chat; a potting shed has been erected and new raised beds mean residents can plant flowers and vegetables. At the movie nights in the home's 'Roxy' cinema, ice cream is served during the interval.

Families as well as residents are benefiting from the improvements, say staff. The garden has encouraged family members - many of whom find it difficult to come to terms with a close relative's condition - to re-build their confidence in spending time with their loved one.

Above all, families remark on the friendliness and warmth of staff. "Nothing is too much trouble," said one relative. "They are all very tactile which is just the comfort and reassurance that people with Alzheimer's need. They spend a lot of their time when not being paid to organise and run activities.

"Even before mum moved in we knew that she would be well looked after. But the staff have exceeded expectations. In the sad circumstances of admitting mum to a home, this is the best thing that could have happened to our family."