Successful dementia project sees Hitchin care home couple’s mock wedding!

PUBLISHED: 12:50 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:02 19 May 2017

Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project. Picture: Melissa Page.

Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project. Picture: Melissa Page.

Archant

A care home in Hitchin has been doing their bit to help raise awareness of dementia – by holding a ‘mock’ wedding in order to prompt elderly residents memories – ahead of this week’s national Dementia Awareness Week.

Milford Lodge, Hitchin SG4 9AL. Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project, to rekindle residents memories.
Bride Eme Cameron greeting residents at the care home.
Picture: Melissa Page.Milford Lodge, Hitchin SG4 9AL. Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project, to rekindle residents memories. Bride Eme Cameron greeting residents at the care home. Picture: Melissa Page.

Milford Lodge Care Home in Priory End staged a pretend wedding – complete with bridge and groom who are engaged in real life. ‘Bride’ Eme Cameron, and ‘groom’ Jordan Pike, looking resplendent in a wedding dress and morning suit arrived in a vintage Ferrari.

The day was intended to jog memories of the wedding days of many of the home’s residents as part of a dementia project launched by Milford Lodge.

Kate Peto, marketing manager at Milford Lodge, told the Comet: “It was a wonderful event. It was phenomenal. We’ve been planning it like a real wedding since Christmas. A lot of people here have put in a lot of hard work.

“We’re like one big family here.”

Milford Lodge, Hitchin SG4 9AL. Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project, to rekindle residents memories.
Left to right: Engagement Lead Kate Peto talking to resident Pat Stevens.
Picture: Melissa Page.Milford Lodge, Hitchin SG4 9AL. Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project, to rekindle residents memories. Left to right: Engagement Lead Kate Peto talking to resident Pat Stevens. Picture: Melissa Page.

Blushing bride Eme is a senior carer at the home, with her mum being the care home manager Sue Jarvis. Terry Jones, father of the bride, is a maintenance man with Jordan’s best man also working as a carer and deputy care home manager Vicky Wareham acting as a bridesmaid.

Kate added: “Eme – who’s a wonderful carer and Jordan looked the part. They actually tried to get a slot at the registry office straight after but unfortunately it was full – otherwise they would have got ‘married’ twice in a day!

“It was such a wonderful atmosphere. It was exactly like a real wedding. Our cooks provided a beautiful three course meal. There were speeches and a wedding cake – along with decorations and flowers. Every resident was also given a gift.

“It created a unique atmosphere.

Milford Lodge, Hitchin SG4 9AL. Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project, to rekindle residents memories.
Guests, Residents and staff await the arrival of the bride and groom.
Picture: Melissa Page.Milford Lodge, Hitchin SG4 9AL. Milford Lodge holding a wedding as part of their dementia care project, to rekindle residents memories. Guests, Residents and staff await the arrival of the bride and groom. Picture: Melissa Page.

“One of the nicest comments we had was from a resident who said they’d been to plenty of wedding in their time – and our one was better than most of them!

“It’s been fantastic. Even the build-up to the wedding has been fantastic.”

The idea started as a memory project to help jog the memories of residents with dementia through a display of their own wedding pictures.

With many of the people now living in the home tying the knot immediately after the Second World War rationing was still in place and fabric was in short supply.

A resident explained to Kate how the lining in her wedding dress was made of a parachute which could have been used by a paratrooper during the war. Not wanting to waste anything the woman then made the dress into a night gown.

Kate added: “The day was a celebration of our resident’s own wedding days. We wanted them to share their experiences and the ‘wedding’ really prompted a lot of long-forgotten memories of their own. The event really got so many of our residents to open up.

“They were really keen to. A lot of people actually thought it was a real wedding bless them. It was just a wonderful day.

“A big well done to everyone concerned including maintenance man Terry – a man of many talents and who has infinite patience working with all the women here!

“We’re so glad it all came together. We really are like one big family here.”

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