Seevic students care about Dementia Week

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Clockwise from top left - Lois Newby, Beth Clark, Winnie Matcham and Betty SmithSix first year Health & Social Care students at Seevic College joined staff and residents at Oakdale Residential Home in Kiln Road, Benfleet, to help recognise Dementia Week 2014 on Wednesday 21 May.

Dementia Awareness Week runs between 18 and 24 May, and Oakdale has been organising some fantastic activities for their residents all week long. 

Oakdale is a specialist care centre for dementia sufferers. The majority of residents staying at the home have some form of dementia, and require varying levels of supervision in order to stay safe and comfortable.

After getting to know each other, the residents invited their young guests to get involved with some great icebreaking games. This was the first time many of the students had visited a nursing home environment - with two notable exceptions - and Oakland’s residents did a fantastic job of making them feel welcome.      

Lois Newby, 17 and former pupil of King John School, is one of the exceptions mentioned previously. She spent three weeks with Oakdale EMI/Residential Home, undertaking an unpaid work placement as part of her Level 3 BTEC in Health & Social Care.

Lois said: “I decided to take a work placement at Oakdale, even though it’s in a different field to the one I want to work in, because I wanted to learn how to interact with different people. I feel that I have learnt a lot in this respect; now I’m able to go up to people and talk to them, and I feel comfortable doing it.

“My course is challenging at times but, now I’m coming to the end of my first year, I’m happy that I am doing well and achieving what I want to achieve. I plan to go on to university when I finish at Seevic, and eventually become a paediatric nurse.”

"I plan to go on to university when I finish at Seevic, and eventually become a paediatric nurse.”

Beth Clark, 18 and former pupil of The Deanes School, also completed a work placement at Oakdale as part of her Level 3 Health and Social Care course. Beth said: “I really enjoyed working at Oakdale. I got to learn a lot about the people here, about their lives when they were younger and the things that they have done, and I learnt to think of them as more than just old people.”

“One of the great things about our course is that we get to work on a lot of different things, which gives us the chance to explore great opportunities like this. Now I’ve taken a job in another care home in Rayleigh, thanks to the experience I got working with Oakdale.”

Melanie Tucknott, Manager of Oakdale, was very pleased with the visiting students’ participation on the day, and invited them all to return whenever they had the chance. Melanie said: “It’s wonderful for us to have such nice young people around the place, and really fantastic for our residents.”

Melanie takes a very forward thinking approach to caring for her residents, and explained why we wouldn’t see a single member of her staff wearing a uniform: “We like to make sure that everyone feels at home here; whether you’re a resident, guest or member of staff. When staff arrive for an evening shift, they come in wearing their pyjamas; this is to help the residents understand that it’s night time.”

Melanie went on to say that Lois and Beth had been “a very good match for Oakdale”, and was happy to provide a glowing reference for Beth and consider Louis for a staff vacancy in Oakdale itself. 

Dementia Week is held to help raise awareness about the condition. There are around 800,000 dementia sufferers in the UK at the moment, with an estimated 400,000 suffering from the condition undiagnosed. Dementia is not actually a disease; it is really the umbrella term given to a number of symptoms that affect the brain caused by certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

We offer a range of Health & Social Care courses, including both BTECs and Apprenticeships; find out more about them at our next Open Evening, on Thursday 3 July from 5.30pm to 8pm. You can also call 01268 756 111 for more information. 

Click here to visit Oakdale's website (opens in a new window).

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