Oakdale thanks community

Toni Usmar and Oakdale resident Doug check out the new ‘barnyard’ area at the open day.

Ultimate Care Cambridge Oakdale’s newly renovated dementia unit opened its doors to the public on Tuesday to showcase the new wares as well as thank the community for their contributions toward the project.

Activities coordinator Toni Usmar kicked off the project almost two months ago in an endeavour to brighten up the dementia unit and rest home.

“I felt that it was a bit drab, it wasn’t stimulating enough for their needs, and then I also just wanted to take it back, so that there’s things throughout the facility to talk about, it encourages conversation reminiscence, taking them back to special times that they had,” Toni said.

New vibrant colours on the walls and doors not only brighten the place but also help residents find their way around, and framed photos from their generation’s younger years bring back fond memories.

A post on the Cambridge Grapevine Facebook page sparked a flood of donations from the community towards the project, from teapots, china cups, plates and picture frames to don the interior, through to bikes, drums and tyres for outside – painted bright colours and planted with beautiful flowers to transform the grassy area. Beautifully decorated orange walls bring a therapeutic sense of calm and cheerfulness in the dining area, and a black board wall enables residents and staff to leave quotes, pictures and even play noughts and crosses.

“We gone a bit novel with bits and pieces, which was great, because the reaction from the residents was awesome, there was a lot of laughter, they were really taken back with it all,” said Toni. “We’ve done a whole lot, it’s been a very busy time.”

There are also now various themed areas to stimulate residents; an old-school teaching area, telephones from yesteryear, a barnyard scene and even a London train station segment.

Facility Manager Soraya Martin said the open day was all about saying ‘thank you’ to locals who contributed towards the project. “We were really fortunate that a lot of the community gave to us, so really the ‘open home’ is a thank you to them, so they can actually see where their bits and pieces have been utilized.”

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