September marks the return to school for many children after the long summer holiday, and it might feel a bit like that in your care home too, says Jan Millward…
Team up with your kitchen staff to recreate some of your residents’ favourite foods associated with school dinners. You could have a tasting session or include them on the menu for a week. Think jam roly poly, spotted dick or apple pie and custard. Try tasting semolina and tapioca – does it remind any of your residents of frogspawn?! Or reminisce about prunes and custard when prunes came with stones.
September also marks the traditional start of preserving food for winter. You could have a go at a no-cook apple chutney recipe, top and tail gooseberries or shell peas and beans for the freezer.
You can also find a lot of lovely school days memories here to help with reminiscence sessions.
GANESH CHATURTHI (10 September)
Beginning on 10th September and continuing for 11 days, Ganesh Chaturthi is a huge festival in India – and across the world – and it honours the birth of the Hindu god Lord Ganesh.
This is the elephant-headed god who is supposed to bring good fortune and remove obstacles. Use this time to think about the months ahead and ask residents what activities or things are on their wish list. Can you make a note of them all and plan to work through their bucket lists this autumn?
The festival is celebrated with many large statues, many of which are beautifully and intricately decorated as well as lots of feasting and music.
As with any other religious festival, this is a great time to try something new…
Elephant Creativity – Have a fun art class painting pictures of elephants – it is easy to source pictures online, but see how creative your group can be!
Traditionally Hindus make models of elephants out of clay. Have a go yourself with either plasticine or air dry clay which is wonderful to handle.
You could also make an elephant out of a milk carton. The handle makes a natural trunk. Cut out the shape beforehand and then use your imagination to decorate it!
Henna Hand Art – You don’t have to paint henna on to hands if you don’t want to. Henna can sometimes cause skin irritation, so please take care, or do a spot test first. Instead, you could find some allergy-friendly face paints, or simply draw around your resident’s hand on a piece of white card, show them examples of henna art and encourage them to design their own art.
When they’ve finished, cut out the hand shapes and display them all on a board.
Making Batik – Draw your own batik styles based on traditional Indian patterns. Or make your own batik using melted wax and colours. Residents can display them in their rooms.
OTHER SEPTEMBER DATES
6-8 September – Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
7 September – Buddy Holly Birthday
10-19 September – Jane Austen Festival
11 September – Last Night of the Proms
19 September – Birthday of George Cadbury