Finally, says Jan Millward, we can get outside and hopefully enjoy unlimited outdoor exercise. May is usually a month of settled weather, and now is the time to get out and properly enjoy some fresh air and fun.
TOP TIP: Keep a photographic record of wildflowers and wildlife that you have spotted in your area, such as these lovely pink campion flowers.
1st May: This is traditionally the day we celebrate the official arrival of spring. Many countries have their own rituals, and we are all familiar with maypoles and morris dancing. It is possible to hire portable maypoles, or ask your local school or music therapists if they have one you can hire for the day.
There are many regional variations of celebrations, but I particularly like this one from Cambridge. Young girls would go May dolling where they would dress their dolls up and go around villages collecting pennies. This is the song they would sing:
Sing a song of May-time.
Sing a song of Spring.
Flowers are in their beauty.
Birds are on the wing.
May time, play time.
God has given us May time.
Thank Him for His gifts of love.
Sing a song of Spring.
Have a go at making peg dolls in a crafts session. Instructions here. It is a great opportunity to reminisce about old toys and games as well.
Use the time to sing old rhymes such as Michael Finnegan and In and Out the Dusky Bluebells. Singing these old rhymes to residents in their rooms may stir memories as well.
When the weather is warm enough, open the windows and let in some fresh air. When the lawn has been mown, take in a handful of grass cuttings and reminisce about the sights and smells of spring.
Make strawberry milkshakes and talk about picking those early strawberries and how sweet they taste.
The Chelsea Flower Show
This year, The Chelsea Flower Show has been postponed until September, but May is the perfect time to get your residents out in the fresh air and planning what to plant. Try and think of something different this year. You may want to plant up a display for the front doors, as well as outside residents’ rooms where possible.
How about planting blue and white flower displays in honour of the staff who work so hard in the ICUs in our hospitals (these are also the Alzheimer’s Society colours)? Or purple flowers to mark the hard work of the Purple Angels, blue and yellow for Dementia Friends or pink and blue for Dementia UK?
And don’t forget…
12th May: Florence Nightingale was born on 12th May 1820.
The whole care industry has lived through an extraordinary year. Celebrate the birth of one of our most famous nurses by throwing a picnic on the lawn (or inside if wet) in honour of all the staff in your home.
Get your residents to make posies of flowers as a small gift for the staff or ice them all a little cake. Take the time to reflect on how you have all coped and finish up with a good old-fashioned sing-song!
12th May: Eid ul Fitr also starts today. This is a Muslim festival that marks the end of Ramadan and is cause for great celebrations in the Muslim community. Have Indian food and music, and maybe some Bollywood films too. You could also have a go at making silhouette pictures to decorate your home. Instructions here.