Greeting residents in their first language
We are proud to offer a home that strengthens the cultural identity of residents, relatives and staff. We found that simply greeting someone or understanding an expression of discomfort in Welsh can make a huge difference to the resident’s care.
We offer Welsh activities, entertainment, conversation and literature for the residents on themes of: food, history, legends, clothes, holidays, eisteddfods and more. In the sessions residents have varied reactions with different levels of engagement: some will enjoy the Welsh conversation and participate in the whole session whilst others may only respond on hearing the Welsh hymns for example. We adapt the session to the needs of the residents, sometimes spending a short time one to one with residents who choose not to join the group session.
Welsh language development training for staff has been well received, this weekly training gives staff the confidence to try out new skills and support each other. One resident who lives with Dementia and has Welsh as a first language helps staff who are learning Welsh.
Welsh sessions are used for reminiscence and importantly to gather stories that inform us of the people we care for. One resident who prefers to stay in his room most days will attend the Welsh sessions and share his experiences of choirs and his younger years. Whilst living with short term memory loss he continues to recall events from his past with clarity. He also enjoyed a trip to a local Eisteddfod in Maesteg with other residents, where he enthusiastically recalled the days when he entered the Eisteddfod as a child. This was all made possible by respecting cultural needs and encouraging the sharing of stories in Welsh.
Diana Purnell is the registered manager of Foxtroy House in South Wales