If wishes are realistic there’s a way to make them happen at any age

Muriel and home manager Charlene Beck ready for lift off

As we get older we shouldn’t give up on our wishes, even though advancing years can diminish some physical abilities. Rather than curtailing them we should focus on what age doesn’t prevent us doing and find a way to fulfil those wishes. That’s what care home residents are being supported to do by brighterkind, which runs an innovative “wishing well” scheme in all of its homes. The idea is to enable residents, within reason, to do something they have long wanted to do, or visit someone or somewhere special to them.

With “Make your dream come true day” taking place on Sunday 13 January 2019, it’s timely for brighterkind to highlight some of the wishes that have been made reality and to encourage people to think about their own wish that they would regret if they pass an opportunity to make it happen.

Thousands of people have had their wishes granted since brighterkind launched its scheme in 2016. Wishes may be ambitious or small. They may be to revisit the past or to experience something completely new, but the key thing is that they have special meaning to the person and being supported to make their wish happen brightens their life and makes them feel valued. Here are just a few examples:

Rosemary never lost her love of horses despite not having ridden for many years. The team at Ross Court Care Home in Ross on Wye arranged for her to ride again at a riding centre for people with disabilities. Rosemary said: “As soon as I got out of the car, the smell of the horses took me right back. I didn't want to wash that smell from my hands."

Jonathan Byrne presenting Joanna with a commemorative badge at Bletchley ParkJoanna was a “Bletchley girl”, one of the team at Britain’s secret WW2 code breaking centre, Bletchley Park, but she never received the commemorative badge that was awarded to the code breakers. Joanna, now in her 90s and living at Tewkesbury Fields Care Home was taken for a VIP day at Bletchley Park, where she was hosted for a tour and the care team arranged for her to finally be presented with her badge and certificate, some 70 years after the war.

Hugh, 95, who is a resident at Highfields Care Home near Nottingham, was taken to RAF Coningsby to revive memories of his time as a pilot officer in a Lancaster bomber, taking aerial photographs during WW2. He was taken on a tour of the museum and given exclusive access to some of the aircraft he had flown in. “I never thought I’d see a Lancaster again,” he said.

Hugh from Highfields at RAF Coningsby shows everybody his photographs from the war

Other wishes that have been granted for residents include a lady being whisked up, up and away on her first hot air balloon flight at 99-years; a long-standing fan of Burnley Football Club, aged 92, treated to a VIP day behind the scenes, together with his grandson; a fan of singer and TV personality Daniel O’Donnell receiving a signed poster and CD as a gift followed by a surprise personal call on her birthday, which she said was “ One of the best birthday presents I could have; a resident spending a day behind the scenes with staff in the department store where she first started work as a young girl; a resident performing  with a Scottish dance club and many people have been helped to learn to use PC tablets and Apps for the first time.

The wishing well scheme is part of brighterkind’s Magic Moments recreation and activity programme. The idea behind Magic Moments is that brighterkind believes people who move into our homes should be encouraged and supported to live life to the fullest possible extent in the way that they want for themselves, continuing to do the things they have always enjoyed and trying new experiences along the way, so that they love every day. When we make that happen, then that’s our wish for them fulfilled.

For more information about brighterkind's Magic Moments programme and Wishing Well scheme, visit: www.brighterkind.com/magicmoments