Our very own North West London Care Home FaNs member, Najjah, a ‘Life Style Coordinator’ from Neem Tree Care Center, has been working hard to help build new connections between Neem Tree and their surrounding communities. An opportunity arose recently that was too good for Najjah to turn down, even on her day off…

It was Friday afternoon when I received a call from a voluntary organisation wanting to bring students into the center on Saturday morning, the voice instead my head said ‘NO’, but my heart said ‘YES’!

Every day you say no, can be another opportunity you won’t get back

On my door step stood twelve young students from the University of West London. They came with hearts of passion, joy and plenty energy to spread across Neem Tree, not what I was expecting.

The students were excited wanting to explore all that Neem Tree had on offer. It was great to see throughout the day a common connection between the generations. Packed full, the day consisted of activities such as painting, reading, games, sports and using our magic box. Straight away, students came in and turned up the music. They changed up the tunes to sounds of the unknown to residence, educating them in a new musical fashions and genres. Students played football with residents, creating two teams UK vs Kenya, and no surprise Kenya (the residents team) won, 3 – 2! It was a tight match and everyone had a great time.

Letting young people into our home created new and exciting moments for residents to share smiles and joy. These amazing young people showed us who they were without fear. These young people had a mixture of qualities such as good listeners, caring, kind and helpful. In one day these students created healing moments for many residents just by being themselves. Everyone was visited by the students, even the residents who struggle to come out of their bedrooms got a visit. Surprisingly, students spoke openly to me afterwards about how touching and emotional these special moments spent with residents were. Even I had to hold back the tears whilst watching how one resident became emotional wanting students to stay and sing.

Later we took students to the second floor. Many of our resident in our care home are Indian. As it so happened that some of the students were also from Indian or from mixed heritage backgrounds. Conversations immediately sprung up about everyday normal life stuff such as shopping in Southall! The residents were engaged and enlightened with all of their visitors, enjoying every moment spent together.

The day was fantastic but, extremely busy. One of the residents had explored and engaged with the students all morning, which meant they had no energy for the afternoon activities!

The whole experience was fantastic, I didn’t want the day to end, and that’s how much it meant to me. Now imagine, what did it mean to our residents?

Now I’m going to pause to ask you, imagine if I had said no. Just imagine, how much these residents would have missed, just because it was my day off. So I say, always listen to your heart and take a chance, it might end really well…

A reflective blog written by Najjah Edwards, Life style manager for Neem Tree Care Center, London. My Home Life thanks Najjah for her passion and commitment to the care home well-being of Older people.