When Segunda went to live at the A Coruña care home in the North West of Spain eight years ago, it took some time for her to get used to her new surroundings.
“At the beginning, Segunda wanted to leave the home all the time," said Raquel Feal, Occupational Therapist at Sanitas Mayores A Coruña care home.
“We knew that when she was young, she enjoyed dancing, so we tried that along with other activities to make her feel happier, but nothing seemed to work."
But one day, something happened and it changed everything. The care home organised an activity with the grandchildren of some residents, and they came to the home ready to spend time drawing with the residents. At first, Segunda was reluctant to take part, but in the end the result was extraordinary.
Raquel explained: “Drawing quickly became Segunda’s passion. It left her feeling much happier and she started being much more sociable with everyone. She drew pictures for her fellow residents and colleagues at the care home, and we all told her how great they were.”
Segunda and her family moved from Spain to Venezuela when she was young, and they lived many happy years there – they were popular, and their house was always full of friends.
Raquel continued: “When we discovered a bit more about the years that Segunda lived in Venezuela, we realised that we needed to find a way to make her feel as important and loved as she felt back then.
“Drawing gave us the opportunity to replicate that feeling in her. We couldn’t have achieved that outcome if we hadn’t known her individual story and how important those years were to her.”
Carmen Banda, Director at the A Coruña care home, added: “Knowing the personal story of all our residents is key to making them feel like they’re at home. Small things, such as discovering Segunda’s passion for drawing can make a huge difference in the happiness and wellbeing of those who live in our care home.
“This is Person First, Bupa’s approach to aged care and dementia care, which focuses on the person and not their condition.”
Segunda explained: “Drawing is my thing. I’d never done it in my whole life previously, and now everyone tells me that I’m very good at it.”
Thanks to this new found passion, Segunda no longer wants to leave the care home.
What she likes most is to look to her drawings that are hanging in her room and the corridors around the care home – almost all of which include flowers, just like the ones that cover the landscape of the tiny town where Segunda was raised.