Care home residents modelling as iconic stars go viral and make special edition charity calendar for Alzheimer's Society
Back in July, residents of Edgware care home Sydmar Lodge recreated classic album covers by posing in full get up as stars including David Bowie, Adele, Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson and the Clash. The photos have now been commissioned as a special edition Alzheimer’s Society 2021 calendar, with 100% of profits going to the charity.
The project was crafted by Activities Coordinator Robert Speker, as a way to keep residents occupied over the first lockdown. Since his photos went viral online, the outpouring of support has been enormous.
On Twitter, the images received over 11 millions views, more than 136,000 likes and were retweeted over 43,000 times.
Staff even paid homage to some iconic stars, with four female staff members posing as Queen’s infamous Bohemian Rhapsody album cover.
Alzheimer’s Society, the research charity which supports patients with dementia and their carers has been unable to produce their annual calendar due to the ongoing pandemic, so Robert decided to take matters into his own hands.
Robert says, “I just wanted to try something a little different and I also thought this would be a good way of spending some quality one-to-one time with residents.”
“Even though the idea was to replicate famous album covers, I wanted their character and personality to shine through too, and I hope I have managed.”
“Whilst not all of those featured in the photographs have dementia, the idea of raising funds for Alzheimer’s Society from sales of the calendar seemed like the obvious thing to do.”
Dementia and the pandemic
People with dementia have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic the hardest, in terms of both deaths from the virus and ‘unexplained non-virus-related deaths’, which meant that between March to June - the first peak of the virus - there were over 13,000 deaths.
Alex Hyde-Smith, Director of Fundraising at Alzheimer’s Society highlighted that care homes have been impacted terribly by both the virus itself, and isolation caused by lockdown."With at least 70% of people living in care homes having some form of dementia, we are hearing from so many families that their loved one is really struggling with months of isolation. So it’s wonderful to see this imaginative project, with such beautiful photography, one that really makes use of all the talent and personality that makes up a care home – it just shows what you can do with some creativity!
"Dementia is a cruel condition, robbing people of their memories, relationships and identities so it is brilliant to see this calendar come together and celebrate the amazing individuals who live at Sydmar Lodge.
"We urge anyone who wants to brighten up their 2021 to order their calendar - all proceeds will go back into Alzheimer’s Society’s work supporting people affected by dementia at a time when they’ve never needed us more."
Since the first set of lockdown restrictions came into force in March, Alzheimer's Society’s support services have been used more than half a million times, “providing a lifeline to thousands of people.”
The calendar, which costs £6.99 is available to buy through Alzheimer’s Society.
Support for people with dementia and carers
If you have recently been diagnosed with dementia, or are a carer of someone with the disease and need to talk, you can reach out to Alzheimer's Society Dementia Connect support line.
You can also get in touch with a therapist in your area or find one offering online services who has experience with dementia, via Counselling Directory.