Residents at Ashby House care home in Milton Keynes recently took part in a unique virtual event celebrating the Indian Festival of Lights. Residents were fascinated as stories of why and how Diwali is celebrated unfolded on screen. They had their names written in coloured powder as Rangoli designs, which are used to decorate homes during Diwali, thanks to demonstrations and explanations by Abhay, Manjiri and Mahi Joshi from local organisation Maya CARE. In the comfort of their care home lounge, residents made Diwali sweets, rolling out their own creative delicacies made with chickpea dough, under the guidance of Manjiri in her Zoom demonstration. Rose, a resident of Ashby House said, “It was very interesting to listen to the speaker, and I enjoyed the sweet balls at the end. Today, I have a much better understanding of what Diwali is about and I’m really thankful for the interaction.” Ashby House has been supporting residents to stay connected with the local community and their families using mobile phones, tablets and laptops since the start of the pandemic, and this event is another example of that.
Wojciech Kuczkowski, General Manager of Ashby House Care Home, said, “In these unprecedented times, ensuring residents feel part of the local community is more important than ever. It was interesting to learn about Diwali from Maya CARE and their session was a great addition to the range of physical, mental and spiritual activities we offer as part of our life enrichment programme for residents. We try to meet the needs of the community and this year we are offering Christmas respite care so families know their loved ones are safe, well fed and having a good time with new friends – and families can visit in our new Covid-safe visiting lounge. Anyone wanting more information can contact Ashby House on 01908 696676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maya CARE – The Next Best Thing To Family, was founded by Manjiri and Abhay Joshi, and has made over 10,000 free visits to senior citizens and persons with disabilities over the past 11 years. Maya CARE’s volunteers provide emotional and intellectual support, play board games, and offer convenience by helping with reading, writing, paperwork, support with IT equipment, and accompanying people to medical and other appointments. During the pandemic volunteers have offered socially distanced visits and telephone companionship in Milton Keynes, Cambridge and London, as well as 12 cities in India. Manjiri and Abhay continue to fund the work of Maya CARE themselves and run it with the support of an administrative team of people with disabilities. Maya Care can be contacted on 07768 941251 or 07835 347697 and they would be delighted to discuss requests for a free visit, companionship, volunteering, donations or supporting the Maya CARE cause.