The Edensor Care Centre in Clacton offers much needed dementia and nursing support for the elderly in Essex, and this Christmas it was also the recipient of a very special visit. 

Santa, accompanied by one of his elves, arrived early to share a breakfast provided by the catering staff that included cereals, porridge with cream, fresh fruit cocktail, fruit yogurt, full English breakfast, pan au chocolate, farmhouse toast with a selection of preserves.

At Santa’s request sweet candy cane swirls, hot chocolate with marshmallow dreams and fresh cream clouds and golden chocolate coins and candy face lollipops were all added to the menu and the staff did not disappoint in executing a meal to be remembered. 

Santa, who sent a message to the care team to ensure they kept the news as a wonderful surprise, took time during the breakfast to meet residents and bring them each a special gift. 

UK statistics suggest that 1 in 2 of us know someone with dementia and that for 42% of people, they will have a direct family member living with it. 

So many families are familiar with the toll it can take mentally. From a personal standpoint, I only knew my grandmother whilst she had Alzheimer’s and also grew up with two of my great aunts who I also sadly lost to the disease. It is something that runs in my family and I know firsthand how important it is to feel like the affected family members are included and happy during the festive period. 

Speaking on the amazing impact that visits like these can have, Lindsey Milliken, Deputy Manager, Edensor, said, “Christmas is such a magical time and takes our dementia residents back to bygone years and happy memories of Christmases past. This is the first time that we have welcomed Santa and his Elf for breakfast, and we are over the moon that they made time for us at this very busy time, and we hope they will be able to join us every year.”

Though heartbreaking in its nature, every cloud has a silver lining, and I have positive and happy memories of my great aunt even whilst she was battling Alzheimer’s. When we would visit, she would go through all of the names she could possibly recall in a hilariously thick Trinidadian accent until she had successfully identified her niece or nephew, who was always “gorgeous”. 

Jean Jacobs, a resident at Edensor, poignantly asked,  ”Did he really come from the North Pole to see us?” 

To me, this is the finest and most special part of Christmas. Presents are always nice to receive but the effects wear off as you grow older. Feeling loved and important on the other hand is something that will always feel just as good. 

Santa, reflecting on a special day, said, “It was a pleasure to have breakfast at Edensor and meet Shirley, Jean and all the lovely residents who I of course remember from when they used to write to me as children. The breakfast, especially the hot chocolate with marshmallow dreams and fresh cream clouds, was most welcome and gave me a perfect start for the very busy day in my workshop with the Elves.”

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