Nantgarw care home resident, 81, writes poems of hope

Josephine Kirk’s verses are cheering up families who can’t visit in lockdown

A RESIDENT of Duffryn Ffrwd Manor Residential Home in Nantgarw has been writing and distributing poems, with the help of her fellow occupants and staff.

“It has definitely lifted the spirits of the families, who were unable to visit,” said Josephine Kirk, 81.

Mrs Kirk began sending poems to care homes around the world when she took part in the Postcards of Kindness scheme last year which saw her poetry gain increasing popularity.

She received many letters in response, which gave the home’s activity coordinator the inspiration to begin sharing her poems with the families of residents during the first national lockdown.

Mrs Kirk likes to give her poetry a positive angle. “[I enjoy writing about] life in general and giving people hope,” she said.

Josephine Kirk’s Poem ‘Hope’

Once completed, staff members help to write one line from the poem on a board for each resident to hold up in a photograph.

The photographs are then put together in a slideshow and played for the residents so they can see the finished poem.

“Some of them don’t necessarily understand what’s happening, but they’ll always understand what’s written on their board and they love to see the art of the project when we play it back to them,” said activities coordinator, Michelle Findlay.

Families of the residents receive the slideshow via a WhatsApp group where videos, images and news is shared to keep them up to date.

“The families love it, it’s such a positive thing, they really do get a lot from it because they are involved and the residents are actually involved,” added Ms Findlay.

Josephine Kirk’s Poem ‘Family

During the third lockdown Mrs Kirk has been suffering from the dreaded writer’s block.

“Everyone’s a little bit down at the moment,” said Ms Findlay. “I know she’s got plans to write about the lockdown, but she’s going to wait until it’s over because she likes to write positively rather than negatively.”

Duffryn Ffrwd Manor Nursing & Residential Home, Nantgarw

Coordinators at the home have planned multiple activities and internal fundraisers to entertain the residents but it is likely to be a long time before family members can be welcomed back into the home.

Despite residents and staff receiving their vaccines last week, nothing will change for those living and working at the home until the majority of the population are vaccinated.

Ms Findlay said: “It doesn’t change anything for us at the moment, it keeps us a bit safer and we all feel a bit safer and the families were all so pleased the day the residents had their vaccine.”

According to Ms Findlay, Mrs Kirk loves to see her poems being shared and enjoyed and staff may consider other ways of distributing them to a wider audience, such as on the home’s Facebook page, which you can access here.