Woman creates quilt to help elderly with memories

Margaret Bacon (left) presents her quilt to a Grenville Court Care Home resident

Margaret Bacon (left) presents her quilt to a Grenville Court Care Home resident - Credit: Archant

Two decades in the tea room trade have inspired a mature student to take a novel approach to helping people with dementia.

Margaret Bacon created a ‘conversation quilt’, complete with designs of cakes, scones and pastries, two years into a three-year textile design course she started after her retirement.

The 67-year-old, from Ditchingham, drew on her memories of running her own tea rooms, including the award-winning Margaret’s Tea Rooms in Baconsthorpe, near Holt, which she ran for nine years.

Thanks to the skills she learned during her time on the full-time course at the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), she was able to use a host of different styles and methods of embroidery, including hand embroidery, for the artwork which is now a permanent feature at Grenville Court care home in Horsford, near Norwich.

Mrs Bacon said: “When the opportunity came up to present an idea for the project, I wanted to create something to help people to reminisce, so I thought back to my years running a tea room. People always used to come in to my tea room and talk, and this gave me the idea.

“I wanted it to be a conversation piece for the residents and their relatives, to conjure up past memories”

Mrs Bacon’s previous visits to an elderly friend with sight problems inspired her to consider how the care home residents would benefit from the variety of different textures she included in the project.

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When briefing the students about the project, the care home had told them artwork with visual and sensory properties could help patients’ emotional responses by stimulating the brain and encouraging calm.

Gautem Patel, director of Alpha Care Management Services, which runs the residential home, said: “We are always keen to promote any ideas that are supportive to the needs of people suffering from dementia.

“As so much is still unknown of the illness, the support of local universities and the community can only improve the quality of life for both residents and relatives.”