Therapeutic puppets lend a hand at day centre
PUBLISHED: 14:02 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:16 01 March 2018
By Permission only
An array of animal puppets have visited a day centre in Norwich this month as part of a unique project tackling dementia.
Elderly visitors at the Marion Road Centre spent the day interacting with a variety of characters, from singing with Pepe the skunk to stroking Henrietta the hippo.
The puppets belong to Wymondham’s Karyn Roe, who founded the charity KarynTime, and uses the hand animals as a means of providing therapy.
Ms Roe said: “It’s all about interaction and my sessions depend hugely on how people react, so I never quite know what I’ll be doing - which is part of the fun.
“In my last session I had people throwing knitted pompom snowballs at each other.
“The men in particular really responded to that. What I do is about enabling communication, either one-to-one or in groups. In the past, I have volunteered at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on the children’s ward and there, for example, I gently encouraged children to eat by showing them puppets eating knitted food.”
Ms Roe has visited the centre in Marion Road twice before.
Alison Bessey, manager of the Marion Centre, said: “We try to offer homely care at Marion Road, as well as support for carers. But we want it to be fun too, so there is a varied programme of entertainment.
“What Karyn does is certainly unique, and gets a wonderful reaction from our people.”
Ms Roe used to work in corporate environments but pioneered her unique form of therapy after she had a breakdown around 10 years ago.
During her recovery, she began volunteering and one day she brought a puppet into the speech and language unit at Browick Road school.
She said: “I don’t even know why I had that puppet, he’s a cat called Mr Rochester. I just thought I’d bring him with me and the reaction was amazing. The children thought that he was real and would talk to him when they didn’t want to talk to anybody else.”
Ms Roe now has more than 150 puppets which she uses to interact with children with special needs, people living with dementia or anybody who could benefit from the therapy.
For more information about KarynTime, email Karyntime@gmail.com