I have been called many things in my time, a few of them choice, but my favourite, by far, is the ‘Yellow Plate Lady’.
Let me explain ……… I met a care home manager, Katie, at an exhibition several years ago where I was talking about the significance of using colourful crockery for ladies and gents living with Dementia, to provide contrast between their food and their plates to aid improved recognition and enable more independent and dignified dining experiences.
A particular yellow plate caught Katie’s eye as she wandered over to our stand and she told me she supported a lady in her home, called Jackie, who lived with severe physical complex needs, and yellow happened to be her very favourite colour!
Katie told me that Jackie was a fiercely independent lady who liked to do as much as she possibly could for herself, which included eating her meals independently. However it could take up to 4 hours for Jackie to finish a meal. Katie immediately knew that Jackie would love this plate for its bright yellow hue, and also as the design included a built in plate guard, that this would help Jackie to be able to pick up her food more easily onto her fork or spoon and improve her mealtime experience.
So I was invited to visit the home to meet Jackie, and apparently from the day that Katie told Jackie about me and my yellow plate, every day she would ask Katie ,”is the yellow plate lady coming today?!’
The day that I arrived, Katie took me to meet Jackie and told her “the yellow plate lady’s here!” Jackie was sitting in her room in her wheelchair with her head bowed almost into her lap. Katie took my yellow plate and slid it onto Jackie’s tray just in front of her eyes and Jackie very very slowly raised her head to look at us. The first time I saw Jackie’s face, I could see that she was wearing the biggest bright and most beautiful beaming smile as she first saw her yellow plate. Tears welled up in my eyes and I got all goose bumpy as I realised what a difference this small thing, my yellow plate, was going to make to Jackie’s life
And it did just that. Using my little yellow plate for Jackie meant that the time taken to eat her meals reduced from 4 hours down to just 1. The bright colour yellow, as well as being Jackie’s favourite, also enabled her to recognise her food more easily, and the inbuilt plate guard gave her the ability to load her spoon and her fork herself a lot more easily and quickly, and it made a massive difference to her dignity and self esteem.
And that’s the reason I am always happy to be known as Jo, ‘the yellow plate lady’.
#Lovemyjob #makingadifference #yellowplatelady