Meet Peter Denman, 79, a former artist who has lived at Sanctuary Care’s South Norwood home – The Manse Residential Care Home – since August 2011 and is proud and pleased to call it home.
Peter lives at The Manse with his wife Ella and he says the two are very happy there.
The couple previously lived at their marital home in Wharncliffe Gardens but moved into The Manse, which provides residential care and dementia care for the elderly, following a recommendation from their GP.
“My wife has dementia and I had been caring for her for some time,” explains Peter. “I became unwell myself and had a triple bypass operation. It got to the point that I just wasn’t able to look after Ella on my own. After my operation I needed respite care myself so moved into The Manse for a while… I never left! They found Ella and I a lovely double room to share and the rest is history.
“I was unsure about going into a care home and leaving our home and all of our things. It is not an easy transition moving into a care home – but it is what you make it. Ultimately, I just wanted to be with Ella. My GP of over 20 years said that he thought we would be happy at The Manse – and we truly are.
“The atmosphere at the home is friendly and supportive and the staff here are ever so professional.”
Peter giving fellow resident, Josephine McCullock, a painting class.
Peter spends as much time as he can with Ella. “My primary concern is supporting my wife and helping the care home’s team to ensure that she can enjoy certain activities.” He is also heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the care home, voicing his opinion to the home’s staff and management team and looking out for his fellow residents - he takes great pride in his involvement, saying he is pleased that his opinion is “respected by staff”.
“I read the newspaper every morning to my fellow residents, get involved with poetry class, feed the home’s two pet cats every day and was consulted on the design of the home’s new garden – this all makes me feel appreciated.”
The thing that Peter loves most about living at The Manse, however, is the opportunity to continue doing what he loves – art. Peter has been a keen artist since childhood and still adores painting, drawing and sketching.
“My background is art in all its forms,” Peter proudly explains. “I started as an artist, then I was an illustrator for 19 years. After that I moved into publishing and type-setting and was Production Director for an American publishing company. After that ended, I was involved in performing arts’ theatre in London’s West End.
“I’ve been an artist for 76 years – it is in my blood! I am delighted to still be able to do the things I love at The Manse – reading, poetry, sketching, teaching some of my fellow residents painting skills. It’s fantastic really.”
Such is Peter’s flair for art and sketching, that when the time came to re-design the care home’s back garden, he was the first to be consulted.
On the experience, Peter says: “It was very good for me – I was very pleased to contribute. I sat in the garden for some time and really thought about what could be done to further enhance residents’ quality of life at The Manse. Especially those who are visually impaired. I spent a lot of time sketching designs that I thought would be appropriate – it’s still a work in progress but I look forward to seeing the final outcome.”
Veronica McLeary, home manager at The Manse, said: “Peter is a wonderful, endearing man who is still so passionate about life - and we are so glad that he is happy and settled and able to continue doing the things he loves here.
“He certainly keeps us all on our toes – he knows exactly what is happening when and helps me to ensure the smooth running of the home! He absolutely loves being involved and I know it means a lot to him that his opinions, thoughts and talent are so valued.”