“Sheba is really kind and likes cuddles. We all love him,” one of the residents said.

The short film Next to Her (aka Avalon) is the story of an elderly man, Maurice, who visits his
wife with dementia at the hospital. A shared lunch is all they have
left, but his wife’s thoughts drift off towards the ghost of her cat,
Avalon, whose picture sits on the bed stand ‘next to her’. As Maurice
gets more frustrated with his wife’s behavior, the fine line between
nurturing and torturing is easily crossed.

The majority of Next to Her was lensed at the resident care centre Het Heiveld in Sint-Amandsberg,
Belgium. Turned out Het Heiveld has a cat: Sheba. The cat loves to
stroll through the hallways, peeps into the rooms, sunbathes in the
garden, and keeps the elderly residents company at the refectory during
lunch time. His food and water bowls sit together with a small
scratching post next to the reception area. By following the cat around,
I also discovered he has his own room with an even bigger cat tree. At
the refectory is a framed picture of the cat. “Sheba is really kind and
likes cuddles. We all love him,” one of the residents said.

You can read the story on which the film is based here. You can see pictures of the film set here.

Some lovely pictures.

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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