Even in normal times, winter can be a difficult time for the elderly. Colder weather and short days mean that there are fewer opportunities to get out and meet people. This winter, we have the added factor of Covid-19 restrictions. These make it harder for people to receive visitors or go out and socialise.
There is hope around the corner with the first vaccine being approved for use in the UK. Even so, the virus will be with us for many months. As we look forward hopefully to a return to normal living we can’t afford to forget life as it currently exists for many elderly people.
Loneliness and isolation are major concerns. The ongoing pandemic can only heighten these feelings with the added fear of possibly contracting the virus. Age UK estimates that around one third of elderly people are finding life particularly difficult.
What Can We Do To Help Combat Loneliness?
Probably the simplest thing we can all do is to be kind and considerate. Take a few moments to have a conversation, offer to help with collecting prescriptions or shopping. Don’t underestimate how powerful it is just to know that somebody cares enough to ask if you need help. According to Age UK a survey conducted for their No One Should Have No One campaign, two million people said they wouldn’t have got through the pandemic without ‘the kindness of strangers.’
Zoom, Skype and other video conferencing technology are helping people to feel less cut off. Having the technology available is one thing, taking the time to use it to contact an elderly relative is even more important. Altogether Care has worked hard to make sure our residents can use the latest technology to keep in touch with family and friends throughout what has been a difficult year for us all.
Maintaining physical visits, as far as we are able, is a priority. We recently updated our Visitation Policy to help us take care of the emotional wellbeing of our residents while also keeping them as safe as possible.
So this Christmas isn’t going to be quite like other years – but that doesn’t mean our residents can’t still have a great time. For staff and residents at our care homes the festive season is in full swing.
Trees and decorations also went up at the start of December (but this year with a bit more thought to allow our staff to still clean effectively), accompanied by mince pies and a tipple for our residents.
Throughout the month, we’ll be marking notable days with appropriate events. These include Elf Day on December 4, National Brownie Day (who doesn’t love a brownie?) and even National Gazpacho Day (who knew there was such a thing?).
Some of the December events have a more serious side, including International Animal Rights Day that remembers animal victims of human cruelty, including war horses.
Christmas apparel features in many of the festivities with Christmas jumpers being donned for December 11 and a colourful array of hats on the 18th. And let’s not forget National Sangria Day on the 20th and Eggnog Day on Christmas Eve.
Christmas at Sherborne House
December is a busy month at Sherborne House with plenty to keep residents occupied and in the festive spirit. As well as the annual Christmas party, residents have been making decorations and baubles for the ‘wish tree,’ baking Christmas biscuits and decorating some scrumptious gingerbread men. There’s a small festival of Christmas movies to watch and regular communal signing of seasonal songs.
The care at home team has also been joining in the fun with the Poole office sporting elf costumes and Christmas jumpers to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Please contribute if you are able via our JustGiving page.
While 2020 may have been a difficult year for care homes and their residents, the Altogether Care team has been determined to make sure that the wellbeing and enjoyment of our residents has been affected as little as possible. And as the year draws to a close, Christmas remains a very special time and something to celebrate.
The staff and residents were getting into the Christmas spirit last week with Christmas jumpers worn all round! It isn’t Christmas without a Christmas jumper day at Steepleton Manor.
Steepleton Manor has been serving as a luxury retirement home for over 20 years, specialising in assisted living, nursing and elderly care.
Altogether Care provides a wide range of care services such as Care in Your Own Home, Dementia Care, Holiday Care, Day Care, Nursing Care and Assisted Living Care. Each of our care plans are specifically tailored to provide the right balance of supportive, friendly and professional care.
Find out more about Steepleton Manor by giving us a call today on 01305 300161.
Last week, the staff at Sherborne House put their Christmas suits on and dressed as Elves to raise money for individuals affected by Dementia.
Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, which is set to increase to over one million by 2025. We take great pride in providing the best possible quality of care for some of those people affected, ensuring that their environment is comfortable and accommodating to their needs.
This Christmas, the staff at Sherborne House are raising money with a raffle to contribute to the residents’ fund. Read more about our Dementia Care here.
For Christmas 2019, Altogether Care is again teaming up with Wiltshire Farm Foods to bring some Christmas Day cheer to elderly people across Dorset and South Somerset.
As a family-run care business for over 30 years, you really get to know the communities you serve. This means, when it comes to Christmas, we are only too aware that many older people could be faced with a very lonely prospect. For many, Christmas is a time when they see no one and feel very much alone.
According to Age UK, over 870,000 people over 65 won’t see or hear from anybody for days over the festive period. Many people will feel lonelier at Christmas than at any other time of the year. This is not exactly the Christmas spirit that everyone envisions over Christmas.
Determined to make sure that old people in our community who live on their own see at least one smiling face on Christmas Day, Altogether Care has, once again, partnered with Wiltshire Farm Foods. Working together, we will provide 120 free Christmas dinners to elderly people across Dorset and South Somerset.
This year our team will be distributing meals on Christmas Day, kindly donated by Wiltshire Farm Foods. Just as important as the meals, our care staff will spend time with each person. We will also be setting up Facetime and Skype so that clients can talk to their relatives on the day. Everyone will be provided with a delicious Christmas pudding and cracker to pull.
As ever, we are incredibly grateful to Wiltshire Farm Foods for their generosity. And to our dedicated team who give up their time because they know that older people on their own probably need us more than ever at Christmas.
Care is much more than a business for us. We see our role as supporting vulnerable people in a community that we are part of, at Christmas and all year round. For more information, please call 01305 766 099 and ask for Dawn or Rachel.
Santa has been busy asking residents and staff what they most would like for Christmas. It may be no surprise that high up on the list is the wish to see more of family members.
Here is a selection of Christmas wishes from both Steepleton Manor and Sherborne House.
A chocolate cake, a drum, a dog, a new football. A trip to the pub, a trip to see the Christmas decorations at Poundbury Garden Centre, a trip to see a classical musician, a box of Thornton’s chocolates and one resident would simply love a surprise.
Staff also have a wish list which includes a new car, a new iPad, a million pounds and quality time with family at Christmas with everyone having a good time.
Residents at Steepleton Manor have been feeling extra festive this month whilst making a variety of seasonal crafts. Making decorations has been a favourite Christmas tradition for many years at Steepleton Manor.
Wreaths, paper chains, Santa hats and beards are just a few of the handmade goodies which will no doubt bring extra joy and cheer this Christmas.
Carols by candlelight on Christmas Eve is a favourite Christmas tradition at Sherborne House. On Christmas Day, residents tuck into a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and open gifts. They then watch the Queen’s speech.
Staff put on their Christmas outfits and hats each year to create some additional festive fun.
Each family and individual has special Christmas traditions – the same applies to care homes. Steepleton Manor has their very own tradition which allows every resident to add a bauble of their choice to the Christmas tree. This year, the families of residents will be joining in with the tradition. The tree was put up, as always, on the 1st December.
Whilst this may seem like a small thing to do, it’s important for residents to keep the traditions alive. Carol singers from the local primary school will be singing songs of joy to the residents and staff on the 23rd December.
On Christmas Eve, there is mince pies, sherry and more carol singing. Christmas Day will see families joining their loved ones to enjoy their Christmas meal and Santa visits in the afternoon with special gifts for the residents.
Residents and staff at our care homes participated in a variety of festivities last month. Pictured is Steepleton Manor residents, their families, and staff after Christmas lunch on Christmas Day, and Santa visiting residents at Sherborne House during their Christmas party.
Residents, staff and their families enjoyed a Christmas party at Steepleton Manor with a festive buffet prepared by Nick, the chef. Singing was provided by Allie Pooley and everyone tucked into warm mince pies.
Residents at Steepleton Manor enjoyed a seasonal trip to their local garden centre which including some festive costumes. Anne, Margaret and Maggie took the opportunity to view the Christmas displays and join in the fun.
Older people in Dorset will receive a free Christmas dinner and pudding thanks to Dorset based organisation, Care at Home and Wiltshire Farm Foods.
Carer’s will visit hundreds of older people on Christmas Day to serve the seasonal meal and spend time pulling a cracker and talking to residents throughout Dorset. It means a number of older people will not be alone this Christmas.
A traditional Christmas dinner including a pudding will be provided free of charge by Wiltshire Farm Foods.
Care at Home provide a variety of care services to older people in and around Dorset and Somerset and came up with the idea to support their clients this Christmas.
Dawn McGill, from Care at Home said, “Christmas can be a lonely time for many older people and not everyone can spend Christmas with family. We visit our clients all year round to support them with a variety of daily tasks and wanted to extend that visit to include Christmas Day. Wiltshire Farm Foods very kindly offered to donate a free Christmas meal and we wanted to make the most of this by personally visiting each person and spending time with them to make their day special”.
Care at Home are part of Altogether Care, a Dorset based care provider which is a family owned business.
Free meals and visits will take place throughout Dorset and some parts of Somerset.
Photo: Hannah McDonald from Care at Home with Raymond Brunt
Sherborne House residents recently enjoyed a trip to Castle Gardens, (their local garden centre) earlier this month. The residents enjoyed looking at all of the festive decorations wearing their Christmas hats!