Care home residents enjoying tea parties, albeit at a distance

Posted: 05/04/2020 | Care for Older People,

Social distanced tea parties are being introduced at a Royal Blind care home.


The return to tradition is helping our residents socialise during the coronavirus pandemic.


Seated four metres apart as an extra precaution, residents took their tea in groups of three at Jenny’s Well care home in Paisley on Thursday.


Stephanie Kirkwood, meaningful activities coordinator at Jenny’s Well, said residents had mainly kept to their bedrooms for the last three weeks, as per government advice, except to exercise.


“These tea parties give residents a chance to socialise and have a chat with the other residents. We’ll have a maximum of three residents, with double the recommended distance between them. Our care staff are helping and serving the tea.


“Afternoon tea parties bring back a sense of normality, because we held many group activities here, before the coronavirus pandemic.  Now, they can have a chat with the other residents, safely.”

Jenny’s Well care home is run by Scottish charity Royal Blind and specialises in caring for older people with sight loss.  None of the care home staff or residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.


Stephanie said staff were finding new ways to entertain residents and to keep them in contact with loved ones.


“We’ve been facilitating phone and video calls with our residents’ family members, who are unable to visit due to the coronavirus pandemic. We know it’s incredibly hard for everyone in our care not to have face-to-face contact with our loved ones at the moment. 


“Obviously it's a serious time, but we’re trying to lift everyone’s spirits.


“Recently, we brought the residents together to sing “We’ll Meet Again” by wartime singer Vera Lynn, which is one of their favourites. Their families watched the video on Facebook, and we’ve received great feedback from families,” Stephanie said.


“One of our residents said she felt so much better knowing her family knew she was okay.”

The 1939 song was popular during WWII when soldiers left their families, friends and loved ones to fight in Europe.


Stephanie said nursing, care and activity staff were taking extra precautions to minimise their contact with people outside the care centre, reducing their likelihood of picking up the coronavirus.


“I’ve not seen my grandparents, or my parents, in three weeks. I’m not going out anywhere, so I’m not in contact with other people.

“You don’t want to be the one who brings it in. Week three, it’s become normality. You’re making extra sure everything is really really safe.”


Staff members who needed to self-isolate were staying home, but other staff members were stepping up, Stephanie said.


“We’re all mucking in. Everyone’s helping out, where we can. Care staff are picking up extra shifts, where possible. Activity staff are helping out in the kitchen if they’re needed.


“Everyone’s helping everyone else and working incredibly hard to keep our residential and nursing care services operating.


“I am feeling very proud to be a part of the Royal Blind community and supporting our residents through this very difficult and trying time.”


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