Care UK teams and residents have been busy creating, decorating and celebrating with friends, family and the community as the festive season was celebrated throughout its 120 homes nationwide.
Some homes were lucky enough to have a very special visitor greet guests at their events. At Broadwater Lodge in Surrey, Santa took time out of his busy schedule to greet the home’s young friends from Wharf Nursery who came for a Christmas visit. He also invited visitors to his grotto at Whitebourne, just one of the homes that opened its doors for community Christmas fairs.
Residents at Cavell Court in Norwich also helped to spread some festive cheer by inviting two reindeer into their home. The adorable deer stopped by the lounge, coffee shop and even the bedrooms on their visit and they enjoyed crunchy snacks fed to them by the residents.
Home manager Jennie Rodger says: “We’re always looking to plan interesting and exciting activities for residents here at Cavell Court, and with Christmas around the corner we wanted to give everyone a special festive surprise!”
At Manor Lodge in Chelmsford, Fred’s Performing Arts group performed Cinderella. Residents joined in a singalong which included the 12 Days of Christmas, with prompt cards held up to keep everyone on track through the laughter and smiles.
At Larkland House there was ‘no place like home’ as residents joined in with an interactive Wizard of Oz. Home manager Shawndell Barker says: "Most of the residents were still children when The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939, so this performance was a brilliant opportunity for them to remember their younger years. It was fantastic to see how engaged they were during the singalong - the show was a hit for guests and residents alike."
Team members at Mountbatten Grange and neighbouring Clara Court sported their best Christmas outfits for a 4 km 'santa dash', taking in the area’s most famous landmarks such as Windsor Castle and raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Mountbatten Grange home manager Saad Baig says: “We really enjoyed fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society and it was brilliant to see so many team members literally racing to make a difference!”
A record number of homes entered Care UK’s annual Christmas cake competition, which was won by a very ‘cheeky’ offering from the team and residents of Colne View in Halstead. The cake depicted Santa experiencing a trouser wardrobe malfunction as he slipped down a chimney, with his presents tumbling down the roof.
Head judge and director of food and hospitality Jon Bicknell says: “What a fantastic year! I was delighted to see a record number of entries and we saw some of our best ever cakes, making judging a tough job.
“We were very impressed with Colne View’s whole home approach to the creation, which saw all residents and team members contributing to its design and creation, which led to reminiscence, a stir-up Sunday and decorating - all excellent examples of meaningful activity.”
Getting residents involved in the kitchen’s preparation for Christmas is always important. Graham Watson, Care UK’s Chef of the Year and head chef at Lauder Lodge, Edinburgh, explains: “Our home uses activity based care to engage residents in activities that benefit their wellbeing and foster their interests and hobbies.
“Every day, residents who love to cook get involved with us, preparing vegetables and baking, and Christmas is no different. Residents were involved in stirring up the Christmas pudding mix, making and decorating the cakes and biscuits, and helping to prep some of the vegetables for Christmas day lunch.”
At Darlington Court in West Sussex residents baked Christmas treats to welcome older people from the local community who would be alone at Christmas. Home manager Nikki Burke says: “So many older people within the community feel lonely over the Christmas period, so our invitation to our Community Christmas event is a great way to tackle isolation and spread some festive cheer – and maybe develop some new friendships too!”
The Colchester support office also joined the fun – an Elf Day collection raised over £100 for the Alzheimer’s Society and a magic squares raffle raised over £200 for a local homeless charity.
Managing director Andrew Knight says: “It’s great to see what an important part our homes play in their local communities. During the past few weeks I’ve seen children’s orchestras and choirs performing Christmas concerts for residents, creative Christmas fairs and it appears a lot of mince pies have been eaten!
“What has really struck me is how great it is to see the doors to our homes flung open to welcome everyone. So, whilst many will be looking to spend time with friends and loved ones over the festive season, I would like to pay tribute to all our colleagues who will be working hard to bring that warmth and friendship into our homes for residents too, and going that little bit further to make this festive time extra special for residents and their families.”