Thanks to the energy and dedication of the fantastic staff at Katherine House and Griffiths House, residents have remained in high spirits as well as in good health during this long period of lockdown. The Wellbeing Team has maintained a non-stop programme of events for residents including VE Day and May Day celebrations, a flower show, birthday parties, bicycle rides around the grounds on the trishaw and even a Royal Ascot Day party.
The absence of visitors remains very difficult for residents and we hope that it won’t be long before they can be reunited with family members. Staff are helping residents to connect with their loved ones on platforms such as FaceTime and Zoom and they are sharing photos on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @cotecharity1.
VE Day – 75 Years
Residents enjoyed decorating their walking aids as both homes came together to prepare for a VE Day party. Surrounded by colourful bunting and balloons, and with staff members dressed in vintage costumes, residents felt proud as they remembered the end of the war in Europe.
During a special VE Day coffee morning, residents passed around ration books and memorabilia whilst sharing wartime stories, stopping to observe the two minutes silence. This was particularly moving because everyone who was able, stood up to remember and honour those who had been lost during the war.
Parading to the dining room, residents sang wartime songs, cheered and waved flags. They were met with a resounding round of applause from staff members who had been waiting for the parade to arrive.
After lunch, residents enjoyed a glass of prosecco or a vintage drink while watching a socially distanced performance by a talented singer, John Prescott, who performed outside on the decking. John wowed the crowd with a mixture of theatrical songs and upbeat swing music, all met with great enthusiasm from residents and staff.
Residents then gathered in the lounge to watch the VE Day service on television over a special cream tea. Some residents chose to stay up for the Queen’s speech while others enjoyed watching a recorded programme the following day.
Cycling Without Age
Residents had been missing their weekly bike rides with the Cycling Without Age volunteers and so it was a wonderful surprise when the charity agreed to lend the trishaw to Katherine House and Griffiths House during lockdown.
Supported by staff members Neil and Hattie, who quickly learnt to master the unusual bicycle, residents have resumed their weekly rides around the grounds, which has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience for everyone.
May Day Party
The homes were once again decorated for a party as residents and staff prepared to hold a lively May Day celebration with plenty of singing, story-telling and dancing.
Audrey Hepburn’s Birthday
Residents enjoyed celebrating the life of legendary actress Audrey Hepburn, with an afternoon of themed activities, games and movies from the 50s and 60s.
With the absence of excursions and visits during lockdown, residents have embraced the opportunity to stay active by taking part in regular keep-fit classes. For those feeling particularly energetic, ‘Exercise in Disguise’ and ‘Stretch and Sing’ have been very popular, with candlelit yoga and meditation sessions for residents favouring something a little more calm.
Many residents felt disappointed that the Chelsea Flower Show was cancelled this year, so the Wellbeing Team decided to host a very special flower show of their own. The tables were covered in beautiful flowers and residents worked in pairs to create stunning flower arrangements which were then judged by a panel of ‘experts’ who awarded certificates and prizes for the ‘Best Bouquet’, ‘Most Creative Collaboration’ and ‘Best in Show’. Well done to all the residents for making the homes look beautiful with your spectacular bouquets.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Being able to talk about mental health is always important, but the Covid-19 crisis has made this need even greater. The Wellbeing Team has been encouraging staff and residents to share their feelings and worries, and to continue supporting each other. Everyone was invited to take part in a display celebrating this year’s theme of ‘kindness’, which helped to spread a feeling of positivity and togetherness throughout Katherine House and Griffiths House. The theme continued into the evening when residents took part in an activity to explore historical acts of kindness and to hold thoughtful conversations.
Online Singing Sessions
Upbeat singing workshops have been hosted via Zoom by a fantastic volunteer from the charity RSVP. Despite this being a virtual session, residents were not deterred from standing up to dance along to the wonderful singing!
This very popular activity is an opportunity for residents to learn about something new and different. Recent topics have included the deep ocean, travels around the globe, music halls and the history of Bristol, explored through a variety of activities such as story-telling, history, poetry, music and games.
This month, residents have been reading John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ supported by wonderful volunteers who host online reading and discussion sessions for residents in small groups.
Another reason to hold a party! Staff and residents were excited to join a host of virtual racegoers to celebrate Royal Ascot from the comfort of Katherine House and Griffiths House. Photographs of residents proudly wearing their creative hand-decorated Ascot hats were featured far and wide, including on the BBC News.
We’re looking forward to finding out what activities the Wellbeing Team has in store for the warm summer months, when residents enjoy spending time relaxing in the peaceful grounds and soaking up the sun on the decking.