Flipping lovely pancakes!

1 March 2017

Pancake Day at St Catherine's and at the Alan Shearer Centre

Did you make pancakes yesterday and if so, do you know why?

In the past, Shrove Tuesday was your last chance to enjoy yourself before the start of Lent - and forty days of fasting. Families would clear out their cupboards and eat things like eggs, milk and sugar so they wouldn't be tempted by them. Many parts of the world hold Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday) festivals for the same reason.

The tradition of mixing them up for pancakes is thought to come from a pagan ritual, but others say it is a Christian tradition - with the ingredients representing four pillars of the faith: eggs for creation, flour sustenance or the staff of life, salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity.

Whatever the explanation, pancakes were top of the menu at two of our services yesterday. Residents of our St Catherine's Nursing Home certainly enjoyed the pancakes the home's kitchen staff made for them. Served with sugar and lemon, maple syrup or chocolate spread, they were a flipping lovely alternative to biscuits with afternoon tea!

Meanwhile at our Alan Shearer Centre, Recreation Assistant, Jan Rootham, helped members to make their own (and even to toss some successfully) before they got down to work on their new spring-themed mural for the centre.

Ash Wednesday Masses celebrated in our nursing homes

1 March 2017

Receiving ashes at Mass in St Catherine's Nursing Home

Have you noticed anyone with ash on their forehead today? Maybe you've been to Mass yourself to get your ashes?

To mark the start of Lent both of our nursing homes, St Catherine's in Newcastle and Holy Cross in Sunderland, held the traditional Ash Wednesday service in their chapels, giving residents the opportunity to receive their ashes.

The ashes are actually produced by burning the palm crosses made for Palm Sunday the previous year and the cross on the foreheads of churchgoers symbolises repentance for sin.

Mainly a Catholic feast, Lent and Ash Wednesday are also celebrated by a number of Protestant denominations. St Catherine's and Holy Cross, though founded in the Catholic faith, are home to people of all denominations and none, so everyone was welcome at the Masses.

As well as the familiar idea of “giving something up for Lent”, many people choose this time to do something more positive, such as volunteering for a charity. St Cuthberts Care is always happy to hear from anyone who is interested in giving some of their time to help with our work. If you would like to find out about our volunteering opportunities, please contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Nicola Milne on 0191 228 0111, or email nicola.milne@stcuthbertscare.org.uk.

Paws for thought

22 February 2017

St Catherine's resident petting a puppy

Our St Catherine's Nursing Home is now home sweet home to some very well behaved puppies.

The pups, each in their own basket, are more than just cuddly toys for our residents. The lifelike pets “breathe” like real sleeping puppies and were added to the home's collection of sensory and tactile items for the list of benefits they can offer to our residents. It has been known for some time now that stroking a soft, furry pet can have positive physical and emotional effects and even a realistic substitute can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

Family Liaison Manager for our nursing homes, Joanne Bulford, said the pups were an instant hit.

“We have a Spaniel, a Beagle and a Black Labrador,” said Joanne. “Some of our residents have become very attached to them and they've produced lots of smiles and evoked memories of their own pets from the past.
Choosing their names has become quite a talking point, too, which has been an added bonus.”

Our residents are just nuts about birdwatching

27 January 2017

St Catherine's residents making bird feeders

It's all eyes on the garden this weekend at our St Catherine's nursing home in Newcastle, when residents join in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.

The birdwatch, between 28 and 30 January, helps build a picture of garden wildlife across the UK and, last year, more than half a million people took part.

The home, which boasts not only a large sheltered garden with trees, shrubs and raised beds, but also a small courtyard with potted plants and shrubs, attracts a variety of birds. Staff and residents always keep the bird feeders well stocked, but they have made some extra treats especially for this weekend.

Claire Graham, manager of our Parkhead Resource Centre for adults with learning disabilities in Ashington, popped in to lend a hand, stringing peanuts onto strips of ribbon. The birds will have to do a little work to open the shells to get to the nuts, but that will give everyone more time to enjoy watching them.

Pat still feels nifty at 90

20 January 2017

Pat sharing her birthday celebrations

Cake, candles and a chorus of 'happy birthday' were all part of a surprise 90th birthday tea party arranged for one of our nursing home residents.

Nonagenarian, Pat, who lives in our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle, was delighted with all the cards and gifts she received from relatives, friends and staff and was especially taken with a huge birthday balloon emblazoned with the number '90'.

"Pat loved the balloon, but said she didn't feel she was 90," said Operations Manager, Lesley Oliver. "She insisted we had put the wrong age on it and told us she felt more like 25!"

Staff, carers, managers and fellow residents all gathered in the home's spacious lounge to join in with the celebration tea and sang 'happy birthday' while Pat blew out the candles on her cake. Then it was treats for everyone as the delicious cake was shared out with a well-deserved cuppa.

A daughter's gift of family memories

4 January 2017

Joanne with Pat and the framed photos

Christmas may be over, but a post-festive gift brought precious memories flooding back for our St Catherine's Nursing Home resident, Pat Walker, when the special delivery arrived from her daughter, Sue.

The beautifully framed collection of four black and white photos shows off some of Pat's close relatives and each picture was taken during an era Pat remembers well.

Shortly after the gift arrived, Family Liaison Manager, Joanne Bulford spent time looking at the photos with Pat and chatting about the people she clearly remembered so fondly.

"As soon as I brought the framed photos along for Pat her face lit up and she told me each person's name," said Joanne. "It's a fantastic way to keep Pat's memories alive and clearly makes her very happy."

The pictures are now displayed on the wall in Pat's room where she can visit her memories at any time of the day or night.