Bubbles bring back childhood memories

30 August 2017

Sarah and residents enjoying the bubbles

After a busy morning of active armchair sports, our St Catherine's Nursing Home Activity Co-ordinator, Sarah Avery, found the perfect way to help our residents relax.

Once the games had all been tidied away and the friendly competition between residents put to one side, it was time for some music … and some simple special effects.

As everyone enjoyed joining in with the popular song, 'I'm For Ever Blowing Bubbles', Sarah produced a giant tube of bubbles, and, as the bubbles floated round the room, they had everyone smiling and remembering the simple pleasure of playing with bubbles as children.

"It was a fairly cheap way to keep us occupied as children, and quite magical," said resident, Isabelle Gora. "I think I've enjoyed it just as much today, though."

"I don't know what it is about bubbles that's so relaxing," added Sarah, "but it seems to have been quite therapeutic for everyone – including me!"

Sun cream and ice cream

11 August 2017

Residents enjoying the sun

In a rare moment of summer sun, many of our Holy Cross Nursing Home residents enjoyed getting outside to enjoy each other's company and soak up the pleasant view of the carefully tended grounds.

The sheltered patio at our Sunderland nursing home was just the place for a sunny get-together and a quick catch up and is a popular way for our residents to spend their time in the summer months.

"We haven't had many opportunities to sit and relax in the sunshine this summer, but it's one of our residents' favourite things to do," said the home's activity co-ordinator Kayleigh Duddin. "Everyone had a lovely time basking in the sun and, as well as making sure they had ample sun cream, we made everyone's day by serving ice creams, too."

Talents on show at our strawberry tea

8 August 2017

People enjoying the strawberry tea event

Summer get-togethers don't come much better than the annual Strawberry Tea event at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle.

Our residents welcomed family and friends to the packed day of art, entertainment, fun and refreshments which gives everyone the chance to get together, relax and enjoy each other's company.

An exhibition of art in action saw our creative residents making striking pictures in keeping with the 'strawberry' theme and the home's corridors had been transformed into a mini art gallery to showcase their completed work.

Afternoon tea featured a delicious assortment of strawberry treats - from classic strawberry tarts to strawberry-based mocktails - which invited lots of positive comments and happy conversation.

After sharing fun and anticipation at the bottle tombola, it was time to unwind with a musical performance by singer, Christine Rosemond to bring the day to an end.

Operations Manager, Lesley Oliver said, "Our home was buzzing with activity and conversation and everyone had a marvellous time. The event is one of the highlights of our year and gives our residents the opportunity to proudly show off their talents and spend some quality time with visitors and fellow residents."

Rolling out the green carpet

1 August 2017

Holy Cross resident, Sylvia, enjoys a bowling session

When our Holy Cross Nursing Home residents fancy something special to do, it's not the red carpet that's rolled out, but the green carpet.

The popular pastime of bowls is regularly enjoyed in the home's spacious activity room when a strip of special carpet instantly transports our residents back to their days of competing on the bowling green.

"Our residents love our indoor bowling sessions and often choose them from the list of activities on offer," said the home's activity co-ordinator, Kayleigh Duddin. "It gives everyone the opportunity to play a game they know and love and our special equipment means residents in wheelchairs are able to take part, too."

And the beauty of the indoor 'green' means our residents can enjoy a game of bowls come rain or shine.

Sunny smiles on a rainy day

14 July 2017

Our residents enjoying their trip

When inclement weather scuppered a seaside trip out for a group of our Holy Cross Nursing Home residents, spirits weren't dampened at all and an alternative venue with a watery outlook was quickly arranged.

The group were delighted when they were able to visit Sunderland's National Glass Centre where they enjoyed stunning views of the river and Royal Navy flagship, HMS Ocean; although they were saddened to learn the ship was soon to be scrapped.

Exploring the centre led them to a glass-making demonstration and they were fascinated to watch a member of staff creating a beautiful glass stag ornament. Then it was off to the shop to buy a few souvenirs and gifts before taking a well-deserved rest with a cuppa in the café.

"It was shame about the weather, but no-one seemed to mind the last-minute change of plans," said Holy Cross Activities Co-ordinator, Kayleigh Duddin. "Everyone had a brilliant time with lots of interesting experiences, especially being among the last to see HMS Ocean afloat. We still have our seaside trip to look forward to when the weather improves, too."

PAT dog, Bert, gets the warmest of welcomes

12 July 2017

Residents with PAT dog, Bert

It was clearly puppy love at first sight when four-legged visitor, Bert, met residents at our St Catherine's Nursing Home.

The registered PAT dog brought the biggest smiles to our residents' faces and delighted them with his cute and friendly character, but he was richly rewarded with plenty of stroking and pampering in return.

The cute canine melted everyone's hearts and sparked many happy memories – and shaggy dog stories - of bygone pets and their exploits.

"I remember the dog we had when I was a girl," said resident, Win Taylor. "He used to go everywhere with my mum, but during the war when we had to queue for rations, he often used to catch the bus home on his own because he got bored waiting. I don't know to this day how he knew which stop to get off at."

After spending time being adored by the large group of our residents who had gathered in the home's spacious lounge to spend time with him, Bert was still eager for more as he trotted off to pay a special visit to some of those unable to leave their rooms.

Bert's busy day may have left him dog tired, but our residents are definitely begging for a return visit.

Friends reunited

3 July 2017

St Catherine's resident Harry with friend Peter

St Catherine's resident, Harry Day, got a pleasant surprise when an old friend dropped in to see him a couple of days ago.

Peter Davis had heard that Harry had moved into a care home in Newcastle, but didn't know which one. After some determined detective work he finally discovered that his old pal was only a short bus ride away.

Harry (pictured left) and Peter were part of a group of four or five friends who used to get together at Newcastle's Blucher Club and who often went on bus trips together, so there was plenty to reminisce about.

“Peter's only a youngster”, says Harry, “I'm 90, but he's only 89”

Harry himself has had a fascinating life – narrowly missing becoming a celebrity. Although working for over 35 years as a motor mechanic, he was also a comedian and singer and made several appearances on BBC radio during the 1940s. While serving in the army he was refused leave to go to Manchester to audition for a part in a production of A J Cronin's “The Stars Look Down”, which could have been his big break.

He's very philosophical about it though. “If my Commanding Officer had given permission for me to go, who knows where I would be today?” he says, “but, there you go.”

National Care Home Open Day

14 June 2017

Nursing home residents with staff

Staff and residents at St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle and Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland are extending a warm welcome to visitors this Friday, 16 June, as they invite everyone to join them for their National Care Home Open Day events.

The annual taster day aims to let visitors see for themselves how enjoyable life is in our nursing homes and to cultivate closer links between local people and the homes that sit in the heart of their communities.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take a tour of our homes, grounds and gardens with our staff and home managers who will be happy to answer any questions about living in our residential care homes.

They will also be able to see some of our residents showcase their talents as they take part in their 'activity of the day', then join them for some relaxing refreshments and entertainment in the afternoon.

"We'd like to invite people to pop in for a while, or enjoy a longer visit, if they wish," said our Family Liaison Manager, Joanne Bulford, who plays a key role in helping new residents settle into their new home. "It's an ideal opportunity to see our homes first hand."

Our National Care Open Day events run from 10am until 4pm and further information on the event or the quality care on offer at our homes is available from: Anne Tonge, Manager of St Catherine's Nursing Home, Newcastle on 0191 2452400 or Julie Thompson, Manager of Holy Cross Nursing home in Sunderland on 0191 5670862.

Special week of activities to stimulate the senses

22 May 2017

A selection of photos from our special week

Organised activities at our two nursing homes have been packed with a variety of things to stimulate the senses and residents have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences.

Our activity co-ordinators at Holy Cross in Sunderland and St Catherine's in Newcastle pulled out all the stops to create some fascinating events and activities to mark Dementia Awareness Week, as our selection of pictures shows.

Residents enjoyed the fragrance of flowers with a trip to a garden centre; a visiting singer who performed wartime songs, reminiscence quizzes to evoke memories and some soothing pamper sessions.

A mysterious 'what's in the box' game proved to be a great source of fun and involved residents reaching into a box to touch hidden items such as jelly, cotton wool, grains of rice and a peeled orange.

"Just about everyone guessed the items correctly, but it was a great conversation starter and there was lots of laughter," said Holy Cross Activity Co-ordinator, Kayleigh Duddin.

The special week at St Catherine's was rounded off in story-book fashion with their entire lounge transformed into Alice in Wonderland's famous tea party. 'Eat me' and 'drink me' labels adorned the party food, there were 'grass' place mats, heart-shaped pastries and sandwiches and lots of playing card decorations.

"It all looked so beautiful it was a shame to eat any of it," said resident, Dorothy Barrow.

Dementia Awareness Week 14-20 May

15 May 2017

Some of the items featuring in our events

Our nursing homes in Newcastle and Sunderland – St Catherine's and Holy Cross - have a packed schedule of specially arranged activities lined up for residents to mark Dementia Awareness Week.

A selection of sounds, smells, textures, tastes and interesting things to see will feature in each day's activities, providing a sensory experience for everyone to enjoy.

"I'm not giving anything away, but one of our activities will feature jelly, cotton wool and sugar crystals," said Kayleigh Duddin, Activities Coordinator for Holy Cross.

Meanwhile, a mixture of artificial turf, heart-shaped sandwiches and china teacups are busily being prepared for a special activity at St Catherine's.

"I'm really excited about our sensory events," said St Catherine's Activity Co-ordinator, Sarah Avery. "I think our residents are going to love seeing how all these random items are going to come together."

We'll bring you some updates from the activities held throughout the week, so watch our website for all the latest news.