Tree displays New Year resolution reminders

3 January 2019

Residents with their resolutions

Residents at our St Catherine's Nursing Home in Newcastle have created a novel way to remind themselves of their New Year resolutions.

With the help of the home's activities co-ordinator, Sarah, our residents put their resolutions for 2019 onto paper and added a little sparkling glitter to create decorative tags to hang on their special memory tree.

After a busy festive season, a few people promised themselves some time to relax or spend quality time with others, but there were also some who felt it was time to find a new hobby or be more active.

"It was a fun and creative way to capture our residents' New Year resolutions," said Sarah, "and it's now a real talking point for everyone."

Can we take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

Getting together for Christmas

19 December 2018

Nursing home visitors

The run up to Christmas has seen some special visitors to our nursing homes in Newcastle and Sunderland.

Residents of St Catherine's in Newcastle welcomed back friends from Churches Together in Fenham for coffee and a catch up. On this, their second visit to the home, parishioners and their Parish Priest, Fr Sean O'Neill, brought lovely hand-crafted gifts and Christmas cards for each resident, which they will receive on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, there was a surprise visit to Holy Cross home in Sunderland by St Joseph's Nursery School pupils, who sang songs for the residents and invited them to join in with the fun.

The children spent some time chatting to them about Christmas and delivered handmade cards to every resident. In return, the residents gave each child a special Christmas package with a selection box, book, jigsaw and reindeer dust.

Activities Co-ordinator, Vicky Hurst, said, “We had special chocolate milkshakes for the little ones to enjoy when they had finished singing. It was heart-warming to see residents' faces light up at our young visitors.”

Autumn is first Young Ambassador for our nursing homes

14 December 2018

Autumn ready for her first official visit

A ten-year-old school student from Newcastle is delighting residents at our two nursing homes by championing their lives and sharing her spare time with them as she becomes the first person to take on the role of Young Ambassador for our nursing homes.

Autumn, who attends Walbottle Village Primary School, has just carried out her first official visit as Young Ambassador at our Holy Cross home in Sunderland, where she delivered hand-written Christmas cards for every resident and thoroughly enjoyed joining everyone in a cheery festive singalong.

As Young Ambassador, Autumn will pay regular visits to our residents at Holy Cross - and at our Newcastle care home, St Catherine's - helping to bridge the generation gap through conversation, crafts and friendship. She will also act as a positive representative for our residents in her day-to-day links with other young people.

The kindhearted initiative came about after Autumn got in touch to ask how she could help people in our nursing homes on a regular basis.

"I enjoy making things and have helped with crafts and activities in the homes before, which I loved," said Autumn. "I asked if I could do something more regularly and can't believe I'm now their Young Ambassador. I'm really proud and excited."

Registered Manager for our nursing homes, Julie Thompson said, “We feel so privileged that Autumn wants to spend her spare time with us. Her first official visit was a massive hit with everyone and we're already counting the days to her next visit.”

Having a young person regularly visiting their home brings our residents so much pleasure and helps them to keep in touch with the changing world. In turn, Autumn is receiving first-hand knowledge of their experiences and memories from times gone by.

There are already a few projects shaping up involving Autumn and some of our residents, so watch this space!

Sharing the traditional joys of Christmas

10 December 2018

Holy Cross residents enjoying a Christmas outing

Residents at our Holy Cross Nursing home in Sunderland joined residents from five other care homes in the region to give a special welcome to the start of the festive season.

Residents and staff from all six care homes got together for an early Christmas party at The Derwentside Club in Ryhope, where everyone enjoyed a delicious three course lunch with all the festive trimmings.

Our residents were delighted when lunch was followed by two of their favourite musical acts – local singer/songwriter, Christine Rosemond and the ever-popular Mike Memphis with his Elvis repertoire. Both staff and residents had a great time joining in with some of the popular classics and sharing memories.

To round off the afternoon's festivities there were gifts for each and every resident, personally delivered by Santa and Mrs Claus.

"It was a fabulous afternoon with smiles and laughter all round," said our Holy Cross activities co-ordinator, Vicky.

We would like to thank the Community Care Home Group for hosting the party and for involving our residents in regular get-togethers throughout the year.

Sculptures make it a cosy Christmas

5 December 2018

Our residents enjoying their fireplaces

Staff and residents at our nursing homes have created stunning centerpieces as a backdrop for their festive celebrations.

Both Holy Cross in Sunderland and St Catherine's in Newcastle now have their own cosy fireplace sculpture which residents have helped to make from discarded boxes - and a good helping of creativity - with the support of their activities co-ordinators.

The colourful additions to the main activity spaces in each home are already a major talking point, prompting reminiscences about childhood Christmases and coal fires as well as tempting a few of our residents to have festive photos taken next to the hearth.

"People's faces light up as soon as they see the fireplaces," said Julie Thompson, registered manager for our homes. "They each create a lovely, cosy place to hold our Christmas sing-alongs or enjoy warming seasonal drinks and they're certainly adding that feel good factor to our festivities."

Lest we forget

9 November 2018

Poppy making crafts in some of our services

People across our services have been preparing thoughtful tributes to mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday this weekend.

Preparing for the weekend of commemoration, St Catherine's Nursing Home residents spent one of their regular craft sessions carefully making beautiful poppies with the help of activity co-ordinator, Sarah. Dozens of the finished poppies were then used to decorate their dignity tree in the home's main entrance.

Meanwhile, residents living in our Holy Cross Nursing Home put their skills to work making a collage of 100 poppies – one for each year since the end of WW1. The collage is now proudly displayed in the home's main lounge.

Adults with learning disabilities at our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington paid their respects by making two poppy wreaths for their dining room wall. One features the familiar red poppies, while a distinctive purple one commemorates all the animals that lost their lives in the war.

Since the group doesn't meet on Sunday, they paid their respects early with a two minute silence.

How to celebrate being 107 years young

2 November 2018

Mrs Mac and daughter, Pat

Family, friends, volunteers, staff and fellow residents all packed into our St Catherine's Nursing Home lounge to celebrate the birthday of our Newcastle home's oldest resident.

Winifred McKittrick, who much prefers to be called Mrs Mac, deservedly took centre stage for her 107th birthday celebrations, which lasted the entire day.

Starting with a hearty breakfast and phone calls from her daughter in New Zealand and her granddaughter, staff then helped her to open her many birthday cards - including her fourth birthday card from the Queen.

A leisurely lunch and a nap set Mrs Mac up for her afternoon party, which included balloons, a sing-along, a trip down memory lane with a fun game of pass-the-parcel, and a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday' sung by gathered guests.

Retiring to her room after the celebrations wound down, Mrs Mac blew out the candles on her birthday cake and spent time relaxing with her daughter, Pat.

And what did Mrs Mac make of being the centre of attention? "I'm not one for fuss," she said, "but I've had a lovely day."

We’re all having a spook-tacular time!

1 November 2018

Some of the Halloween activities around our services

Scary skeletons and ghostly goings-on aren't spooking any of our service users who are thoroughly enjoying making their mark this Halloween.

People attending our Parkhead Resource Centre in Ashington got into the Halloween spirit early by researching the Mexican-themed tradition of Day of the Dead and making skeletons from toilet roll tubes to decorate the centre.
Once Halloween itself came around, however, their thoughts turned more to pumpkins and parties, with people dressing up and posing for portraits in front of a suitably scary scene.

Meanwhile, residents at our two nursing homes – Holy Cross in Sunderland and St Catherine's in Newcastle – have all enjoyed exploring the Halloween theme, taking part in quizzes, exploring traditions and making pumpkin biscuits and ghostly meringues.

Our Alan Shearer Activity Centre members have already had tons of Halloween fun with fiendishly good parties and creepy crafts and are looking forward to getting creative again with some sparkling activities to mark Bonfire Night.

Happy birthday x100!

12 October 2018

Daphne and family celebrate her 100th birthday

When one of our St Catherine's Nursing Home residents celebrated her birthday in our home, there were almost as many surprises in store as there were years under her belt.

Centenarian, Daphne, woke to find flowers, cards and balloons decorating her room – and her first Royal birthday card from the Queen was waiting for her, too.

After a leisurely breakfast and time to open gifts and cards, Daphne had time to put her feet up before the afternoon celebrations got well and truly underway.

Escorted by our staff to the home's spacious lounge, Daphne was greeted with an enthusiastic rendition of 'Happy Birthday' and was presented with another special card, this time featuring 100 hand-drawn and decorated candles made by her fellow residents.

After a few fun games of 'pass the parcel' and surrounded by her friends and family, Daphne's face lit up as a beautifully decorated cake arrived, hand-made by the cooks at St Catherine's.

All in all, it was a celebration to remember.

Our Holy Cross residents get a taste of the Orient

3 October 2018

Holy Cross residents working on their Chinese lanterns

Holy Cross activities co-ordinator, Vicky Hurst, has plans to offer the nursing home's residents a global travel experience from the comfort of their armchairs.

Their first port of call was in the orient with a “Taste of China” event.

Residents helped to set the scene by making Chinese lanterns and dragon masks to decorate the activities lounge, then, on the day, out came a selection of delicious oriental tastes.

Chow Mein, spring rolls, prawn toast and seaweed were followed by Chinese desserts such as almond milk jelly with mandarins and Chinese egg custard tarts.

“To finish off”, said Vicky, “ we opened fortunes cookies and had a good laugh at some of the hidden gems inside. Our favourite was ‘Families are like fudge - always sweet but some nuts included'. We hope to continue our travels around the globe with more tastes from lots of different countries.”