April 2020: Keeping our spirits up in lockdown

Orpington

We’ve made lots of changes to normal life in the last few weeks. At Baycroft Orpington, we’re practising social distancing within the home as well as managing our day-to-day routine without visitors.

That means that our residents are staying on their own floors, keeping a distance between each other. If we’re in the dining rooms, we’ll each be on our own table – otherwise, residents will have meals brought to them in their own rooms. If anyone is feeling at all unwell we help them to isolate.

Of course, this is very far from what we’re used to. But we are making the most of everything we can do with our residents, and it has never been clearer how important our Baycroft community is. We are so proud to be a part of it.

Keeping families in the loop

We call each resident’s family every day to update them on their relatives’ health and daily routine. It’s incredibly difficult for families who can’t come in to see their loved ones at the moment, and so we want to do as much as we can to reassure them.

Lots of families have found it very helpful to hear how their loved ones are, and of course if they want to know any more information they can always get in touch with us. Our nurses are on hand to call families if they have concerns about somebody’s health.

Our residents have also been able to call their families over FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp. Having that connection has been incredibly important and really lifted everybody’s spirits. We are very lucky to be able to use those platforms to give our residents the chance to see family, and to give everyone that peace of mind – it’s been wonderful to be able to watch residents talk to their family over video, sometimes for the first time!

The new daily routine

In normal times we have a lot of activities going on around our home. That’s not possible at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped us from doing as much as we can to brighten our days at Baycroft and making this strange time as enjoyable as possible.

Although we can’t have our usual movement and dance activities, we’re making the most of our garden and terraces where we can and helping residents to walk around the home. We’re also planning to introduce more one-to-one movement sessions when we can be sure that this is the safest thing to do.

It’s not just physical health we’re keeping an eye on. We’re making sure that everyone has mental stimulation too, with puzzles, word games, quizzes and all sorts of activities. And while we can’t do group activities, we can still be together in many ways – just like with our recent video of us all singing We’ll Meet Again, the Vera Lynn classic.

Our residents have been taking part in lots of crafts, including making and signing a huge thank you letter for our therapy dog, Gunner. He can’t make his usual rounds of the home at the moment and so his owner has been putting videos of him online – it’s lifted everyone’s spirits.

The community in Orpington has also been helping us through lockdown. Members of our local church have sent residents cards and letters, and the children at one of the local schools have sent lots of cards, pictures and poems. Of course, our residents have written back too!

These cards and drawings are filling the home and making it a little brighter, along with the flowers we’ve got for our tables and the roses our residents were given for Mothers’ Day. They’re little gestures, but they all add up – and we’re doing all we can to keep things as normal as possible, and as enjoyable as they can be for our residents.