Thursday, 25 May 2017

Vintage Day and Happy Hour


Happily enjoying Vintage Day – care staff at Ron Smith Care Centre.


If you were at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre on May 23, you would eventually have come across many people dressed up in old-fashioned clothes. It was Vintage Day!  Staff and residents were invited to wear something that was popular or fashionable in the past and then to come along to the Vintage Day Happy Hour on Lakeside, one of the care centre’s six wings.

Earlier in the day, Activity staff helped residents to make cheese straws, savoury biscuits and sweetcorn fritters, which were all on the Happy Hour old-fashioned snack menu, whilst other staff decorated the venue with old record album covers on the walls (think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley), old records and gold and black balloons. Fashion and music from the good old days were the order of the day, with partygoers dancing, moving and singing along to well-loved show tunes and golden oldies.

The residents were also divided into four teams and participated in a quiz. They were shown pictures of various movie stars and celebrities from the olden days, and asked to identify the people. Pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, Shirley Temple, Charlie Chaplin and Doris Day were easily identified, but Lucille Ball had them stumped!

It was a close call, but in the end, Team Green and Team Red tied for first place.  Prizes were also given out for the Best Dressed residents and staff. 

Resident Sylvia Lawrence summed up the experience by saying, “Thank you for the party ---you have created such a happy atmosphere for us!”  Many residents were seen leaving the party with a smile on their face and hopefully, a fondly-remembered song or memory in their hearts.


Best dressed gentleman of the evening, Cedrick Hicks, with two admirers, Pam Martins (left) and Thembi Sibiya (right).


Sylvia Laserow, Irene Raliphada, Sylvia Lawrence and Germinah Baloyi.


Rock n’ rollers Colleen Blowe and Germinah Baloyi. 


Louise Newman is thrilled with her prize – a beautiful vintage tea mug.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Amazing Grace turns 102


Grace Snook with daughter Jill and son-in-law Glynn Jones.

Gracious Grace Snook celebrated her 102nd birthday in the company of friends and family on May 18, 2017.

The smiling, quick-witted woman was seated at the head of the table at Elphino’s, the coffee shop of the grounds of Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge retirement village. After living independently until the grand age of 101, Grace moved into the complex’s Ron Smith Care Centre around six months ago.

When someone joked that her next big celebration would be her 110th birthday, Grace’s legendary sense of humour came to the fore, and she responded, “I hope you have wings.”

Born in Southern Rhodesia in 1915, during WWI, Grace and her late husband Cecil had two children, daughter Jill and son Donald.
Always a lover of sport – both as a spectator and participant – at the age of 100 Grace was still cooking for herself and doing container gardening.
Helen Petrie, the Elphin Lodge complex manager, presented Grace with a beautiful card and flowers. “We are blessed to have Grace as one of our residents,” she said.

Birthday girl Grace Snook with Elphin Lodge complex manager Helen Petrie and Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes, at her 102nd birthday party.

Grace Snook takes pride of place at the head of the table at her 102nd birthday celebration.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Gardening therapy for care centre residents


Elaine and Leung Ho with David Eatock and the planted parsley and pansies.


Some of the residents from the special dementia wing at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre had their first taste of Horticultural Therapy on May 10. They watched with interest as tables were covered with plastic sheets and various gardening supplies were brought in for their use. Here was something new to enjoy!

Horticultural or Gardening Therapy is a relatively new humanistic approach and is based on the idea that there is a special connection between people and plants, between people and the gardening pursuit and between people and their natural surroundings. Therefore, Gardening Therapy is a process through which the plants, gardening activities and the innate closeness we all feel towards nature are used as a vehicle to bring certain therapeutic benefits to the participants. 

Rand Aid’s Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes explains:  “Elaine and Leung Ho recently responded to our appeal for new volunteers to assist us with various occupational and recreational activities.  When we had our first chat, I was so excited to learn that Leung is a horticulturalist who has a Baccalaureus Technologiae in Horticulture from UNISA and that he has a special interest in using gardening activities for therapeutic purposes. I immediately thought it would be a perfect activity on River Lodge 3, our special wing for residents living with dementia.”

At the introductory session where care workers came to assist, Elaine and Leung started off with a sensory activity which involved residents rubbing lavender, mint and a special variety called apple mint, between their fingers and smelling the scent that was released. Next was the filling of pots with potting soil, planting parsley and pansies (for colour) and finally watering all the plants.

The session ended with instructions on how to continue caring for their new plants.   When practiced over time, these simple gardening tasks can provide sensory and memory stimulation and mild exercise, increase movement, improve orientation to reality, increase a sense of community and decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation.

This was a wonderful morning activity which the care workers enjoyed as well.  They will all be watching out for the pansies which should be flowering very soon! 


Salina Mtshali and Katrina Diedericks plant parsley.


Noel Tilney prepares her pots for planting.


Leung Ho and Eddie Carton.


Evelyn Shilubane, Mary Nkanza, Dawn Hazzard and friend.


Eddie Carton enjoys his Garden Therapy.


Evelyn Shilubane offers Jean Ive some lavender for her to smell. Lavender has a very soothing and calming effect.


Salina Mtshali and Katrina Diedericks.


Noel Tilney gives hers plants a drink of water.


Val Smith and Elaine Ho.


Water – and love – to ensure good growth.


The result of all the hard work.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Easter Tea at Ron Smith Care Centre


Kedibone Shongoane and Howard Motau take delight in the sheer joy of dancing.


On the morning of April 18, residents who participate in activities at the Rand Aid-run Ron Smith Care Centre knew that they had to get cracking!

They were to assist with the catering for the Easter Tea that was being held later in the afternoon; what was requested from them was to bake and decorate several dozen Easter cupcakes. The OT activity centre was a hive of activity in the morning as residents, staff, and volunteers worked to fill the order.  Also on the tea menu were sandwiches, sausage rolls, milk tart and biscuits, but thankfully, that was someone else’s job!

After indulging in the sumptuous tea to the strains of light classical music, the care centre residents decided to liven things up and dance away the afternoon to all their Golden Oldie favourites.  Lively music from the 50s and 60s as well as British pub songs and various singers from Elvis Presley, Abba and the Beatles to Nat King Cole, Miriam Makeba and Kurt Darren, inspired the elders to get on the dance floor.  Others were taken for a spin in their wheelchairs whilst still others clapped, swayed and sang along to music they fondly remembered.

Resident Enzo Merolla enjoyed the dancing very much and said:  “I used to be a good dancer when I was younger.” He laughed delightedly when Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager:  Recreational Programmes told him: “You’ve still got the moves!” 

And what did the guests think about the Easter cupcakes? “They were awfully good!” pronounced resident Denny Hancox.


What a divine looking spread.


Sheila Hawes.



Gertie Dansky and Peggy Roberts enjoy tea and company.



Nicky Poncho and James Taylor.



Lynette Saville, Kris Geyser and Rosina Pretorius.


Betty Haughton (101) with Kris Geyser.


Enzo Merolla and Janet Smart cut the rug.


Denny Hancox with the ‘awfully good’ Easter cupcakes.



Margaret Richardson & Julia Mali



Activity Centre holds commitment ceremony

Staff and residents who participate in Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre Occupational Therapy Activity Centre recently gathered to present and dedicate a banner to the activity centre.

The banner, which took about a year to complete, was designed and appliquéd by volunteer Marisa Sabato, and depicts the Vision and Mission of the Care Partners who are involved in the activity centre’s programmes. 

Central to the banner is the Eden Alternative tree which represents the life and growth desirable for all residents and staff at the care centre. Ron Smith Care Centre last year became the first organisation in Gauteng – and the second in Africa – to become a member of Eden Alternative South Africa registry. The Eden Alternative philosophy is based on the core belief that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline.

The activity centre’s vision is: A person-centered community of Elders and Care Partners where individual’s needs are known and where their identity is recognised and honoured.  An environment where opportunities are created to live life to the fullest, by engaging in meaningful activities, which bring about well being:  joy, purpose, connectedness and independence.

Its mission is: To work as a team to identify individual needs, interests and abilities, to facilitate activities and events which create well being, by providing opportunities for physical mental, creative, spiritual and social growth, stimulation, relaxation and fun!



The Activity Centre team members who are committed to the vision and mission.
Back: Kedibone Shongoane (porter), Salina Mtshali (occupational therapy technician), Debbie Christen (Manager: Recreational Programmes) and Joyce Mabowa (porter). Front: Lee-Ann Ramathibela (lifestyle assistant), Marisa Sabato (volunteer and creator of the banner) and Bianca Richards (occupational therapist).


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Happy 101 years old!



Bright-eyed Betty Haughton recently turned 101.

Betty Haughton turned 101 years old on April 19, 2017. The resident of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre celebrated this milestone at a lovely tea with her friends at Woodlands, the care centre wing in which she lives.

The management and staff of the care centre presented her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a special card, which she graciously received. Her friends remarked how amazing and extraordinary Betty is, for reaching the grand age of 101. Betty, however, replied that her birthday is quite ordinary and that to reach this age, ‘you just have to stay alive!’

British born, Betty has lived in South Africa for most of her adult life.

The mother of two sons and matriarch to a brood of grandchildren and great grandchildren, Betty was a keen bowls and bridge player in her younger days. She worked for many years as secretary of Linksfield Primary School.

Today, Betty still keeps herself busy, attending occupational therapy at the care centre where she is always game for any of the activities offered.

Rand Aid Easter celebrations


At their April Lotto draw and tea, Rand Aid’s residents at Elphin Lodge and Ron Smith Care Centre enjoyed a morning of Easter entertainment by popular pianist Martin Lane, as well as an Easter raffle draw and prize-giving for the best Easter masks spotted at the event.

Elphin Lodge resident Felicite Horn won a hamper full of delicious Easter treats, whilst Louis Venter won a homemade Easter fruit cake with a friendly knitted Easter bunny for good measure.

For a change and instead of the traditional Easter bonnets, the care centre residents explored their creativity in the OT Activity Centre and designed Easter masks, which they wore for the morning. Prizes were awarded for the most Easter-like, the most creative, the most unique and the most beautiful, amongst others.



Gordon Smith and volunteer Ethel Ramahuna.


Who is behind the mask? Care centre resident Dina van Holthoon and her carer, Priscilla Dlamini. Dina won a prize for creating a beautiful and colourful mask.


Josephine Kew won for the most eye-catching and Easter-like mask.


Elphin Lodge resident Felicite Horn receives an Easter hamper on behalf of her son in-law Rob Zwaneveld.


Louis Venter won the Easter cake and a knitted bunny.