Friday, 12 January 2018

Heart-warming Christmas celebrations at care centre

On December 19, there was a flurry of activity at the Ron Smith Care Centre as final preparations were made for the Christmas party to be held the following day. The decorations were up, the cutlery was polished, the tables were laid, the pretty Christmas tree centre-pieces with angels, garland and tinsel were placed, and a final staff practice of the Christmas entertainment was held.

The care centre staff, all dressed in red and white and wearing Santa hats, began the celebrations with a procession into the hall, singing Silent Night. They continued with the carols: Once in Royal David’s City, Away in a Manger, Jingle Bells, Mary’s Boy Child and a rousing Joy to the World. Then it was the residents’ turn to sing along to lovely piano music by volunteer, Jean Johnson, as she played some of their favourites: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, The Drummer Boy and We wish you a Merry Christmas, amongst others.

Following the singing, there was a special performance by staff, who acted out the lyrics to The 12 Days of Christmas. As an introduction, Debbie Christen,  Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes, reminded the audience that this old English carol was actually about a love-sick gentleman plying his sweetheart with a series of gifts which increase in quantity and volume over each of the 12 days.

The Ron Smith Care Centre staff’s comical interpretation of this old fashioned song brought smiles of delight and laughter, as they recognised those representing the 12 drummers drumming, the 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight milk maids milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

Next was a surprise visit by Santa Claus (aka volunteer Dave Stewart), whose arrival was heralded with the jingle of sleigh bells and a very loud, “Ho Ho Ho – Merry Christmas”. He handed out Sweetie Pies to all the residents, with the help of his two elves. The Christmas programme wrapped up with staff and residents singing to Feliz Navidad, with the staff dancing around the hall, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

The residents then moved across to the dining room for a lovely Christmas lunch, which consisted of a Salmon mousse starter, followed by roast sirloin of beef and lamb, roast potatoes, and vegetables. A lovely sherry trifle rounded off the delicious meal.

Care centre resident Gordon Ross summed up the celebration by saying: “I don’t think that I have ever attended anything before, where people enjoyed themselves like that... to be a part of this was very heart-warming.”

International recognition for Rand Aid

South Africa’s Rand Aid Association – based in Lyndhurst – has been recognised in a World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the development of long-term care systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

WHO’s report, ‘Towards long-term care systems in sub-Saharan Africa’, lists Rand Aid in a section titled ‘Innovative approaches for delivering organised care’. It includes Rand Aid’s financial model as a possible pathway to promote sustainability, equity and accessible care. At the same time it recognises the importance of the organisation’s person-centred approach to improve the dignity of care dependent older persons.

The report reads: ‘Rand Aid is a registered non-profit-making organisation that serves a dual purpose: it provides a range of upscale retirement accommodation and long-term care to older people who can afford it. This generates a source of income that is used to assist other older people in need.

‘Currently, around 1 800 older people reside in Rand Aid properties, including approximately 360 who live in long-term care (frail care) facilities.

‘Units in these retirement villages are sold on the life rights concept. Residents buy the right to live in the village and they (or their estate) receive 80% of the initial purchase price when they depart. In addition, residents pay a monthly fee for services that are available to them.

‘Villages offer housing, 24-hour security, nursing care, garden and domestic services, physiotherapy and podiatry. Every effort is made to ensure that residents’ needs are met. At one of Rand Aid’s two long-term facilities, residents pay for their board and lodge in full. The other facility receives a small government subsidy but is funded mainly by the organisation through a cross-subsidy of a portion of the 20% of the life rights purchase price.

‘Long-term care facilities offer multi-disciplinary and personalised care to those who need help in order to maintain their functional ability. The facilities have adopted the Eden Alternative philosophy, which aims to transform traditional, institutionalised long-term care facilities into human habitats.’

In December 2016, Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre became the first organisation in Gauteng – and the second in Africa – to become a member of Eden Alternative South Africa registry. It is thus gratifying to note that the WHO report makes particular note of the centre’s care philosophy: 

‘Based on the principles of person-centred care, the facilities emphasise freedom of choice for all residents. Older people and their families are involved in care planning and residents are encouraged and enabled to exercise autonomy in their day-to-day lives to the maximum extent possible.

‘Integrated care teams of nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, occupational therapists, medical doctors (on call), recreation officers and volunteers provide a range of services to residents in these facilities.

‘The full-pay long-term care facility is located within one of the retirement villages, thus enabling ageing in place, if residents’ care needs increase over time. This facility also features a specialised dementia unit. The subsidised long-term care facility, which is also situated in spacious grounds, accommodates 180 older people in particular need of 24-hour nursing care.’

The WHO report recognises that Rand Aid, being over 100 years old, has demonstrated financial sustainability and that the cross-subsidisation model requires careful financial balance between its income-generating activities and its charity work.

In response to Rand Aid’s inclusion in the report, the CEO, Rae Brown, said that this is an excellent recognition of the efforts of the organisation to provide sustainable care to older persons across the income spectrum and to ensure that the principles of dignity and respect are enhanced through a person-centred approach.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas family tea at Ron Smith Care Centre

Jill Jones, a resident on Ron Smith Care Centre’s Woodlands wing, writes:
Sister Gwen conceived the excellent idea of a Christmas family tea for the residents of Woodlands, to be held on Sunday afternoon, December 3, 2018.
A residents meeting was called and the idea discussed and agreed upon with enthusiasm, about 2 1/2 weeks before the due date.
The function was to be held in front of Woodlands on the verandah and lawn, with chairs, tables and umbrellas used where necessary.
Residents were invited to submit names and numbers of family members, or friends, who would like to attend, and invitations were sent out, one per family. Each family was asked to bring a plate of eats, and anything else they would like to drink, apart from tea, coffee or juice, which would be provided here.
Staff formed a choir to sing carols, and a Boney M CD was found with Christmas carols on it as a guide and background support.
Rehearsals began immediately.
Sunday was a perfect day, and Sr Gwen and the nurses worked so hard setting up tables and umbrellas. Christmas decorations on the tables. As well as red swathed cloths on green and white cloths and overlays gave the whole area a very festive atmosphere.
The hugely successful event began at 2pm and the last guests left after 4 pm. The carols had been sung, and a surprise piper arrived and piped a few tunes, including Scotland the Brave, and Amazing Grace.
After the guests had departed the great clean up began, and most was done by supper time.
We all enjoyed the afternoon immensely, residents and visitors alike, and all our grateful thanks go to Sr Gwen for being the driving force behind it all and working so hard.
She really cares for us and always has our interests and welfare at heart. She is so appreciated.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Volunteers shown appreciation at Ron Smith Care Centre

Left to right: Helen Dix, Christine van Rooyen, Jean Johnson, Sheryl Emmett, and Carroll Prigge enjoying the pizza party.

Zabeth Zühlsdorff and Sue van der Neut.

Margaret O’Donoghue and Helen Petrie.

Sheryl Emmett and Debbie Christen.

Seated left to right: Viv Michler, Krys Geyser, Clair Harding, Marisa Sabato and Tania Sabato. Standing: Jean Johnson and Zabeth Zühlsdorff.

Seated left to right:  Margaret O’Donoghue, Lorna Turner, Joseph Capelle, Edel Froschauer, Philippina Deppe, Beulah Ganesh and Marina Smith. Standing: Ronnie Cumming.

Helen Petrie, Lee Ann Ramathibela and Salina Mtshali.

Making the delicious pizzas.

 Jean Johnson, Denise McGee and Gloria Maddison.

  Bianca Richards, Salina Mtshali and Dara Migliore.

The wonderful volunteers who give so much of their time and energy to the residents of Ron Smith Care Centre.

Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre is fortunate to have a group of dedicated volunteers who offer the gift of their time, talents and skills to touch and enrich the lives of our Elders and to add to their health and well-being.

To thank them for their services and to show them how much they are valued and appreciated, management hosted a wonderful pizza party under the willow trees by the lake on November 30.

Fortunately it was a beautiful, sunny day. The theme of the event was to honour the care centre’s ‘volunteer angels’, so the décor included colourful paper angels made by some of the residents in the OT Activity Centre,  which were hung from the trees.

In addition, Zabeth Zühlsdorff from Rand Aid’s head office and Helen Petrie, complex manager, presented each volunteer with a hand-made candle that was decorated with a beaded angel. The attached personalised card conveyed ‘thanks for brightening up our world, touching lives and making a difference at RSCC’.

Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes, thanked the volunteers for building relationships; for taking the time to try and connect with the residents and for simply caring and listening. In the day-to-day care of older people, it is often easy to focus on giving them physical care and to neglect their psycho-social, emotional and spiritual care.

In the midst of a busy day when there are staff shortages and older people with high level care needs, it is often the physical/medical needs that receive priority. But since embarking on an Eden Alternative journey, the care centre is committed to providing its residents with a more holistic and person-centred care, in which residents’ physical, social, creative, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs are recognised and addressed.

And this is where the volunteers really make a difference and fill in the gaps.

Debbie thanked them for coming along with their smiles, their hugs, their humour, their many acts of kindness and compassion and for taking the time to try and connect, care and listen. With these gifts, it is possible to change somebody’s world in an instant! 

A volunteer may end up being the world to one person and may never know the profound effect that they may have had on a person’s life. A kind word, a gentle touch, a caring heart or a listening ear can mean so much to someone who is bored, lonely, sick, or living with dementia. 

Debbie reminded them that, “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” and concluded with the saying that, “volunteers are not paid because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!”

The appreciation event was a huge success and served to unite the volunteer corps with a common purpose. All of the volunteers expressed their delight, gratitude and appreciation for being recognised in such a special way.

  The gift presented to each volunteer with the message: Thank you for lighting up our world, touching lives and making a difference at Ron Smith Care Centre.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Mama Mia, what a party!

Val Glanvill, Sister Gwen Coutinho and Aletha de Klerk.

The staff and residents at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre, particularly those on the Woodlands wing, were excited for weeks as they planned and prepared for an
Italian-themed Happy Hour for the entire care centre on November 15.

The dining room venue was gaily decorated in green, white and red (the colours of the Italian flag) and guests were invited to wear the same colours, which were very bright and colourful. Each table was decorated with a tin centrepiece which was filled with a paper flower fan with a cheerful, moustached Italian chef in its centre holding a big pizza, the Italian flag, red and green flowers and some raw spaghetti!
These unique creations were made by the residents and staff in the OT Activity Centre.  On the menu were home-made pizza, sausage rolls, themed cupcakes (also made by the residents and staff) and Sangria, light white wine or non-alcoholic punch.

The residents were divided into five teams: Teams Spaghetti, Macaroni, Ravioli, Cannelloni and Lasagne and participated in a memory and colouring-in challenge.
The quickest team to complete the challenge correctly won the prize. Team Lasagne took the honours! The best dressed female resident prize was awarded to Sylvia Dale from Woodlands; the best dressed male resident was Enzo Merolla from River Lodge 1 and the best dressed staff person was Hilda Mabaso – housekeeping supervisor.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the musical skit performed by some of the care centre staff. They acted out the lyrics to a piece of music entitled, “Home to Mama” which is an upbeat light-hearted song about a handsome young Italian man who travels the world, searching for a wife. Along the way, he encounters a Spanish girl (full of fire!), a French girl (ooh-la-la!), an English girl (pretty but shy) and Lorna from California (really wild!). There’s a problem, however, he simply can’t decide whom to marry – they are all beautiful. What should he do? He comes up with a brilliant solution. He will take them home to his Italian Mama and let her choose his bride.

The staff gave a lively, hilarious performance which had the audience laughing, singing, clapping and cheering. Mama Mia, what a happy, joyful time was had by all!

The colourful table decor.

The cast from the musical skit, “Home to Mama”.  Left to right: Iketeleng Kunyane, Pamela Martins, Hilda Mabaso, Lily Mathebula, Francina Mahlo and Joyce Mabowa.

Debbie Christen (manager recreational programmes) introducing the Spanish Girl (Lily Mathebula).

Staff and residents from Woodlands (aka Team Ravioli and the evening’s hosts) with the cast from the musical skit, “Home to Mama”.

What creative centrepieces!

The preparation was as much fun as the day itself!

The colourfully decorated venue.

Seen encouraging resident Ann Brokensha from Team Spaghetti, in the Memory and Colouring-in Challenge are: Noma Mavelu, Adolphina  Magwete and Iketeleng Kunyane.

Lindiwe Matsemela assists Patricia Graham with the challenge, whilst captain of Team Macaroni, Ria van der Westhuizen, looks on.

 Everyone applauds as Enzo Merolla takes the prize for the best dressed gentleman.

Hilda Mabaso wins the prize for best dressed staff member. 

Winning the prize for the best dressed lady is Patricia Dale.

Violet Moyo and Ronald Merton.

Olimpia D’ Ascenzo and James Taylor.