Friday, 10 May 2019

Team-building outing for River Lodge 3 and Lakeside


Team work and team building is a very important aspect of the Eden Alternative philosophy that the staff and management of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre follow. 


In light of this, each wing of the care centre was recently challenged to plan and implement their own team-building activity. 

Laurentia Jooste, the staff nurse on River Lodge 3, the special dementia wing, rose to the challenge and started the planning process with her team of care workers. As she is a member of the Lombardy East Bowling Club, she asked her staff if they would like to learn how to play bowls. 

They were very keen and they decided that they would also like to invite Sister Tando Ncube and some of her staff from the care centre’s Lakeside wing to join them in the fun. All staff received an invitation as well as the gift of a personalised lanyard with snacks attached.

On a sunny Saturday morning in late April, 11 Rand Aid staff members arrived at the bowling club where they were excitedly welcomed by the owner, Fanie Meyeridricks, manager Charlene Jefferies and five other club members who had already come early to set up and prepare for the arrival of the nursing team.

After tea and snacks, the day’s programme was discussed, with the bowling club organisers getting to know the nursing staff and finding out what their expectations were for the day.

With discussions over, it was time to proceed to the bowling green and learn how to play bowls! A club member was teamed up with two Rand Aid staff members, and the game was explained in simple terms and various bowling and ball handling techniques were demonstrated and taught. 

Around 15 rounds were then played, and the coaches were extremely surprised and delighted at how quickly the Rand Aid team caught on! After another tea break, with the teaching session over, the play began in earnest, as the six teams competed against each other. At the end of the day, Team Laurentia, Portia and Tony were the winning team.

After a full morning of fun and action, all the bowlers were now tired but happy and very hungry – nothing that a good braai couldn’t sort out!  Chicken, pap, wors, and potato salad were enjoyed and declared delicious, as the Rand Aid team chatted happily about their day’s experience, proud of their success and motivated to do a little planning for the future.  

Staff nurse Laurentia is grateful to her club for organising the day and felt that “it was so nice to have the opportunity to get closer to care centre staff on a social level”. She was also happy that the bowling club members enjoyed interacting with Rand Aid staff.   

Auxiliary nurse Evelyn Shilubane said that it was wonderful to be able to learn the sport from experienced players, and that “they were so friendly and patient with us”. Care worker Jennifer Sigida discovered that playing bowls “is a very nice sport, where you can exercise your mind and your body” and was pleased that the club invited them to come back again and to join the club as members.  

Sister Tando was overwhelmed by the open-hearted hospitality shown to the Rand Aid team and was impressed with how beautifully organised the day was. “Our hosts and teachers introduced us to a whole new world and besides the joy and fun we had, we all felt so connected to each other.”  

Housekeeping staff member Portia Tshayisa said that she enjoyed the day very much. It was the first time that she had gone out with other Rand Aid staff members and the whole experience “was very special to me”.



Rand Aid staff members and members of the Lombardy East Bowling Club.



The RSCC team all set for a fun day at the Lombardy East Bowling Club.


Enjoying drinks and snacks for energy!


Jennifer Sigida gets some friendly pointers from Steve.


Lufuno Nemutanzhela.


Julia Molotsi.




Ken shows Jennifer how it’s done.


Experienced bowler, Laurentia Jooste shows fine form.


Beauty Buthelezi, Joe, and Nolly Mlandu.




Eden Alternative: Ron Smith Care Centre leads the way


Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre remains an Eden Alternative pioneer in South Africa, two-and-a-half years after becoming the first organisation in Gauteng to become a member of the Eden Alternative South Africa registry.

Founded in America, the Eden Alternative is revolutionising the way in which elders are cared for. The core concept of the Eden Alternative is about teaching us to see places where elders live as habitats for human beings rather than facilities for the frail and elderly. Eden Alternative thus sees aging as a continued stage of development and growth and not as a period of decline.

Four milestones have to be reached in order to fully master the Eden Alternative philosophy. Ron Smith Care Centre began its Eden Alternative journey in 2012, when a presentation was made to the Rand Aid board. At the end of 2016, after a process of physical, cultural, organisational and personal transformation, the criteria for Milestone One was reached and the care centre became only the second in Africa to achieve Eden Registry membership.
In 2018, it achieved registry renewal, which is required every two years.

Today, there are five other organisations in South Africa which are in the process of completing Milestone One, which will entitle them to Eden Registry membership.
Ron Smith Care Centre, meanwhile, is working towards achieving Milestone Two, which reflects the leadership’s commitment to spreading culture change throughout the organisation and preparing everyone to take an active role in change initiatives.
It is hoped that Milestone Two will be achieved this year.

“Milestone Two recognises that wise leadership is the life blood of the struggle against the three plagues facing our elders – that of loneliness, helplessness and boredom,” says Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes, who is part of the team managing the care centre’s Eden Alternative journey.

“It also emphasises that creating an elder-centred community is a never ending process, while focusing on restoring meaning to the lives of our elders. This is done by caring for the person and not the disease or disability that a resident is living with  and bringing decision making closer to the resident.

“To achieve Milestone Two, personal, organisational and physical transformation is required,” she says.

“Residents, staff, families and volunteers are all getting to know each other better, beyond their positions, roles, medical conditions or outward appearances,” says Debbie of the care centre’s Eden Alternative experiences.

“Activities and events are geared towards learning individual’s identities, making them meaningful, and giving people opportunities to meet each other, socialise, connect and have fun,” she says, explaining that the care centre’s ‘Who Am I’ initiative has been particularly successful in allowing residents, staff and volunteers to learn about others beyond a superficial level.

“I have so enjoyed being able to contribute to human growth and have particularly enjoyed working with and empowering different levels of staff in the planning and implementing of events and activities. These events not only bring meaning and joy to our residents but allow our staff to use their own unique gifts and talents.

“Some examples which spring to mind are the Happy Hours hosted in turn by the staff of our six wings, the annual Heritage Day event and Christmas Celebration, at which the staff provide the entertainment by planning, preparing and rehearsing for a musical skit or other item that they present on the day.

“In other words, we are providing our own entertainment by developing and exploring the gifts and talents of our residents and staff and giving them the chance to shine.  And the whole process is as valuable as the outcome.  

“After the Christmas 2018 event, where the staff performed a care centre version of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, resident Jill Jones commented: ‘Very well done, particularly to you, but also to the cast, who thoroughly enjoyed it, and brought to the fore talents which I don’t think they were aware of. They had such fun performing and felt so good afterwards. What memories to keep for them. I just looked at the glowing faces as they took their bows. It was so lovely to see!”

Debbie says that the care centre’s volunteers also make an immense contribution to the well being of the care centre residents. “They all contribute in different ways – some of them run activities, some assist with OT activities, some do very special work with our residents living with dementia, some visit individuals and all volunteers add energy, warmth, caring, communication and connection to and with our elders.

“They make connections and build relationships.”

Debbie explains that globally, there is an elder loneliness epidemic. She says that as a society, we are lonelier than we have ever been. 

“In terms of our residents here, many of them receive few visitors. They are at an age where their friends and spouses are no longer with them, children may live overseas and many of them long for deep and engaging communication and connection with another human being.” 

She says that the care centre’s staff and volunteers have helped combat loneliness by building precious relationships with residents.

“Our nursing staff reach out to residents beyond standard nursing duties,” says Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s GM Services and Advance Division. “They offer hand massages, read to residents from a favourite book, participate in building or doing puzzles and know what the favourite foods are of the residents in their care. They even know which clothes they like wearing for different occasions.”

Filtering Eden Alternative throughout the organisation

Rand Aid runs a number of retirement villages and two care centres and although Ron Smith Care Centre has pioneered Rand Aid’s Eden Alternative journey, the philosophy of people-centred care is being spread throughout the organisation.
To date, 64 staff members across various levels have become Eden Associates after undergoing training and completing formal courses. Of these, 37 are from Ron Smith Care Centre.

“Most of our staff members understand, embrace and support the Eden Alternative philosophy, but do find it quite a challenge to put it into practice in their very busy days. It is truly an ongoing process to apply aspects of the philosophy to daily life at the care centre,” explains Debbie.

She says that an education plan is in place to impart knowledge of the Eden Alternative to residents, staff, volunteers and families. “Families and visitors to the care centre can actually see and experience what makes the Ron Smith Care Centre an Eden home.”

“We have received an increased number of both written and verbal thanks from families. In these letters, they mention the warm and caring relationships between their loved one and the care staff. They say it is such a comfort to them to know that their loved one is cared for with warmth and in ways that respect their identity and dignity,” says Zabeth.

Nothing sterile here

Beautiful grounds with gardens, flowers, plants and trees, a lake with ducks and other bird life, walking paths, outdoor recreation and hospitality areas with braais where one can socialise or be entertained, a croquet and golf or putt-putt area, swimming pool and jungle gyms for visiting grandchildren make Ron Smith Care Centre a place people are happy to call home.

“We have a herb garden, resident cats Candy and Stripe, a chicken coop and with permission, some residents have brought along their own cats or birds.

“Since the huge renovations done prior to us achieving Milestone One, our bathrooms have been upgraded and are now custom-designed to suit the needs of the elderly frail.
“Upgraded dining areas help improve the meal time experience and those residents wanting a break from our dining hall, can visit our pretty, on-site coffee shop.”

The care centre’s multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapist, occupational therapist technician, lifestyle assistant and recreation manager ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of residents.

Debbie adds that nursing care is no longer based on hospital routines, but is based upon person-directed care, with the residents having more autonomy in terms of when they wish to bathe, shower, dress and have their meals.

“Our friendly, caring staff uphold the Eden Alternative way of living out the motto: Warm hearts and caring hands.

“In short, we have made it our mission to create a better world for the people who live and work here; to promote wellbeing and a quality of life where they can live life to the fullest as part of a loving, caring and supportive community.”

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY CENTRE

The Eden Alternative philosophy is based on the core belief that ageing should be a continuous stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline. The activity centre is one place in the complex where the staff makes it their mission to ensure that there is growth rather than decline amongst the residents and staff. And it is a place where residents can engage in meaningful activities which bring them joy and purpose.

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME

The 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 wellbeing.

In the midst of a busy day, it is often the physical/medical needs that receive priority.  But since embarking on an Eden Alternative journey, we are committed to providing our residents with more holistic and person-centred care, where we recognise and address their physical, social, creative, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs.

This is where our volunteers really make a difference and fill in the gaps. Volunteers may never know the profound effect that they may have made 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. 

GRATITUDE WINDOW

Photographs of the residents, staff, family and volunteers are an important part of the care centre and are so meaningful to all.  We generally put up a display of photos on our Gratitude Window after every special event or function, along with words thanking all those who played a part in making the event happen.

Visitors really seem to get a positive vibe when they look at the pictures and family members are reassured and happy to see that their loved ones attend and participate in meaningful activities which bring them joy.  One can see, through the pictures, that many positive connections and relationships have been formed and that magical and memorable moments have taken place.

Each of the six wings have their own special Magical Moments Memory Boards, which are filled with photos of residents, staff and volunteers enjoying themselves at various events, functions and activities.

REFLECTING ON THE EDEN ALTERNATIVE JOURNEY

Ron Smith Care Centre started is Eden Alternative journey in 2012 and was awarded a place on the Eden Registry in 2016. Since then, the care centre has been continuously committed to making a number of physical, cultural, operational and organisational changes to transform the environment in which the elders live.

“We have undertaken a journey to transform from a traditional, clinical, sterile hospital-like facility where the focus is on providing nursing care, into a warm and vibrant home which is based on person-centred care, where we care for the whole person,” says Debbie.

“We strive to create a place where each person feels known, valued and affirmed, where their individual needs and preferences are addressed, where they feel safe and secure, where they have opportunities to grow, develop new interests and engage in meaningful activities which bring them joy and purpose, where they are offered choices and encouraged to take part in planning and decision making, where they have opportunities to socialise with family and friends and to develop deep connections and relationships. 




Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Ron Smith Care Centre holds Easter hunt for residents

 Who says that going on an Easter egg hunt is just for children? It’s definitely for ‘big children’ as well, as the residents and staff of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre proved.

Tuesday, April 16, dawned sunny and bright and was the perfect weather for the care centre residents to go hunting for Easter eggs.

Assisted by various staff and volunteers, the residents were taken on a mad dash around the garden courtyard area to search high and low for the coveted marshmallow eggs. In addition, there were three other special eggs to be found. The golden egg would net first prize, the pink egg was worth second prize, and the purple egg would win third prize.

Motivated by the thought of all that chocolate, residents and staff made sure that they covered every nook and cranny of the specified area for the hunt!  And after all the fun and excitement, it was time for tea and hot cross buns back at the hall, followed by a spot of dancing to some very lively music. It was a wonderful morning, enjoyed by all.



The golden egg finder and first prize winner was Dan Oi Loo (right), pictured with Shirley Makwarela.


Peggy Roberts and Ans van Schie.


Tickled pink after finding the pink egg that netted him second prize was Etienne Geyser (right) with members of the Ron Smith Care Centre team Beatrice Nzimande (left) and Debbie Christen (middle).


Third prize went to Marie Roberts (middle). She is pictured with Cathrine Mpe (left) and Suzanne Givenoni (right).


Jennifer Sigida and Alison Bell.


Louise Newman.


Mary Nilius and Nomsa.


Debbie Christen and Heather Zipp.


Gladys Rosenberg, Bianca Richards and Lorna Topp.


Blessed Nyathi and Eleanor Motsepe.


Colleen Blowe, Shirley Makwarela, and Dan Oi Loo.


Margaret Richardson, Bianca Richards, and Julia Mali.


Happy Easter Dancing!


Olive Jew and Cathrine Mpe.


Jean Irons.


Beryl Venter and Jane Hart-Davis.


 Lettia Nyelele and Mariana Duvenage.


Brian Russell and Ron Adcock.


 Salina Mtshali and Megan Weeks.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Kitty turns 102



Ron Smith Care Centre resident Kitty Venn celebrated yet another milestone on April 5, 2019, when she turned 102.

Residents and staff of the care centre’s Lakeside wing joined Kitty’s daughter Carol Cunningham and Kitty’s youngest sister, Merle Price, for a tea and scrumptious carrot cake. Merle also lives in Lakeside.

Kitty moved into Rand Aid Association’s Elphin Lodge in 2000 after her husband died and 15 years later, in her late 90s, moved to the care centre set in the grounds of Elphin Lodge.

Born Doreen Ruby Mole in 1917 in Swakopmund, South West Africa, Kitty was the fourth of 12 children. She puts her longevity down to a life of happiness, eating everything in moderation, exercise (she played tennis well into her 80s), playing bridge and being blessed with a loving family.


Residents and staff from Lakeside celebrate Kitty’s 102nd birthday.


Kitty Venn with her daughter Carol Cunningham her younger sister Merle Price.


Kitty Venn with her daughter Carol Cunningham.


Kitty Venn was treated like a queen on her 102nd birthday. She received a card and orchid from Rand Aid.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Residents and staff powder and preen for evening of glamour


Glitz and glam happy hour

On March 27, the residents and staff of Rand Aid-run Ron Smith Care Centre dressed up in their glittering finery to attend a Glitz and Glam-themed happy hour,  hosted by the staff of the very special  River Lodge 3 dementia wing.

Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes explains: “In planning this event, we wanted to create excitement, anticipation and memories around those times when our residents and staff dressed up in their festive finery for a special occasion, party, celebration or event – a time when they pulled out all the stops to look their best.

“In choosing this theme, we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to come out of the ordinariness and routine of daily life and to experience the joy, fun and excitement of a dress-up function. We recognised the fact that there was a time in our residents’ lives when many of them enjoyed planning their festive attire and looked forward to parties and social gatherings.”

Preparations began months in advance, with residents and staff working on the sparkly decorations in the Activity Centre, practicing dance routines to entertain the guests, and planning outfits and the food and beverages menu.

On the day, the OT Activity Centre was transformed into a beauty salon for glittery make up to be applied, for those who wanted to be extra sparkly! There was excitement in the air as staff helped their residents dress for the occasion, with last minute borrowing of jewellery and bits of bling taking place. 

The best dressed lady, gentleman and staff member of the evening were voted for, and the winners were cheered and applauded, as they happily accepted their prizes.   The guests particularly enjoyed a bit of an impromptu fashion parade, as the staff finalists showed off their sartorial splendour!

Champagne (including the non-alcoholic version), wine and fruit punch were the beverages on offer, with guests also enjoying snack platters consisting of green, red, and black grapes, cheddar cheese, cream cheese with sweet chili sauce, an assortment of crackers, cocktail-sized quiche, sausage rolls and chocolate eclairs.

The evening’s entertainment concluded with the host staff performing some lively dances and ending off with residents and staff dancing and moving to the Macarena.  Resident Ria Standing acknowledged that she “very much appreciates events like this, because it lifts our spirits and gives us a real boost”.


Gail Spinks, the winner of best dressed lady award.


The staff hosts of the Glitz and Glam Happy Hour.


Fikile Ndabezitha and Merle Price.


Gill Holliman.


Sherill Singh and Joy Smith.


Mary Nilius and Ndifelani Mavhila.


Brian Russell and Vernon Schultz.


Penny Mthembu, Pam Martins (best dressed staff) and Noma Malevu.


Peggy Roberts.


Asnath Muthaki and Ronelle Gray.


Sister Loraine Martiny and Pam Martins.


Vernon Schultz takes a bow as he is voted the best dressed gentleman of the evening!


 Douglas Morgan and Theresa Richards enjoy a dance together.


Evelyn Shilubane, Noel Tilney, and Nolly Mlandu.


Debbie Christen and Helen Barlow-Jones.


Brian Russell, Bianca Richards and Vernon Schultz.