Friday, 13 September 2019

A ball of a time had by RSCC nursing teams

On September 10, the nursing staff of the Woodlands and Cedar Park wings of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre held a team-building event at the Woodlands Lapa and croquet lawn. 

Weeks before, the two teams had a training and practice session with Recreation Manager Debbie Christen, who taught them the game of croquet and also how to have a golf putting competition.

On the day of the event, both teams pitted their game skills, techniques and strategies against each other, determined to come out tops! At the end of the day, the Woodlands group were the first to complete the croquet course and the Cedar Park team won the golf competition – so both teams were very happy and had so much fun building their team spirit and getting a good dose of fresh air and sunshine in the process. 

Both teams had much to celebrate, so drinks and snacks under the lapa rounded off a wonderful day of fun spent with colleagues.

The Cedar Park team in red: Lucy Kgafela, Noma Malevu, Penelope Mthembu, and Christina Maluka.
The Woodlands team in blue and white: Busi Nxumalo, China Matsane, Florah Mothogoane, Grace Tshikalonge and Gwen Coutinho.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

New OT focuses on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses

People living with dementia need to have a sense of independence and the right level of stimulation, believes Ron Smith Care Centre’s new occupational therapist, Corlia Schutte.

“I have a passion for working with people living with dementia,” she says. “I have found I have the empathy and compassion needed to care for these special individuals.”

A Pretoria resident, Corlia became part of the Rand Aid Association team on August 5, 2019.

She says she hopes to bring a personal touch to the occupational therapy department and intends being as hands-on as possible. She would also like to grow the therapeutic programme at Riverlodge 3, the care centre’s special dementia wing.
 “Sensory stimulation is very important when it comes to the care of frail elders and I would like to be involved in the training of care workers and volunteers in this regard. It is important in dementia care to ensure that a person is stimulated according to their individual and constantly evolving needs.” 
Corlia admires dementia-care education specialist Teepa Snow’s approach, which recognises the dynamic nature of the human brain and its abilities. “She advocates that we should focus on what a person can do, rather than what they cannot,” says Corlia.

A practising occupational therapist for over 20 years, Corlia studied Occupational Therapy at the University of Pretoria after matriculating at Hoёrskool Randburg in 1991.

“I worked in paediatrics for many years but changed direction when I was appointed as an occupational therapist at Ons Tuis old age home. I then worked at Livewell Villages for two years, also as an OT. My time at these establishments cemented my interest in the care of elders,” she says.

“Corlia will enrich our existing programmes and bring skills and talents to the care centre that will strengthen and benefit all,” says Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes, who arranges wonderful social and enrichment programmes for residents of the care centre.

Corlia Schutte, Ron Smith Care Centre’s new occupational therapist.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Cowgirls and boys cavort at Ron Smith Care Centre

Residents and staff at the Ron Smith Care Centre enjoyed a boot-scootin’ good old time on 27 August at the country and western-themed party hosted by the River Lodge 2 wing of the care centre.

The dining room tables were transformed with red and white checkered overlays and clever decorations from the wild west and farm life. Guests were welcomed with happy hour drinks and snacks, including sausage rolls, biltong and tortilla chips; those with a sweet tooth were satisfied with vanilla cupcakes and chocolates! 

The country music of Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, amongst others, played in the background and created the country and western vibe which everyone so enjoyed.

Ecstatic cheering, whistling and applauding took place when the best-dressed men and women were announced: 

Gisela Meinck from River Lodge 2 won the Best-dressed Lady prize; 
Leon Shuker from Cedar Park won the Best-dressed Gentleman prize; and 
Nellie Motshoene from Lakeside won the Best-dressed Staff prize. 

More clapping, hooting , whistling and cheering took place when the River Lodge 2 Country and Western Line Dancers performed three dances: Salty Dog Rag, Hillbilly Rock and Achy Breaky Heart.

All the cowboys and cowgirls had a great time, judging from the happy smiles and laughter, with many of the residents saying that this was the best Happy Hour function they’ve had. It was also a wonderful way to say goodbye to winter and to joyfully welcome the coming of spring!
Violet Mtheroana, James Taylor, Shaka Mahlangu and Myer Fish.

River Lodge 2 hosts of the Country and Western Happy Hour.
Hee-ha! Sarah Richards and Helen Barlow-Jones.

The table decorations that residents and staff made in OT.

Country and Western Line Dancers.

Corlia Schutte – RSCC’s new OT.

Paulina Sepeng & Malcolm Shalekoff.

Alison Bell & Edna van Rensburg. 

 Etienne & Vera Geyser.

 Cleo Makhanya, Dumi Mboweni, Annastasia Thula, Maserame Moilwa, Christine Kincaid-Smith.

 Nomagugu Ncube gives everyone a good ole Country & Western welcome!

Gisela Meinck is ecstatic over winning the best dressed lady prize!

 Shaka Mahlangu congratulates Leon Shuker for winning the Best Dressed Gentleman prize!

 Victor Daniel.

Nellie Motshoene & Molly Matroos.

Lorraine Lowdon rocks the hillbilly look!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Volunteers become Dementia Friends

A group of warm-hearted people have become Dementia Friends, spending time enriching the lives of people living with dementia at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre.

Some of the regular volunteers at the care centre recently indicated that they would like to learn more about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In response to that request, Rand Aid social worker Debbie Beech conducted two ‘Dementia Friends’ sessions for about 20 volunteers in August.

Dementia Friends is an initiative that was started in the UK to raise awareness and change the way people think, act and talk about dementia.

There are five key Dementia Friends messages:

1 Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.
2 Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain.
3. Dementia is not just about losing your memory – it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks.
4 It is possible to live well with dementia.
5 There’s more to the person than the dementia.

The sessions were warmly received and volunteers came away feeling much more enlightened about the disease. They committed to joining the initiative and becoming a Dementia Friend.

There are plans to offer more Dementia Friends sessions to care workers and residents in the near future.

Volunteers at the Ron Smith Care Centre assist in a number of ways, from helping with the walking, music, games, baking and arts and crafts activities, to visiting lonely residents and brightening their day. Volunteers work with all residents and not just those living with dementia.

Currently, a volunteer to teach computer skills is required. For more information, contact Debbie Christen by email at

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Mandela Day Knitathon

Busy hands and caring hearts

Throughout the year, residents of Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge retirement village knitted up a storm and the result was 76 blankets that were handed over to Meal on Wheels on Mandela Day.

Meals on Wheels representatives joined residents and staff from both Elphin Lodge and Ron Smith Care Centre (RSCC) in the village hall on July 18  and after enjoying a lovely tea of sausage rolls, sandwiches and chocolate eclairs, it was time for the programme to begin.

The first order of business was to hand over the 76 blankets and tinned food to Meals on Wheels, who gratefully received the gift on behalf of the vulnerable poor whom they support.
Then it was onto the main challenge of the day: To knit or crochet a square in 67 minutes, so that they can all be joined together to produce blankets for the next worthy charity that needs them.

The stopwatch was activated at 10H30 and at exactly 11H37, time was called! Knitted rows were tallied and winners were declared in both the knitting and crocheting category. 

The results were as follows:

1st place:  Barbara Malan – Elphin Lodge.
2nd place:  Greer James– Elphin Lodge.
3rd place:  Avril Maltman – RSCC, Matron.


1st place: Denise Stewart – RSCC, Volunteer.
2nd place (tie): Sarah Richards and Ronelle Gray – RSCC.

Val Kirschner (left) and Colin Cormack (middle) from Meals on Wheels receive the blankets from Elphin resident Krys Geyser (right).

Felicite Horn and Shirley Boy.

 Third place knitting: Avril Maltman (middle) with Salina Mtshali (left) and Bianca Richards (right).

Second place knitting: Greer James with Bianca Richards.

First place knitting: Barbara Malan with Bianca Richards.

Crocheting: Tied for 2nd place - Ronelle Gray with Salina Mtshali.

Crocheting: Tied for 2nd place - Sarah Richards with Bianca Richards.

First place crocheting: Denise Stewart with Salina Mtshali.

Sue Dickinson.

Jenny Sella (right) with daughter Eve.

Marion Tollitt.

Marlene Gordon and June Branthwaite.

Marisa Sabato and Ronelle Gray.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Rand Aid team embark on journey of growth

 Rand Aid staff embarked on a two-day journey of growth in June when they participated in a training workshop on how to implement and manage change in the complex world of caring for elders. 

Staff representing management, nursing services, social work, recreation and occupational therapy, housekeeping and catering were presented with a six-step growth model and learnt how to work through a logical process that applies to personal, team, and organisational transformation. The workshop participants were also taught how to gather the necessary tools and resources and how to develop an action plan, to sustain the culture change journey.

The training workshop was presented by Magda Pienaar and Yolande Brand from Eden Alternative South Africa and was meaningful, thought-provoking, enlightening and motivating.
 “Various staff have commented that this workshop promoted team building, communication and feelings of connectedness and that they feel inspired to bring this growth model into play,” says Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s GM: Services and Advance Division.

She says it was good to spend time with colleagues and to share perceived strengths and weaknesses. The workshop also reinforced the idea that all the care partners are doing a wonderful but sometimes stressful job, and that it can only be done effectively if they work as a team. 

“They have begun to look at residents, staff and each other with new eyes and have started to think about how to identify and use each individual’s strengths. It was good to realise that there is no pressure to change overnight, but that baby steps can be taken in the ongoing process of change and growth.

“Finally, everyone agreed that one of the best things about this workshop is that the knowledge gained cannot only be used at work, but also in one’s own personal life with family and friends,” says Zabeth.

The members of the Rand Aid team who participated in the Growth Training Workshop.

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.