Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Gardening group brightens care centre for Mother’s Day

Ron Smith Care Centre residents, staff and volunteers are full of smiles after having planted violas and pansies for Mother’s Day. 

Rand Aid Association’s Ron Smith Care Centre’s gardening group meets every other week in one of the wings at the care centre. At their last gathering, the group enjoyed planting violas and pansies for Mother’s Day.

The gardening group is run by volunteers Leung and Elaine Ho. Leung, a horticulturalist, has a Baccalaureus Technologiae in Horticulture from UNISA and a special interest in using gardening activities for therapeutic purposes.
He adheres to the belief that plants, gardening activities and the innate closeness we all feel towards nature can be used as a vehicle to bring certain therapeutic benefits to participants.
Over time, simple gardening tasks practiced in a group can provide sensory and memory stimulation, increase movement, improve orientation to reality, increase a sense of community and decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

Ron Smith Care Centre residents spent an enjoyable morning planting colourful flowers into lovely ceramic shopping bag pots, which were designed and made by Leung.   

The Ron Smith Care Centre has plants for sale and the proceeds are used for operating the gardening programme.

For more information about Ron Smith Care Centre, visit www.randaid.co.za.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Ron Smith Care Centre celebrates its new Woodlands Garden

Enjoying the beautiful new garden area surrounding the lapa are John Robinson, Chairman of the Rand Aid Board, Anthony Schaffler from Schaffler’s Nurseries, Zabeth Zuhlsdorff, General Manager, Advanced Division and Rae Brown, Rand Aid’s CEO.

Rand Aid Association’s Ron Smith Care Centre celebrated the opening of its Woodlands Garden and its facilities on 20 April.

Board members, employees, residents and village committees celebrated the opening of the lovely landscaped area -  which was designed by Anthony Schaffler from Schaffler Nurseries - and includes a beautiful new lapa, with braai facilities; a pavilion overlooking the new Astroturf croquet lawn; mini golf (putt-putt); and a jungle gym for children who visit their loved ones.

“The opening of Woodlands Gardens is another great occasion in the ongoing redevelopment, renovation and expansion of the Ron Smith Care Centre,” said John Robinson, Rand Aid’s chairman of the board.

Over the past five years the care centre has been transformed to offer even better care for elders and its redesign ensures that it is able to care for their special needs.

Robinson acknowledged that the introduction of the Eden Alternative has ensured this transformation.

“The enthusiasm, training and dedication of management and staff has contributed to making this one of the best care establishments of its type in Africa. The Ron Smith Care Centre has been recognised for its exemplary provision of care, facilities and services for the aged by the United Nations World Health Organisation,” he confirmed.

Part of the opening celebration involved the unveiling of a plaque, which acknowledges a heartfelt donation from Barry and Theresa Dubb, in honour of Barry’s mother Joyce Dubb, a resident at Ron Smith. When the Dubbs got married, they requested that donations be made to the care centre in lieu of wedding gifts and it is this funding which kick-started the garden project.

The croquet lawn and putt-putt course were officially opened when residents Sylvia Laserow hit a croquet ball through a wicket and Christine Kincaid-Smith attempted a putt-putt hole-in-one!  A champagne toast, in honour of the new garden and facilities, followed.

The care centre’s employees concluded the event in traditional dress, singing a beautiful blessing for the garden.

Robinson is sure that Woodlands Garden is a welcome addition to the care centre and will bring much enjoyment and to residents and their families and friends.

Ron Smith Care Centre’s complex manager Helen Petrie invited guests to view the new widened bridge over the Jukskei River (the old one was destroyed by severe storms and flooding in November 2016) and said that it can now accommodate golf carts and wheelchairs. This increased accessibility will hopefully encourage more interaction between all of Rand Aid’s retirement villages.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Care centre’s grand dame turns 102

When Betty Haughton was born, World War I was raging, and stainless steel had just been invented as a way of improving the quality of gun barrels. Movies were to remain silent for another 11 years, when the first ‘talkie’, The Jazz Singer, was screened.

On April 19, 2018, this well-loved resident of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre turned 102, just two weeks after fellow resident Kitty Venn turned 101.
The management and staff of the care centre presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a special card.
Born in Britain, Betty lived in South Africa for most of her adult life. She was a keen bowls and bridge player and worked for many years as secretary of Linksfield Primary School.

Volunteers needed to walk with elders

Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre is set in the beautiful, expansive grounds of the Elphin Lodge Complex.

With a dam, prolific birdlife and stunning gardens, it is the perfect place to revive your soul, and what better way to do that, than by taking a walk through the village.

Walking as a recreational activity has numerous health benefits and can increase a sense of wellbeing as one experiences the joys of being outdoors. Walking can also lessen the symptoms of arthritis, decrease anxiety and depression and improve overall heart health.
With these benefits in mind, a walking group was started for the care centre residents a few years ago and is highly dependent on the help of volunteers as some participants are in wheelchairs and need to be pushed, while others need someone to walk by their side.

Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager:  Recreational Programmes says, “The Eden Alternative philosophy which we follow is based on the core belief that ageing should be a continuous stage of development, growth and pursuit of meaningful and joyful activities.  To this end, we so value our volunteers, who help our elders to keep their bodies, minds and spirits engaged and active.”

The Walking Programme takes place on Mondays from 11:00am and Thursdays from 10:30am. If you are able to volunteer your time, please contact Debbie on 011 882 6296 or email dchristen@randaid.co.za

Thursday, 12 April 2018

101 years of bright smiles

Ron Smith Care Centre resident Kitty Venn turned 101 on April 5, 2018.  

The ever-smiling birthday girl was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, birthday greetings and special wishes from fellow residents and staff of the Rand Aid Association-run care centre.

A tennis player until shortly before she turned 80, Kitty lived independently until she was 98 when a fall and subsequent hip replacement necessitated her move to the care centre.
Born Doreen Ruby Mole in 1917 in Swakopmund, South West Africa, she was the fourth child in a family of 12 children.

She and husband Oliver had four children, 18 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren.
Kitty still enjoys frequent walks – albeit it with a walker.
“She is an amazing lady with a smile that just lights up and encompasses all those in her presence,” says Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes.

Kitty Venn with Staff Nurse Tondani Mudau and Matron Avril Maltman.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Care centre’s jazzy Sophiatown Happy Hour

Cedar Park staff: Phumudzo Nephiphidi, Adolphina Magwete, Cleo Makhanya, Doli Ncube, Shirley Makwarela and Thizwi Ramavhoya.

The residents and staff of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre were treated to a wonderful Happy Hour event on March 27. The designated hosts of the evening were the staff and residents of River Lodge One, and they planned, plotted and prepared for the Happy Hour with the intention of celebrating the music, dance, food and culture of Sophiatown in the 50s.

Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes explains: “The staff and residents of the whole care centre were invited to dress in the fashion of the 50s, so many of the ladies wore smart dresses, hats, gloves, handbags and jewellery, whilst some of the female staff dressed according to the male dress code of the era: shirts, ties, braces, and trousers, topped with a jaunty fedora on their head. Still others opted for a jacket and tie, topped with a tweed poor boy cap. Everyone showed a lot of creativity with their fashion and when prizes were presented to the best and most authentically dressed, the recipients were wildly applauded.”

When guests arrived in the main dining room, they were delighted with the decorations, most of which were made by staff and residents in the OT Activity Centre. Tins decorated with colourful African designs and cheerful paper sunflowers contained silhouettes of Sophiatown musicians, saxophones, trumpets and ladies dressed in their 50s finery. Old LP records were used to underline each place setting on the tables and colourful balloons added to the festive atmosphere.

Home-made ginger beer, vetkoek with cheese, chicken pies, boerewors slices and iced ginger cakes as well as wine and sherry were the delicious food and beverage offerings and were enjoyed by all. Once the snacks and drinks were served it was time for the entertainment.

Both the staff and residents of River Lodge One had spent many weeks making up and practising some special dances for everyone’s pleasure. As there was a whole type of culture that formed in Sophiatown which was based on pennywhistle music, kwela dancing, beer brewing and weekend dance parties, the staff danced to Miriam Makeba’s song, Pata Pata, then did the Kwela Jive to music by Hugh Masekela and Mafikizolo. 

This was followed by the residents doing a lively Chair Dance to a piece of music by Mango Groove. The final staff dance was performed to Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s song, Umqombothi, in which they acted and danced out a story of the women of Sophiatown working hard to make and serve the special African Beer that their men folk demanded every weekend in the shebeens. This dance created much laughter as the audience recognized the authenticity of the performance – it was very real!  

Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s General Manager: Advanced Division commented: “What a delightful evening and I am so pleased I attended. It was clear that this was much more than an event. The care and thought that went into planning, preparing and practising was evident; also the enjoyment and anticipation it created – amongst both residents and staff.

“Congratulations and thanks to everyone who had a hand in this – the joy it brought to all who attended was evident.

“In between all the fun and laughter. I also witnessed tender loving care… and many other little incidences which spoke of the affection between residents and staff from all the wings… it is great to see how relationships have developed.”

The hosts of the Sophiatown-themed Happy Hour – Ron Smith Care Centre River Lodge One staff and residents.

Woodlands staff: Joyce Mabowa, Lily Mathebula, Mildred Nyoni, Iketeleng Kunyane, Christine Kasanda, and Charity Ngobese.

Winner of the Best Dressed Resident prize: Mariana Duvenage.

Cleo Makhanya and Anastasia Thula dance the Kwela Jive.

Rand Aid’s Salina Mtshali, Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Debbie Christen and Bianca Richards.

Lakeside staff - Back row: Tondani Mudau, Nikiwe Thengwayo, Molly Matroos (resident), Ivonne Moguru and Linda Ngwenya. Front row: Jennifer Sigida and Germinah Baloyi.

River Lodge 1 Staff: Francinah Mawasha, Prudence Sengoeneng, Thili Sibiya, Hope Siboto, Juliet Malatjie, and Brenda Ratema.

Riverlodge 3 staff: Nolly Mlandu, Pascaline Kamela, Wendy Mdka and Winnie Morero.

River Lodge 2 Staff: Back: Tshepo Malatjie and Pretty Lekopa. Middle: Pamela Martins, Lindiwe  Matsimela, Portia Tshayisa and Salina Shiviri. Front: Nomsa Shabangu.


The lovely table decor.

Peggy Roberts and Pamela Martins.

Molly Matroos, Germinah Baloyi, Tondani Mudau, Jennifer Sigida and Ivonne Moguru. Front: Sonja Dikken and Louise Newman.

Cedar Park: Ursula Northern, Thizwilwondi, Cleo Makhanya, Irene Droste, and Adolphina Magwete.

Colourful table adds to the cheer.

Pata Pata.

River Lodge one staff dancing the Kwela Jive

Jennifer Sigida and Lorna Topp.

The Chair Dancers from River Lodge 1. Left to right: Mariana Duvenage, Peggy Roberts, Lorraine Lowden,  Josephine Kew, Dolly Luke, Ginny Lorge and Marie Roberts.

Ellen Prinsloo and Germinah Baloyi.

Debbie Christen with the Chair Dancers from River Lodge 1. From the top: Mariana Duvenage, Peggy Roberts, Lorraine Lowden, Josephine Kew, Dolly Luke, Ginny Lorge and Marie Roberts.

The women folk making the famous African Beer (Umqombothi) for the men.

Some fun play acting.

Getting into the spirit of things.

Hope Siboto, Emily Thabang, Hilda Mabaso, Nolly Mlandu, Wendy Mdka and Winnie Morero.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Fabric painters add colour to their lives

Mariana Duvenage (right) with fabric art instructor, Jacqueline Cloete.

Some fabric, bright pots of paint and creative minds is all it takes to create a little magic at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre.

Over the past months, residents have enjoyed regular fabric paintings sessions under the guidance of instructor Jacqueline Cloete. Jacqueline says that they have made tremendous progress since they first started and they are now keen to learn more and to learn new techniques.

Before joining the class, they were used to doing, what Jacqueline calls, ‘colouring-in painting’ but over the past several months, they have been learning how to use the technique of shading, to give shape and form to their paintings and to make the subjects look more real.

They have created hand-painted cushions, shopping bags, placemats, tray cloths and even tablecloths. Some of the residents have enjoyed giving away their creations to their children, and were delighted to paint Christmas-themed gifts for their families and friends.

Resident Mariana Duvenage says that she had never painted before in her life, and now, as she heads towards her eighth decade, she has found a hobby that she loves and which brings her so much joy.  She is grateful that she has been given the opportunity to learn and to pursue her new passion at the Ron Smith Care Centre.

Lorraine Lowden.

Hilary Sidelsky with her beautiful painting of cats.

Close up of Hilary’s painting