Thursday, 26 July 2012

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Welcome to our latest RSCC residents Tweedle-Dum, Tweedle-Dee and Mrs Speckles...

Mrs Jean Ives and OTT Salina Mtshali interacting with the chirpy birds

Eden Alternative

On the 12th of July we had our first Eden Alternative training run at our care centre.  The course, presented by Rayne Stroebel (international, regional co-ordinator of the Eden Alternative), was called: Open Hearts, Open Minds.  

We looked at the 10 Eden Alternative principles:

1.    The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders.

2.    An Elder-centered community commits to creating a human habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with plants, animals, and children. It is these relationships that  provide the young and old alike with a pathway to a life worth living.

3.    Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness. Elders deserve easy access to human and animal companionship.

4.    An Elder-centered community creates opportunity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helplessness.

5.    An Elder-centered community imbues daily life with variety and spontaneity by creating an environment in which unexpected and unpredictable interactions and happenings can take place. This is the antidote to boredom.

6.    Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.

7.    Medical treatment should be the servant of genuine human caring, never its master.

8.    An Elder-centered community honors its Elders by de-emphasising top-down bureaucratic authority, seeking instead to place the maximum possible decision-making authority into the hands of the Elders or into the hands of those closest to them.

9.    Creating an Elder-centered community is a never-ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.

10.    Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any struggle against the three plagues. For it, there can be no substitute.

Rayne talked to us about each of these principles and how they can be applied to our home. The Eden Alternative is based on the person-centred care approach that we had done training on earlier in the year.  Again, it looks at getting to know the individual and focusing care on individuals' needs, rather on what we think might be good for most people. 

There were lots of laughs during the training, as Rayne is a very entertaining speaker, and also a few tears while we watched some of the beautiful videos he showed us.

The video below is a beautiful example of how you can reach even the seemingly unreachable people with a person-centred care approach.

Completing the course highlighted everything we have achieved so far to align with the 10 Eden Alternative principles ― something we are very proud of!  It also served to make us aware of the areas where there is room for improvement.

We are excited to move forward and work together to make our care centre home to each individual who passes through our doors.

From left to right:  Magda Pienaar (co-presenter), Rayne Stroebel (presenter and international, regional co-ordinator; Eden Alternative), Sylvia Birkhead (director; Eden Alternative) and Charlene van Zyl (Occupational Therapist; Ron Smith Care Centre).

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Special Visit

Rand Aid staff member Tanya Switala was so touched after our recent Eden Alternative training, that she decided to bring her little girls to visit a few of our residents in OT.

As mentioned before, the Eden Alternative emphasises that contact with children is very important in caring for the elderly as it brings life to the care centre as well as spontaneity and variety.

We had a wonderful afternoon with the two special girls who came to visit: Kirstynn and Caitlynn.  They jumped right in, assisting me and the residents that came to the group.  They were soon walking around, taking different coloured papers to the residents to let them choose what they wanted to use during their OT session. They chatted and giggled and the residents loved having them there.

Here are some of the photos:

Mrs June Lane was very happy to have some young company to entertain her.

Kristynn (Elma Park Pre Primary School) (left) and Caitlynn (Dunvegan Primary School) (right) showing off their work.

Hope to see you soon again girls :)  

Mandela Day Tea

Last year we celebrated Mandela Day with a knit-a-thon.  We had people from the retirement village as well as from the care centre knitting together for 67 minutes.  We tried to knit as many squares as possible in order to make warm blankets to fight off the winter cold.  It was a lovely and enjoyable morning. After that we decided to try and do something every year to celebrate Madiba's wonderful life; especially since he is in the same phase of his life as many of our residents are here at the Ron Smith Care Centre.

Photo from the Knit-a-thon from 2011.

This year, we decided to put the knitting needles away for a bit and invited a few pupils over from St Mary's School in Waverley for a visit.

This turned out to be a wonderful morning.  The school girls came just after 10.  They immediately lit up the hall with their vibrant chatter and laughter.  They found a table to sit at and started interacting with the residents. It was so special to see the joy on the residents' faces when interacting with these young girls.  They iced some cupcakes together and enjoyed a cup of tea while getting to know each other a bit better.

The choir, consisting of grade 6 and grade 7 pupils, then entertained us with some beautiful songs - ranging from a  few classics like 'Somewhere over the rainbow' to some African songs like 'Kwela Kwela'.  Old and young then joined together to wish Mandela a happy birthday.

Here are some of the photos:

The girls from St Mary's getting ready for their visit.

Getting the ingredients ready for the icing of the cupcakes.

Mrs Frieda le Sueur enjoying a bright pink cupcake.

Helen Petrie (Complex Manager) helping to dazzle up Mrs Erica Behla's cupcake.

The choir kept us entertained with their beautiful songs and funky moves.

Listening to the music.

Mrs Noel Tilney was in her element as she shared all her life stories and wisdom with the young girls.

We had a wonderful morning together and the residents spoke about their special visit from the girls for the rest of the week...

Monday, 2 July 2012


We did baking this week in OT.  We felt like something sweet and decided to go for Marshmallow Treats.  We had a lot of fun, sticky fingers and a satisfied sweet tooth.

Here are a few of the photos from the morning:

Mr Selwyn Katz, enjoying a cup of tea with his Marshmallow Treats.

Mrs June Lane showing her approval of the sweet treats. 



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 5 cups crisp rice cereal


  1. Melt margarine in large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and well-blended. Cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
  3. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly and firmly in buttered 13 x 9 inch pan. Cut into 2 x 2 inch squares when cool.

These treats are easy to make, flop-proof and delicious.  

Comedy Hour

Every second Tuesday afternoon we have Comedy Hour in OT where we watch old comedies such as Lauren and Hardy, Abbot and Costello and Charlie Chaplin.  These afternoons are very popular and the residents enjoy having a good laugh together.

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.” 
― Audrey Hepburn

New Residents

Say hallo to our newest RSCC residents:  Stripes and Candy.  These cute little kittens joined us last week Tuesday. They will be staying in Lakeside for a while until they are a little bit more used to the environment, and then the world (and the rest of the Ron Smith Care Centre) will be their playground.

Animals are very important in caring for the elderly because of  the loving companionship they offer. They are also one of the antidotes to loneliness, according to the Eden Alternative.  Although we do get Paws for People once a month, we felt that this was not enough and that we need more permanent pets for our care centre.  I am very happy that these cute little things are going to become part of the family.

*Candy on the left and Stripes on the right