Thursday, 31 December 2015

Christmas joy shared by young and old

Letter received from staff member’s daughter:

By Caitlynn (11) and Kirstynn (8) Switala and friends Isabel McNaught, Jane Spence, Noreen Ogilvie and Joy Smith

My mom and dad work at Rand Aid. Every year at Christmas time they have carols and people get together and sing to the residents in the care centre.
The grannies and grandpas are always so happy because they know that my sister and I are coming to sing to them. They love seeing children. It makes them smile. They enjoy the hugs so much.

Singing Christmas carols with them is my favourite part of Christmas.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015


By 7am on Friday, December 18, the kitchen, main dining room, hall and outdoor courtyard at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre were a hive of activity as staff from all departments prepared for a Christmas Show and Braai for 350 residents and staff.

About 25 housekeeping and care staff joined together to present a show of traditional and contemporary Christmas Carols interspersed with dance numbers to Mambo #5 and Vulindela. The show team also danced with the residents in the audience to a Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton Christmas song and ended up wishing everyone a Merry Christmas with a lively rendition of Feliz Navidad.

“I’m very proud of the show staff,” says Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes for Rand Aid, who conceived and planned the show with Hilda Mabaso, Housekeeping Supervisor at Ron Smith Care Centre.

“They had less than a month to learn and practice the material, but they all did brilliantly and the residents enjoyed the show so much.  We wanted to bring the story, spirit and joy of Christmas and present it with love, and I think that’s what we did,” Debbie says.

Cedar Park resident Jill Jones comments, “Every item presented was so enthusiastically received and appreciated by the audience. At one stage, members of the Dancing Team, scattered into the audience and danced with the residents and when the melody ‘Vulindela’ was played, everyone was invited to dance, whether to sway in a wheelchair, keep time, or go onto the floor with a carer or member of the Dancing Team. This interaction was enthusiastically received and greatly enjoyed. Memories of our dancing youth were revived and came quickly to the fore. Laughter and smiles were on everyone’s faces.”

With the smell of braaing meat wafting through the air, it was now time for a hearty lunch of chicken and wors, pap and gravy, and salads and rolls, with Eskimo pies for dessert.
Peter Barker, resident from Lakeside, said, “A heart-felt thank you to Rand Aid management for the great effort that was made organising the Christmas lunch. It was a tremendous effort, and as I am one of the few residents with the means and ability to do so, I must express my appreciation and admiration for the work done by staff from the most senior to junior.”

Staff members in cheerful red and white put on quite a show for residents.

 Keeping the entertainment in-house .... Staff members presented a wonderful show for residents.

After the morning's entertainment, lunch was enjoyed in festive surroundings.

Team spirit ... camaraderie and enthusiasm from staff members made for an enjoyable event.

Smiles abounded at the Christmas lunch.

Staff members show residents their moves.

Song and dance served as a pre-lunch warm-up.

Greg Scholtz and Gail Harmer enjoy a dance.

Nomsa Shabangu dances with Beryl Armitage.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Ron Smith Care Centre benefits from random act of kindness

Once a month, the Hillside Community Methodist Church involves its young congregants in a random act of kindness and on December 8, Ron Smith Care Centre residents were touched by this special brand of caring when hand-made Christmas crackers were handed out. The residents were enjoying a picnic at the time, which had to be moved indoors because of rainy weather and the pulling of the crackers added some extra festivity to the gathering.

Pictured are residents Lorraine Lowdon, Colleen Daly and Molly Matroos. 

Christmas cheer at Ron Smith Care Centre

Santa Claus is coming to town.... The residents of the Ron Smith Care Centre had a merry time on December 14 when Father Christmas paid them a visit. Playing Santa was Mike Holder from Collinge & Co. Funeral Directors, who was joined by colleague Jessica Foley. “Collinge has over the past few years arrived to wish our residents well over the festive season and to hand out candy canes. Over the Easter period, they will bring our residents eggs to enjoy,” says Avril Maltman, Senior Nursing Manager. 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Pool Party fun and games

Fun in the summer sun was the order of the day at the Pool Party held on Friday, December 4, for Ron Smith Care Centre residents.
“Residents of Ron Smith Care Centre donned their ‘beach wear’ and came out to enjoy a lovely morning by the pool on a beautiful sunny Friday,” says Debbie Christen, Rand Aid Association’s Manager: Recreational Programmes.
“Strawberry smoothies, watermelon, chips, ice cream cones and other pool-side snacks were on offer and music played merrily in the background.  The activities team was first to jump into the pool and residents enjoyed watching them splash and play.  A few residents then decided to roll up their trousers and dip their feet into the lovely cool water,” says Debbie.
“We could be in Mauritius!” remarked Joy Smith, a resident of the care centre’s Cedar Park wing.

Joy Smith and Marie Diesel spend an enjoyable morning together.

 A cool drink… Ros Benjamin.

 Resident Beryl Armitage is offered a watermelon slice by Bianca Richards.

 Betty Haughton and Margaret Beattie.

 Betty Hood enjoys the cool water.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Community involvement in motion

Volunteer Sheryl Emmet organised a wheelchair clean-up and repair day with her family, friends and volunteers, Dara and Raffaella Migliore, on Saturday, November 21, in the OT Activity Centre. The magic in the moment was to see the smile on residents’ faces when they received their wheelchair after it had been cleaned and fixed, and to know that there are always people in our community who are willing to go the extra mile to make a difference in a person’s life. Pictured: Tracy and Dylan, Sheryl’s daughter and son.

Rand Aid’s stars

Ron Smith Care Centre and Elphin Lodge thanked community members for being the shining stars they are at a champagne brunch volunteer appreciation event on Friday, November 27.
About 40 volunteers attended the event, themed ‘Stars’. Prior to the breakfast, care centre residents made glittery stars in a range of colours as an occupational therapy activity, which were then used to decorate the clubhouse. “We had stars everywhere – on the tables, on the windows and even on the floor, as a welcome pathway for the volunteers.  The residents also made star-shaped biscuits especially for the volunteers, to thank them for all they do with and for them,” says Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes.
Those people who give of their time so generously on a regular basis at the Rand Aid-run care centre and retirement village were presented with certificates with personalised messages and a polished nickel star keychain engraved with the Rand Aid logo and the word ‘STAR’. 
“It was good to have the volunteers all together in one place at one time – something that occurs only occasionally. This event gave them the opportunity to socialise, meet other volunteers, network and discuss their volunteer activities. Some volunteers said that the morning made them feel more united,” says Debbie, and volunteer Jen Cruickshank commented, “You made us all feel like stars and to word everyone’s award certificate so personally and meaningfully was really special.”

 Sheryl Emmett, Dara Migliore, Raffi Migliore, and Madge Ronald.

Margaret O’Donoghue, Judy Dost, Lorna Turner, Judy Lurie and Debbie Christen.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Two heads are better than one!

Cedar Park resident, Colleen Blowe, assists River Lodge 2 resident Reg Stevenson during a cardmaking session in the OT activity centre, showing us that sometimes two heads are better than one when it comes to creative activities! “It’s so lovely when you seen residents interacting with one another!" says Debbie Christen Manager: Recreational Programmes. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Residents get clicking

Laptop for OT

There’s a host of new words flying around Ron Smith Care Centre’s occupational therapy (OT) division. Residents of the care centre and of Elphin Lodge – the retirement village in whose grounds the care centre is situation – as well as older members of the community who come to the OT centre as day visitors, have been learning all about clicks, the mouse and dragging after a laptop was introduced to the centre in September. Bianca Richards, an occupational therapist at the Rand Aid Association care centre, says the idea is not only to add a new activity to the many stimulating options already offered, but to also help loved ones stay in touch through Skype and other platforms. Residents may use the internet or play games, all the while maintaining fine motor skills and developing eye/hand co-ordination. Pictured with Bianca is Heather Zipp, playing a game of Solitaire. If members of the community would like to assist in giving basic training, or you want more information about the day care centre for older persons, call Bianca at 011 882 6296 or email her at

Memorable birthdays celebrated

Three residents are proudly 95 years old

Born in Johannesburg on October 4, 1920, Jane Hart Davis is proudly 95! The resident of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre says her parents were from Edinburgh, Scotland, and that she was the fourth of seven children. “I attended Johannesburg Girls’ High and later took up an apprenticeship as a hairdresser. I was fortunate to have a job during the depression,” she remembers, adding that back then you could get a perm for next to nothing. She met her husband, Eric, at a party and they were married for 19 years. She was married for the same period of time to her second husband, Phillip. Jane has two daughters, Beryl and Barbara, a son, John, seven grand children and six great grandchildren. Jane was always very active in sports and started playing golf when she was about 36. “I also used to love going out dancing and especially enjoyed the waltz and the foxtrot. These days, I enjoy going for a walk everyday and I do like to sing, but unfortunately sound like a frog!  My proudest achievements are my children --- they turned out so well!”

Ron Smith Care Centre resident Lilian Christie celebrated her 95th birthday on October 19. Born in the Transkei, Lilian grew up in Windhoek. Her first husband, Joseph Franks, passed away as a result of cancer at the age of 45. Lilian later wed William Christie and the couple lived in Swaziland for 10 years, and later Durban. At the age of 82, Lilian moved into Rand Aid Association’s Tarentaal village before moving to the NPO’s care centre three years ago. She enjoys participating in the care centre’s walking programmes and was always an avid knitter and seamstress.

Born on October 19, 1920, in Canada, Pauline Green moved to England as a child. She qualified and worked as a general nursing sister before moving to South Africa after the Second World War. Pauline has two daughters, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. In her spare time, she used to paint and still loves to read. Prior to moving to Rand Aid Association’s Ron Smith Care Centre in 2014, she stayed in Tarentaal, one of the NPO’s retirement villages.

Pink Power

Residents mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Residents and staff of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre and Elphin Lodge marked Breast Cancer Awareness Month by attending a breast cancer talk on October 15, given by Dr Aviva Ruch. With many of the audience wearing pink, they were served tea and specially-made pink biscuits prepared by the housekeeping and occupational therapy departments.

Sink your teeth into this good cause.

 Germinah Baloyi and Hilda Mabaso, pretty in pink but for a serious cause.

Mapule Leshabene offers a biscuit to resident Ginny Lorge from River Lodge 1.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Ice lollies help walkers beat the heat

 Icy lollies for hot walkers

 Everyone at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre has really been feeling the heat during the recent heat wave, especially the walking group led by volunteer Sheryl Emmett. On Monday, October 12, with temperatures rising into the early 30s, volunteer Dara Migliore decided to bring ice lollies for the walkers to cool them down at the half-way point. After walking through the beautiful Elphin Lodge gardens, the group parked off by the lake and enjoyed their ice lollies under the welcome shade of some trees. Resident Colleen Daly said that she couldn’t remember the last time she had an ice lolly and she enjoyed it so much. This was indeed ‘a cool treat!’ Pictured are Marion Tollitt (volunteer), Colleen Daly (resident) and Joan Gilbert (also a resident).

Stanley Bloch (River Lodge 1 resident) and volunteer Martie Strong.

Resident Frank Brown enjoys his ice lolly.

This is who I am ... residents and staff get to know one another

Rose and Jane share their stories

‘Who am I’ is an initiative of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre that allows residents and staff members to get to know one another better, in line with the people-centred care approach that they have embraced. The care centre hopes to receive its Eden Alternative accreditation within the next year. The Eden Alternative is a fast-growing philosophy that seeks to change the culture of today's old age homes, care facilities and other residential care settings, from sterile medical institutions to human habitats - environments where residents want to live and carers enjoy working. ‘Who am I’ is one of a number of initiatives started to help foster this philosophy at the care centre. At tea time, the life story of a resident and staff member is shared with all other residents of a particular wing, as well as the people who staff that particular wing. Once basic facts, likes, dislikes and hobbies are shared, there’s time for some chatting and questions. On October 9, a ‘Who am I’ session took place on the Lakeside wing and the stories of resident Jane Hart-Davis and careworker Rose Khanyile were shared. Rose wore a traditional Zulu outfit as her heritage is part of her story. 

 Rose Khanyile and Jane Hart-Davis.

Rose Khanyile gives a little Zulu dance demonstration, with residents and staff clapping along.

Residents Sylvia Lawrence, Jane Hart-Davis and Irene Jarman at the ‘Who am I’ event.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Diverse Heritage Celebrated

Care centre embraces diversity

Ron Smith Care Centre hosted a Heritage Day Bring and Share Braai on Friday, September 25. Staff members and residents were asked to bring and share a dish representative of their culture and to wear traditional clothes or something symbolic of their heritage. This request was enthusiastically answered, with bright clothing and cheer characterising the day. Staff of the Rand Aid Association-run care centre organised a programme of entertainment that included traditional singing and dancing and Wayne Wilmot of Sovereign Construction, a loyal support of Rand Aid and its complexes, sponsored a major portion of the braai.

Hilda Mabaso made a wonderful master of ceremonies.

Resident Gwen Jennings and care worker Faith Nogabe dressed the part.

The tables reflected South Africa’s cultural diversity.

Jason Wills, Leanie Bessinger and Matron Avril Maltman man the braai fires.

Ellen Ntombela , Beauty Mohale, Isabella Pirie enjoy the day out.

Dancing energetically is Priscilla Dlamini, a private care worker.

Odette Matamba with her sisters make up the Congolese Dance Tribe.


Heritage Day a colourful affair at Elphin Lodge
By Wendy and Karl Köhler, Elphin Lodge residents

Early in the morning of the 25th of September the lady in charge of the house cleaners of Elphin Lodge, Jane Ngwenya came to advise us that the management of the Rand Aid Association-run retirement village had decided to give them the day off in order to celebrate Heritage Day.
The supervisor, Jane, was dressed in beautiful tribal dress and also advised that there would be a special cultural display starting at 11am in the quadrangle, which we were invited to attend. Our helper, Patricia, who works for us was dressed smartly and also came to advise us about the Heritage Day festival.
At 10:30am my wife and I started walking down King Fisher Road towards the scene of activity. We could see many people also walking in the same direction and were met with a hive of activity in the quadrangle which was festooned with different coloured beach umbrellas and the colourful yellow and brown chairs from the hall.
People were bustling about preparing different types of food and there was a squad of people braaing at the braaivleis fires which were covering the area with a light cloud of sweet-smelling grilled meat and distinctive coriander seed and clove aromas. This pleasant olfactory backdrop got the hunger pangs going in the ever-growing audience, which practically included all the residents of the frail care centre as well. Many were in wheelchairs and were attended to by carers.
There was a kaleidoscope of contrasting bright colours as many people moved rapidly around, bringing different types of foods and salads out, as well as bottles of wine. Braai pap was also being prepared on the fires and even Mopani worms, known as Masonja.
All the while the audience was entertained by a well-organised Radio Musical Team, playing hit songs from the 1960s and 70s. At 11am, Complex Manager Helen Petrie, dressed in her Rand Aid uniform, opened the proceedings with a short speech and then handed the microphone to Beatrice Baloyi, a smartly dressed lady in traditional dress who welcomed everyone in their own language – including English and Afrikaans – and then handed over to Hilda Mabaso, the master of ceremonies who was to continue with all the events of the morning.
Now everybody felt completely at home and the proceedings began, with each of the major culture groups represented being asked to do a traditional dance. The displays were very colourful and a pleasure to see. Some cultures had small bags containing seeds fastened around their ankles, creating a swishing sound as they danced.
When each culture had entertained the audience, everybody was invited to come into the hall for a fabulous lunch. Many people even tried eating Mopani worms for the first time and said they reminded them of eating prawns. Others ate pap and vleis for the first time.
A good time was had by all, with a big thank you to Rand Aid for the extraordinary entertainment and enjoyable lunch.

By Joan Belleu --- 94 year old Lakeside resident

We woke to a beautiful sunny day on Friday, 25th September, the day that was planned for our Heritage Day celebrations at Ron Smith Care Centre.  We all congregated by the rose garden, some under the trees, while others kept cool under big lovely umbrellas.

What a wonderful day it turned out to be!  We celebrated by watching the staff singing and dancing to the beat of drums - a truly African sound!  They were dressed in their traditional costumes and represented the different African cultures:  Sotho, Pedi, Tsonga, Zulu, Xhosa and many others.  Each stunning costume was different from the next and so very colourful, with lots of beautiful bead work adorning their heads and outfits.  There was such a wonderful free mixing with everyone else, and lots of laughing and talking amongst the different cultures.

We then went into the hall which had been decorated and arranged very tastefully, and we sat at tables waiting for our dinner.  There were so many people, that those wo could not get a seat in the hall, were accommodated in the main dining room.  We were served salad, pap & wors,  and chicken which had been cooked and braaied  by many kind cooks.  The smoke & smell of the  braaing  wors made us all very hungry and we thoroughly enjoyed this traditionally cooked meat.

The pleasure of seeing everyone enjoying themselves together was what truly made this a very special day.  A very special thanks to all those who had worked so hard in organising this day so that it all went off without a hitch.  Thank you, thank you one and all.

And so ended a memorable Heritage Day.


  Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes with Wayne Wilmot of Sovereign Construction. Wayne sponsored a major portion of the care centre’s Heritage Day braai and the staff made a big card to thank him.

Siyabolela Mbanjuna, a Servest gardener, shows off his moves.

Mrs Mariana Duvenage and Mrs Virginia Lorge watch the dancing staged to celebrate Heritage Day.

Pretty as a picture ... Nomsa Shabangu and Vhutshilo Nemukula (domestic workers).

Betthy Hood, Lynette Saville, Annie Martiny and Nikki Els enjoy lunch in the dining hall.

Gone But Not Forgotten

RSCC staff and residents celebrate the life of residents who have passed away by holding candle lighting ceremonies.

Sr. Tando Ncube  lighting a candle in remembrance of Mrs Marie Kruis.

Staff and residents gather together in remembrance of Mrs Marie Kruis.

Resident Sylvia Lawrence.

A candle lighting ceremony in remembrance of  Winifred Raynham.

 Residents and staff from Cedar Park Gather in their common lounge area in remembrance of Mrs Winifred Raynham.

 Sr. Dorcus Moalusi shares a few words and memories about Mrs Winifred Raynham. 

 Sn Goodness Tshabalala shares a few memories.

 Sr. Leanie Bessinger and Lucia Nkuna share their memories of Mrs Cynthia Du Toit.

Residents and staff  gathered together in the common lounge of River Lodge 1 for a candle lighting ceremony to say farewell to Mrs Cynthia Du Toit.

Sr. Leanie Bessinger lighting a candle in remembrance of Mrs. Cynthia Du Toit.