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We love telling the world what we’re up to, so keep checking back for new articles about our goings-on, activities, events and outings. To stay up to date with everything going on in our residential care home in Gerrards Cross, be sure to follow us on Facebook!

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National Day of Reflection 

A Year of Reflection Spring 2020 No one was expecting and I feel still cannot believe we have all been through a worldwide pandemic. Covid 19 brought all kinds of change to everyone’s lives and we are still learning to deal with the changes every day. As the vaccine programme rolls out, we all hope and pray that life will return to normal soon. A reflection of how Swarthmore has dealt with changes throughout the year. Claire Allsopp, Home Manager decided to take an early lockdown based on the news about Covid 19. The decision made was to lock down the home 3 weeks earlier than recommended. This was no easy decision but the main reason for this was to keep residents and staff as safe as possible. We had to source PPE ourselves, kind donations from family members, local businesses, and staff. Additional measures were put into place such as deeper cleaning using additional antibacterial products by our amazing housekeeping team. PPE was worn by all staff entering the home, residents were asked to remain in the home. We took regular checks such as temperature/oxygen sats in case anyone was showing signs of infection. We continue to do so as a precaution. We started to use Zoom, WhatsApp, and video calls with families so all our residents could keep in contact with their loved ones during the first lockdown period. Making the decision to lockdown meant that families/friends and any other person visiting the home were no longer able to do so. This decision obviously played on everyone’s mind, especially Claire’s. Lying in bed one evening she was unable to sleep, so with thoughts running through her mind about the pandemic, she decided to post a request on Swarthmore’s Facebook Page. Claire asked for people to write or email letters to residents to help cheer them up during this difficult time. As a result, we were inundated with wonderful letters, pictures, chocolates, CDs and so on. Several schools from near and far were set class projects, letters and painted rocks were sent from Australia, local author donated several books, our councillor donated games, supermarkets gave us chocolates, the local temple offered goodie bags for staff to say thank you and uniform scrubs were made, along with crochet bands to help alleviate painful ears from wearing mask, Bucks Fire rescue donated visors. We could not believe the response of kind wishes from people all over the world. The letters continued for months afterwards and we have created a memory album for the future as a result. We tried to respond to as many letters as we could at the time, as we were so grateful to everyone. It became a regular discussion with the residents as we read the letters during activities. Claire was contacted by ITN due to the size of the response to her Facebook request. ITN came to the home and filmed some of our residents through the windows and doors, discussing the response to the letters received from people all over the world. One of our residents also received a bouquet of flowers after the news went live. If you would like to see the Swarthmore on ITN 10 O’clock news, please follow the link through our website on the Newsfeed – direct link belowhttps://www.swarthmorecarehome.org.uk/post/news/1/237/itv-news-warm-wishes-from-around-the-world/ Summer After a period of lockdown, we followed the next set of Government guidelines which allowed meeting families again under tight restrictions. We designated our Quiet Room for residents to meet with families etc. We placed a Perspex screen between the room and the patio area outside. This meant that socially distanced visits were carried out to retain the safety of everyone inside and outside the home. This worked very well whilst the weather permitted. In the meantime, we started to research options of how we could continue visits in a safe and secure environment. Ann Marie, Activities Co-ordinator organised our very first Sports Day. The weather was amazing, so everyone came outside to either take part or cheer everyone on during the events. Staff and residents took part in lots of games and races while wearing masks! We had wheelchair races, sack race, football games, hula hoops and so on. We had our very own football coach Mr Tony Doherty who put the staff through their paces with football trials. Sack races had to be the most entertaining as they jumped their way to the finishing line. Awards for All at the end of the afternoon – rosettes and badges were presented to staff and residents. The afternoon was complete with an ice cream; we arranged for a local ice cream van to come to Swarthmore where everyone chose a flavoured ice cream which was delicious. A great afternoon of fun and games was welcomed by everyone at Swarthmore. We also had our first Patio entertainers, singers and musicians who stood outside and played and sang to our residents. We are fortunate that we have a beautiful garden for residents to enjoy. We made the most of it last year. Autumn After months of research, we were fortunate to be able to purchase a Visitor Pod for future visits between residents, families, and friends. This is a purpose-built, private visiting space that provides a safer environment for residents and their families, by significantly reducing the risk of infection. The Visitor Pod is a comfortable place with windows for ventilation and ramps for easy wheelchair access. When using the pod, residents can safely ‘socially distance’ from their visitors thanks to a clear screen with a two-way intercom. Emergency call points have been installed on both sides of the Pod which is sanitised between visits and a daily deep clean. The facility is limited to two visitors at any one time, ensuring both residents and their families are as safe as possible. The pod has already provided countless hours of private, safe visiting time for our residents and their loved ones. We continue to follow Government Guidelines to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. During the pandemic it has been very difficult to continue with our community events due to restrictions. This meant that all activities were taken on board in house. A national campaign we were delighted to get involved with was inspired by Katrina Cole and the children at Gee Cross Holy Trinity School movement, so we contacted our local school, St Marys Girls School in Gerrards Cross. Each year Swarthmore residents would normally visit the school to watch their Christmas productions and other events during the year. The only way we were able to communicate this year, was through this campaign. On Wednesday 9th December, teachers and pupils took a short walk to Swarthmore Care Home and delivered amazing artwork which contained lots of warm wishes. The residents sat in the dining room, peering through the windows, waiting in suspense for the girls and teachers to arrive. As they approached the dining room window, we saw smiling faces and waving hands appearing in the distance. The arrival of new faces brought delight, happiness, and tears of joy. The residents were amazed that these girls took the time to come and wish everyone a ‘Merry Christmas’. The girls performed a dance and sang ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ which was wonderful and very much appreciated by all our residents and staff at Swarthmore. Hearts and Poems were exchanged with some chocolates for the girls to be shared later. Winter Christmas time for anyone is normally full of fun, lots of visitors and just a general buzz in the air. We would normally have lots of entertainment in the home from external production companies, musicians, visit from Santa and much more. Once again Ann Marie came up with a wonderful idea of a Pantomime. A production script of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was put to the members of staff and before we knew it scripts were passed around and lines were learnt. The cast included a Narrator, king, queen, nanny, jester, several fairies, fairy godmother, evil fairy, prince, princess, and a minstrel. Costumes to suit were handed out, we had a makeshift backdrop for the stage in the lounge area and off we went to ‘break a leg’ so they say on stage! Lots of singing and dancing in between scenes, we even served ice cream during the break. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the performance and thanked everyone at the end. This was one of those special moments, able to see the pleasure this brought to the residents that afternoon. Families and members of staff put together a video of warm wishes which was shown to the residents on Christmas Day. As families and friends were only able to visit residents in our Visitor Pod we thought it would bring another special and different moment to the residents day. Without technology it would have been very difficult for everyone – without Zoom and WhatsApp contact would have been almost impossible for residents and families to have contact. We were fortunate enough to receive 2 iPads via the NHS government scheme, we were chosen as a winner from an insurance company after a relative nominated the home for the wonderful care her mother received at the end of her life. It’s amazing how we all adapt in these unprecedented times, and how quickly we have managed to learn new skills Vaccination Programme We were one of the first in Buckinghamshire and one of six care homes in England to be chosen to have in home vaccinations. We have a good relationship with the Chiltern Care commissioning group (CCCG) and we were delighted to welcome the team in on 17th December. Staff are tested once a week, and residents once a month. We also test staff twice weekly with the Lateral Flow Device (LFD). This is what our visitors and contactors also use. One year on With new guidance we welcomed back visitors recently, one named person per resident as well as a continuation of visitors in the pod as many visitors are themselves shielding. PPE, restrictions, NHS app and technology are now part of our ‘norm’. Today marks a year of reflection of Covid19 in the UK and we joined with the nation to remember the residents we have lost during this time, staff members who have lost family and friends due to Covid and for all of us who have in one way or another experience loss over the last year. Today, we also took time to reflect on how we have reinforced the values of Swarthmore in the home and with each other appreciating what each of the values mean in much more depth than perhaps this time last year- namely caring, community, peace, integrity. We are also grateful for the hard work of all keyworkers and the resilience of our amazing residents who have made this all worthwhile. …

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February highlights

Spring is on its way – we have a beautiful carpet of crocus forming at the bottom of the garden and the daffodils are out in bloom. I am looking forward to the sunshine appearing more regularly and hopefully the temperature will turn up a few degrees. I am sure this will lift our spirits and put a spring in our step moving forward. We have enjoyed the month of February with lots of interesting discussions organised by Ann Marie, here are the highlights: Birthday Celebrations An amazing lady celebrated her 107th birthday. Kitty received a birthday card with warm wishes from her Majesty the Queen. We celebrated in style with everyone at Swarthmore with afternoon tea and a special cake, singing and a few dances. We also saw another celebration for a wonderful gentleman who has reached the age of 99. Howard enjoyed a celebration cake and lots of delightful gifts from his family. Discussions Ann Marie and Claire held discussions about ‘dignity’ and what this means to everyone. A Digni-tree was provided so we could place our expressions on a note and hang on a tree so everyone could view and understand how important this is to everyone. One of our residents gave a talk around ‘Quaker Tapestry’ which everyone found very interesting. Below is short read of how it all began: The idea began at the Friends Meeting House in Taunton in 1981 by a boy called Jonathan Stocks. At the age of 11 he felt that the children’s meeting room needed cheering up. Anne was a professional embroider, who had been studying the Bayeux Tapestry. She had a vision of a Quaker tapestry which would be a series of panels illustrating an event or idea from the history of Quaker’s. Each panel was researched, designed then embroidered. A panel was created by different meetings, Anne would oversee the designs to keep it unified. The Tapestry was made by over 4,000 men, women, and children from 15 countries over a period of 15 years and 77 panels, hung chronologically. The tapestry is worked in crewel embroidery yarns on a handwoven woollen background. In addition to using four historic and well-known stitches such as split, stem, chain stitch and the perking knot. Wynn-Wilson invented a new corded stitch which became known as the Quaker stitch; this stitch allowed for tight curves on the lettering. Zoom Meetings We held live zoom meetings with Anne Park, discussions around topics such as french knitting, garden flowers, favourite drinks – of course most popular was a Gin & Tonic! Chinese New Year We celebrated the day with a Chinese lunch. Thanks to our Chef Kuli who created a wonderful Chinese lunch which was enjoyed by everyone. We spent The afternoon was spent talking about the Year of the Ox and the celebrations held throughout this period. Each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac (this is represented by a circle of animals). The Zodiac is based on the Moon and has a 12-year cycle, the planet Jupiter also has the same cycle, this takes about 12 years to orbit the sun. However, there is also a cycle of five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Altogether this creates a 60-year cycle, so the year of the Ox has not happened for 60 years!Looking forward to seeing what March brings – lighter mornings and evenings, warmer weather…………………….. …

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LETS HELP COMBAT LONELINESS

Let us help you or your loved one combat loneliness… We are all social creatures who thrive when interacting and connecting with others. As we age, many of us find ourselves more alone than we were in our younger years, often leading to loneliness. This can result in a state of vulnerability and social isolation. Loneliness is not just a fleeting feeling, it can be crippling both mentally and physically, bringing with it the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and heart disease. The most common reasons for loneliness are the loss of a partner or spouse, separation from friends or family, lack of mobility and retirement. Over the last year we have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been an immense contributor to loneliness as socialising is currently restricted. As we become older, the reliance on the outside world increases and we crave company more so than ever to avoid feeling lonely. Swarthmore Residential Care Home, in Gerrards Cross, provides a way of living that reintroduces that vital ingredient to a happy life. We provide Residential, Respite and End of Life Care. Swarthmore is set in beautiful grounds with a truly homely feel, and a focus on person centred care Engaging in meaningful activities with fellow residents can make a huge difference to our mental health and wellbeing, giving us a natural mood boost and a sense of purpose which in turn improves our cognitive functioning. Anyone feeling lonely may also have a weakened immune system, which could have an impact when the body encounters infections and viruses. Key Statistics according to Age UK: 1 million older people in the UK say they are lonely (pre Covid-19) 49% of 65 years+ (UK) say that TV or pets are their main form of company Loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day People suffering from loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people with a lower degree of feeling lonely 6% of older people (nearly 600,000) leave their home only once a week, if at all 30% say they would like to go out more often 41% of people age 65 and over in the UK feel out of touch with the pace of modern life.  This rises to 72% from the age of 85 Older women say they feel lonelier than men How Swarthmore Residential Care Home helps combat loneliness: Befriending - build friendships in small groups or choose to have one to one visits from our activity team. We introduce you to like-minded residents so you can share your interests. Making friends with our fellow residents and care team helps remove feelings of loneliness. Birthdays – we love a reason to celebrate – a special cake is presented, and our super carers are always on hand to sing that birthday song and have a dance. No-one spends their birthday alone! Communication - families are being forced to spend time apart during the pandemic. Different methods of communication have been introduced to our daily life. Here, at Swarthmore we introduced WhatsApp video calls, Skype and Zoom meetings, so everyone can keep in touch. We also hold activities alongside other care homes so we can interact with others who are having similar experiences. Visiting - To combat loneliness and isolation, we have purchased a new Visitor Pod. This is a purpose-built, private visiting space that provides a safer environment for residents and their families, by significantly reducing the risk of infection. The Visitor Pod is a comfortable place with windows for ventilation and ramps for easy wheelchair access. When using the pod, residents can safely ‘socially distance’ from their visitors thanks to a clear screen with a two-way intercom. Emergency call points have been installed on both sides of the Pod which is sanitised between visits and a daily deep clean. The facility is limited to two visitors at any one time, ensuring both residents and their families are as safe as possible. The pod has already provided countless hours of private, safe visiting time for our residents and their loved ones. We continue to follow Government Guidelines to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. Activities - We have a range of activities available twice a day, such as musical entertainment, movie afternoons, arts and crafts, poetry, quizzes with prizes, exercise classes and much more – refer to Activity Schedule on our website for more information. Meals – Healthy and nutritional home cooked food is presented in our cosy dining area along with afternoon teas and much more. Here you can enjoy your meals with fellow residents. You also have the choice of eating in your room if you prefer. Landscaped Gardens – Swarthmore’s gardens have been designed to suit all seasons, so you can enjoy the views throughout the year. You can relax on the patio during glorious weather or view the landscape through the bay windows in the cold winter months. A variety of wildlife like to visit the garden, so you will never be lonely. Care Team – here at Swarthmore Residential Care Home, we provide kind, compassionate care, tailored to each individual. We believe in treating our residents with respect, dignity, equality, and integrity. We respect your independence and hope that you will find peace and friendship within our community. We all know that all family members may not live locally to each other which can bring added stress and worry for everyone. We are all juggling life under difficult circumstances at present, due to the current pandemic. We may not be able to visit our loved ones or be visited by them. Concern about elderly relatives and their well-being is paramount in family’s minds. Intervention is sometimes required to ensure security and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Family and friends may identify signs to suggest relatives are not coping. Loneliness can play a significant contributor in the decline of well-being. Please contact Swarthmore Residential Care Home - we are here to discuss all your needs and concerns and help you to make the next move as worry free as possible. For an informal chat, please contact Sally Warminger, Sales Manager on 01753 885663, Option 1 New Care Enquiries Let’s combat loneliness together….. …

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January Highlights

Where did January go? Swarthmore activities continues to celebrate memorable dates with our residents throughout the month. Here's a summary of what we celebrated in January:New Years Day  We celebrated with a wonderful feast and a glass of wine to bring in the New Year.  Happy New Year to Everyone.Elvis Presley - January 8th   We celebrated Elvis Presley’s birthday today. The ‘King of Rock and Roll’ was remembered at Swarthmore Residential Care Home. He was one of the most revolutionary cultural icons of the 20th Century, his musical and theatrical legacy continues to rock the world today. His first single ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ 1956, began a string of number one hits that radically changed the American music. Elvis became the forefront of Rock and Roll. In 1958 he was drafted into the army and served in West Germany. Some time later, he began an acting career which then pushed him to perform live on stage. We have many fans of Elvis hear at Swarthmore including staff. An afternoon of songs and dancing was held in the lounge, who could resist a little boogie!!! I can name one lady who would definitely be on the dance floor! We had an afternoon of residents and staff appearing around the home wearing an Elvis face mask to help celebrate. International Flower Day – 19th Jan   International Flower Day promotes the connection that people share with each other and to show love and appreciation towards friends, family and even strangers, expressed through the gift of flowers. It all began in Tasmania, January 2013 when a father and daughter (Rohan and Brooke Levy) were strolling through a market in Hobart and were stopped by a stranger, who gave them a bunch of flowers. This act of kindness took them completely by surprise and they in turn spent the rest of the day giving flowers to more than 280 complete strangers! Flowers brighten a person’s day they do not need to be in a bunch of flowers, it could be a plant or shrub in your garden. Each time you see a flower, it may bring back memories that bring joy. Memories of your wedding, birth of a child, a place or just that special scent from a particular flower.  What is your favourite flower?  Next time you see a flower make sure you research its meaning. Make someone smile by sending flowers ………Burns Night – 25th January   A Burns Night supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, 1759-1796. Burns suppers may be formal or informal, ranging in full costume with traditional dancing and music or a gathering for a family dinner. A typical supper includes a haggis (traditional Scottish dish) which contains sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt mixed with stock encased in the animal’s stomach. This is often substituted by an artificial casing. The dish is normally served with neeps and tatties. The evening is usually celebrating with a sounding of the bagpipes too. The residents enjoyed a lunch together which included haggis. The afternoon was then spent reading poems and watching a DVD ‘White Heather’ tour. This was all presented by our very own Scottish Ann Marie. Winter Scenes – 26th January Snow arrived for the second time this year. Beautiful scenes from the bay windows at Swarthmore. We also asked others to send in their wintry scenes. We didnt get enough snow to make a snow man, maybe next time.…

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Christmas Donations

Violets GiftsWe were recently contacted by Emily at Violets Gifts with a kind offer of providing Christmas gifts to residents with no loved ones. Emily started the project in 2015 after her own grandmother went in to a care home. She eventually became aware of the amount of people in care homes without loved ones. To follow this touching story please click here. Emily partnered with another registered charity ‘Small Acts of Kindness’ who have been trained by the NHS to ensure their processes are Covid-secure. This allowed volunteers to drop the gifts outside homes, wearing a mask and keeping at a 2m distance. On Thursday 17th December, we were presented with a sack of christmas gifts for residents at Swarthmore Care Home, who are without loved ones. The gifts will be distributed to our residents by the one and only 'Santa Claus' on the big day. I am sure this will put smiles on faces and light up their day.We would like to say a great big thank you for all your dedication and efforts in reaching out to care homes at this time of year. Waitrose GiftsWe would also like to thank our local ‘Waitrose’ store in Gerrards Cross for the donations of mince pies and chocolates for staff and residents here at Swarthmore Care Home. We are all looking forward to enjoying the delights during morning coffee.  Thank you to Ketki, Partner & Community Lead at Waitrose who has organised donations throughout 2020. …

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Swarthmore presents - 'Sleeping Beauty' Pantomime

This year has been difficult for everyone! Christmas in the home would normally be very busy with people coming and going and entertainers performing for the residents. As we know none of this is possible due to government guidelines, due to Covid-19. Ann Marie decided Swarthmore was not going without a Christmas Pantomime this year! So off she went to find a production script and before we knew it, scripts were flying around, and the team were allocated roles to perform in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The cast included a Narrator, King, Queen, Nanny, Jester, Fairies, Fairy Godmother, Evil Fairy, Prince and Princess and a Minstrel. Costumes were provided for everyone taking part. The performance took place in the lounge of the home and a backdrop for the stage area was created. Dixon mastered amazing signage for the performance.  Everyone involved had a part to learn and some were able to enhance their voice.  Avril was the most amazing  Evil Fairy who had the best cackle ever! Jess and Rebecca choreographed amazing moves for the production – hats off to the girls.  I believe we have a few talented staff that may end up in the West End next year! During the interval, choc ices were served in style with a homemade theatre ice cream tray. The cast went off to change costumes for Scene 2  and the residents had their ice cream. Claire narrated the second half of the story dressed an an elf.  The afternoon came to an end with a bit of a sing song for everyone including the residents. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I believe it left everyone feeling the ‘Spirit of Christmas’. The residents applauded and thanked everyone for their hard work and a wonderful performance. I believe this was a special moment; being able to take part in a performance for our very own residents was a pleasure for everyone involved. Claire thanked Ann Marie for her efforts and managing to put together such an amazing pantomime.  We couldnt have done this without you. Merry Christmas Everybody.......... …

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National Day of Reflection 

A Year of Reflection Spring 2020 No one was expecting and I feel still cannot believe we have all been through a worldwide pandemic. Covid 19 brought all kinds of change to everyone’s lives and we are still learning to deal with the changes every day. As the vaccine programme rolls out, we all hope and pray that life will return to normal soon. A reflection of how Swarthmore has dealt with changes throughout the year. Claire Allsopp, Home Manager decided to take an early lockdown based on the news about Covid 19. The decision made was to lock down the home 3 weeks earlier than recommended. This was no easy decision but the main reason for this was to keep residents and staff as safe as possible. We had to source PPE ourselves, kind donations from family members, local businesses, and staff. Additional measures were put into place such as deeper cleaning using additional antibacterial products by our amazing housekeeping team. PPE was worn by all staff entering the home, residents were asked to remain in the home. We took regular checks such as temperature/oxygen sats in case anyone was showing signs of infection. We continue to do so as a precaution. We started to use Zoom, WhatsApp, and video calls with families so all our residents could keep in contact with their loved ones during the first lockdown period. Making the decision to lockdown meant that families/friends and any other person visiting the home were no longer able to do so. This decision obviously played on everyone’s mind, especially Claire’s. Lying in bed one evening she was unable to sleep, so with thoughts running through her mind about the pandemic, she decided to post a request on Swarthmore’s Facebook Page. Claire asked for people to write or email letters to residents to help cheer them up during this difficult time. As a result, we were inundated with wonderful letters, pictures, chocolates, CDs and so on. Several schools from near and far were set class projects, letters and painted rocks were sent from Australia, local author donated several books, our councillor donated games, supermarkets gave us chocolates, the local temple offered goodie bags for staff to say thank you and uniform scrubs were made, along with crochet bands to help alleviate painful ears from wearing mask, Bucks Fire rescue donated visors. We could not believe the response of kind wishes from people all over the world. The letters continued for months afterwards and we have created a memory album for the future as a result. We tried to respond to as many letters as we could at the time, as we were so grateful to everyone. It became a regular discussion with the residents as we read the letters during activities. Claire was contacted by ITN due to the size of the response to her Facebook request. ITN came to the home and filmed some of our residents through the windows and doors, discussing the response to the letters received from people all over the world. One of our residents also received a bouquet of flowers after the news went live. If you would like to see the Swarthmore on ITN 10 O’clock news, please follow the link through our website on the Newsfeed – direct link belowhttps://www.swarthmorecarehome.org.uk/post/news/1/237/itv-news-warm-wishes-from-around-the-world/ Summer After a period of lockdown, we followed the next set of Government guidelines which allowed meeting families again under tight restrictions. We designated our Quiet Room for residents to meet with families etc. We placed a Perspex screen between the room and the patio area outside. This meant that socially distanced visits were carried out to retain the safety of everyone inside and outside the home. This worked very well whilst the weather permitted. In the meantime, we started to research options of how we could continue visits in a safe and secure environment. Ann Marie, Activities Co-ordinator organised our very first Sports Day. The weather was amazing, so everyone came outside to either take part or cheer everyone on during the events. Staff and residents took part in lots of games and races while wearing masks! We had wheelchair races, sack race, football games, hula hoops and so on. We had our very own football coach Mr Tony Doherty who put the staff through their paces with football trials. Sack races had to be the most entertaining as they jumped their way to the finishing line. Awards for All at the end of the afternoon – rosettes and badges were presented to staff and residents. The afternoon was complete with an ice cream; we arranged for a local ice cream van to come to Swarthmore where everyone chose a flavoured ice cream which was delicious. A great afternoon of fun and games was welcomed by everyone at Swarthmore. We also had our first Patio entertainers, singers and musicians who stood outside and played and sang to our residents. We are fortunate that we have a beautiful garden for residents to enjoy. We made the most of it last year. Autumn After months of research, we were fortunate to be able to purchase a Visitor Pod for future visits between residents, families, and friends. This is a purpose-built, private visiting space that provides a safer environment for residents and their families, by significantly reducing the risk of infection. The Visitor Pod is a comfortable place with windows for ventilation and ramps for easy wheelchair access. When using the pod, residents can safely ‘socially distance’ from their visitors thanks to a clear screen with a two-way intercom. Emergency call points have been installed on both sides of the Pod which is sanitised between visits and a daily deep clean. The facility is limited to two visitors at any one time, ensuring both residents and their families are as safe as possible. The pod has already provided countless hours of private, safe visiting time for our residents and their loved ones. We continue to follow Government Guidelines to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. During the pandemic it has been very difficult to continue with our community events due to restrictions. This meant that all activities were taken on board in house. A national campaign we were delighted to get involved with was inspired by Katrina Cole and the children at Gee Cross Holy Trinity School movement, so we contacted our local school, St Marys Girls School in Gerrards Cross. Each year Swarthmore residents would normally visit the school to watch their Christmas productions and other events during the year. The only way we were able to communicate this year, was through this campaign. On Wednesday 9th December, teachers and pupils took a short walk to Swarthmore Care Home and delivered amazing artwork which contained lots of warm wishes. The residents sat in the dining room, peering through the windows, waiting in suspense for the girls and teachers to arrive. As they approached the dining room window, we saw smiling faces and waving hands appearing in the distance. The arrival of new faces brought delight, happiness, and tears of joy. The residents were amazed that these girls took the time to come and wish everyone a ‘Merry Christmas’. The girls performed a dance and sang ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ which was wonderful and very much appreciated by all our residents and staff at Swarthmore. Hearts and Poems were exchanged with some chocolates for the girls to be shared later. Winter Christmas time for anyone is normally full of fun, lots of visitors and just a general buzz in the air. We would normally have lots of entertainment in the home from external production companies, musicians, visit from Santa and much more. Once again Ann Marie came up with a wonderful idea of a Pantomime. A production script of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was put to the members of staff and before we knew it scripts were passed around and lines were learnt. The cast included a Narrator, king, queen, nanny, jester, several fairies, fairy godmother, evil fairy, prince, princess, and a minstrel. Costumes to suit were handed out, we had a makeshift backdrop for the stage in the lounge area and off we went to ‘break a leg’ so they say on stage! Lots of singing and dancing in between scenes, we even served ice cream during the break. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the performance and thanked everyone at the end. This was one of those special moments, able to see the pleasure this brought to the residents that afternoon. Families and members of staff put together a video of warm wishes which was shown to the residents on Christmas Day. As families and friends were only able to visit residents in our Visitor Pod we thought it would bring another special and different moment to the residents day. Without technology it would have been very difficult for everyone – without Zoom and WhatsApp contact would have been almost impossible for residents and families to have contact. We were fortunate enough to receive 2 iPads via the NHS government scheme, we were chosen as a winner from an insurance company after a relative nominated the home for the wonderful care her mother received at the end of her life. It’s amazing how we all adapt in these unprecedented times, and how quickly we have managed to learn new skills Vaccination Programme We were one of the first in Buckinghamshire and one of six care homes in England to be chosen to have in home vaccinations. We have a good relationship with the Chiltern Care commissioning group (CCCG) and we were delighted to welcome the team in on 17th December. Staff are tested once a week, and residents once a month. We also test staff twice weekly with the Lateral Flow Device (LFD). This is what our visitors and contactors also use. One year on With new guidance we welcomed back visitors recently, one named person per resident as well as a continuation of visitors in the pod as many visitors are themselves shielding. PPE, restrictions, NHS app and technology are now part of our ‘norm’. Today marks a year of reflection of Covid19 in the UK and we joined with the nation to remember the residents we have lost during this time, staff members who have lost family and friends due to Covid and for all of us who have in one way or another experience loss over the last year. Today, we also took time to reflect on how we have reinforced the values of Swarthmore in the home and with each other appreciating what each of the values mean in much more depth than perhaps this time last year- namely caring, community, peace, integrity. We are also grateful for the hard work of all keyworkers and the resilience of our amazing residents who have made this all worthwhile. …

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February highlights

Spring is on its way – we have a beautiful carpet of crocus forming at the bottom of the garden and the daffodils are out in bloom. I am looking forward to the sunshine appearing more regularly and hopefully the temperature will turn up a few degrees. I am sure this will lift our spirits and put a spring in our step moving forward. We have enjoyed the month of February with lots of interesting discussions organised by Ann Marie, here are the highlights: Birthday Celebrations An amazing lady celebrated her 107th birthday. Kitty received a birthday card with warm wishes from her Majesty the Queen. We celebrated in style with everyone at Swarthmore with afternoon tea and a special cake, singing and a few dances. We also saw another celebration for a wonderful gentleman who has reached the age of 99. Howard enjoyed a celebration cake and lots of delightful gifts from his family. Discussions Ann Marie and Claire held discussions about ‘dignity’ and what this means to everyone. A Digni-tree was provided so we could place our expressions on a note and hang on a tree so everyone could view and understand how important this is to everyone. One of our residents gave a talk around ‘Quaker Tapestry’ which everyone found very interesting. Below is short read of how it all began: The idea began at the Friends Meeting House in Taunton in 1981 by a boy called Jonathan Stocks. At the age of 11 he felt that the children’s meeting room needed cheering up. Anne was a professional embroider, who had been studying the Bayeux Tapestry. She had a vision of a Quaker tapestry which would be a series of panels illustrating an event or idea from the history of Quaker’s. Each panel was researched, designed then embroidered. A panel was created by different meetings, Anne would oversee the designs to keep it unified. The Tapestry was made by over 4,000 men, women, and children from 15 countries over a period of 15 years and 77 panels, hung chronologically. The tapestry is worked in crewel embroidery yarns on a handwoven woollen background. In addition to using four historic and well-known stitches such as split, stem, chain stitch and the perking knot. Wynn-Wilson invented a new corded stitch which became known as the Quaker stitch; this stitch allowed for tight curves on the lettering. Zoom Meetings We held live zoom meetings with Anne Park, discussions around topics such as french knitting, garden flowers, favourite drinks – of course most popular was a Gin & Tonic! Chinese New Year We celebrated the day with a Chinese lunch. Thanks to our Chef Kuli who created a wonderful Chinese lunch which was enjoyed by everyone. We spent The afternoon was spent talking about the Year of the Ox and the celebrations held throughout this period. Each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac (this is represented by a circle of animals). The Zodiac is based on the Moon and has a 12-year cycle, the planet Jupiter also has the same cycle, this takes about 12 years to orbit the sun. However, there is also a cycle of five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Altogether this creates a 60-year cycle, so the year of the Ox has not happened for 60 years!Looking forward to seeing what March brings – lighter mornings and evenings, warmer weather…………………….. …

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LETS HELP COMBAT LONELINESS

Let us help you or your loved one combat loneliness… We are all social creatures who thrive when interacting and connecting with others. As we age, many of us find ourselves more alone than we were in our younger years, often leading to loneliness. This can result in a state of vulnerability and social isolation. Loneliness is not just a fleeting feeling, it can be crippling both mentally and physically, bringing with it the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and heart disease. The most common reasons for loneliness are the loss of a partner or spouse, separation from friends or family, lack of mobility and retirement. Over the last year we have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been an immense contributor to loneliness as socialising is currently restricted. As we become older, the reliance on the outside world increases and we crave company more so than ever to avoid feeling lonely. Swarthmore Residential Care Home, in Gerrards Cross, provides a way of living that reintroduces that vital ingredient to a happy life. We provide Residential, Respite and End of Life Care. Swarthmore is set in beautiful grounds with a truly homely feel, and a focus on person centred care Engaging in meaningful activities with fellow residents can make a huge difference to our mental health and wellbeing, giving us a natural mood boost and a sense of purpose which in turn improves our cognitive functioning. Anyone feeling lonely may also have a weakened immune system, which could have an impact when the body encounters infections and viruses. Key Statistics according to Age UK: 1 million older people in the UK say they are lonely (pre Covid-19) 49% of 65 years+ (UK) say that TV or pets are their main form of company Loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day People suffering from loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people with a lower degree of feeling lonely 6% of older people (nearly 600,000) leave their home only once a week, if at all 30% say they would like to go out more often 41% of people age 65 and over in the UK feel out of touch with the pace of modern life.  This rises to 72% from the age of 85 Older women say they feel lonelier than men How Swarthmore Residential Care Home helps combat loneliness: Befriending - build friendships in small groups or choose to have one to one visits from our activity team. We introduce you to like-minded residents so you can share your interests. Making friends with our fellow residents and care team helps remove feelings of loneliness. Birthdays – we love a reason to celebrate – a special cake is presented, and our super carers are always on hand to sing that birthday song and have a dance. No-one spends their birthday alone! Communication - families are being forced to spend time apart during the pandemic. Different methods of communication have been introduced to our daily life. Here, at Swarthmore we introduced WhatsApp video calls, Skype and Zoom meetings, so everyone can keep in touch. We also hold activities alongside other care homes so we can interact with others who are having similar experiences. Visiting - To combat loneliness and isolation, we have purchased a new Visitor Pod. This is a purpose-built, private visiting space that provides a safer environment for residents and their families, by significantly reducing the risk of infection. The Visitor Pod is a comfortable place with windows for ventilation and ramps for easy wheelchair access. When using the pod, residents can safely ‘socially distance’ from their visitors thanks to a clear screen with a two-way intercom. Emergency call points have been installed on both sides of the Pod which is sanitised between visits and a daily deep clean. The facility is limited to two visitors at any one time, ensuring both residents and their families are as safe as possible. The pod has already provided countless hours of private, safe visiting time for our residents and their loved ones. We continue to follow Government Guidelines to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. Activities - We have a range of activities available twice a day, such as musical entertainment, movie afternoons, arts and crafts, poetry, quizzes with prizes, exercise classes and much more – refer to Activity Schedule on our website for more information. Meals – Healthy and nutritional home cooked food is presented in our cosy dining area along with afternoon teas and much more. Here you can enjoy your meals with fellow residents. You also have the choice of eating in your room if you prefer. Landscaped Gardens – Swarthmore’s gardens have been designed to suit all seasons, so you can enjoy the views throughout the year. You can relax on the patio during glorious weather or view the landscape through the bay windows in the cold winter months. A variety of wildlife like to visit the garden, so you will never be lonely. Care Team – here at Swarthmore Residential Care Home, we provide kind, compassionate care, tailored to each individual. We believe in treating our residents with respect, dignity, equality, and integrity. We respect your independence and hope that you will find peace and friendship within our community. We all know that all family members may not live locally to each other which can bring added stress and worry for everyone. We are all juggling life under difficult circumstances at present, due to the current pandemic. We may not be able to visit our loved ones or be visited by them. Concern about elderly relatives and their well-being is paramount in family’s minds. Intervention is sometimes required to ensure security and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Family and friends may identify signs to suggest relatives are not coping. Loneliness can play a significant contributor in the decline of well-being. Please contact Swarthmore Residential Care Home - we are here to discuss all your needs and concerns and help you to make the next move as worry free as possible. For an informal chat, please contact Sally Warminger, Sales Manager on 01753 885663, Option 1 New Care Enquiries Let’s combat loneliness together….. …

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January Highlights

Where did January go? Swarthmore activities continues to celebrate memorable dates with our residents throughout the month. Here's a summary of what we celebrated in January:New Years Day  We celebrated with a wonderful feast and a glass of wine to bring in the New Year.  Happy New Year to Everyone.Elvis Presley - January 8th   We celebrated Elvis Presley’s birthday today. The ‘King of Rock and Roll’ was remembered at Swarthmore Residential Care Home. He was one of the most revolutionary cultural icons of the 20th Century, his musical and theatrical legacy continues to rock the world today. His first single ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ 1956, began a string of number one hits that radically changed the American music. Elvis became the forefront of Rock and Roll. In 1958 he was drafted into the army and served in West Germany. Some time later, he began an acting career which then pushed him to perform live on stage. We have many fans of Elvis hear at Swarthmore including staff. An afternoon of songs and dancing was held in the lounge, who could resist a little boogie!!! I can name one lady who would definitely be on the dance floor! We had an afternoon of residents and staff appearing around the home wearing an Elvis face mask to help celebrate. International Flower Day – 19th Jan   International Flower Day promotes the connection that people share with each other and to show love and appreciation towards friends, family and even strangers, expressed through the gift of flowers. It all began in Tasmania, January 2013 when a father and daughter (Rohan and Brooke Levy) were strolling through a market in Hobart and were stopped by a stranger, who gave them a bunch of flowers. This act of kindness took them completely by surprise and they in turn spent the rest of the day giving flowers to more than 280 complete strangers! Flowers brighten a person’s day they do not need to be in a bunch of flowers, it could be a plant or shrub in your garden. Each time you see a flower, it may bring back memories that bring joy. Memories of your wedding, birth of a child, a place or just that special scent from a particular flower.  What is your favourite flower?  Next time you see a flower make sure you research its meaning. Make someone smile by sending flowers ………Burns Night – 25th January   A Burns Night supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, 1759-1796. Burns suppers may be formal or informal, ranging in full costume with traditional dancing and music or a gathering for a family dinner. A typical supper includes a haggis (traditional Scottish dish) which contains sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt mixed with stock encased in the animal’s stomach. This is often substituted by an artificial casing. The dish is normally served with neeps and tatties. The evening is usually celebrating with a sounding of the bagpipes too. The residents enjoyed a lunch together which included haggis. The afternoon was then spent reading poems and watching a DVD ‘White Heather’ tour. This was all presented by our very own Scottish Ann Marie. Winter Scenes – 26th January Snow arrived for the second time this year. Beautiful scenes from the bay windows at Swarthmore. We also asked others to send in their wintry scenes. We didnt get enough snow to make a snow man, maybe next time.…

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Christmas Donations

Violets GiftsWe were recently contacted by Emily at Violets Gifts with a kind offer of providing Christmas gifts to residents with no loved ones. Emily started the project in 2015 after her own grandmother went in to a care home. She eventually became aware of the amount of people in care homes without loved ones. To follow this touching story please click here. Emily partnered with another registered charity ‘Small Acts of Kindness’ who have been trained by the NHS to ensure their processes are Covid-secure. This allowed volunteers to drop the gifts outside homes, wearing a mask and keeping at a 2m distance. On Thursday 17th December, we were presented with a sack of christmas gifts for residents at Swarthmore Care Home, who are without loved ones. The gifts will be distributed to our residents by the one and only 'Santa Claus' on the big day. I am sure this will put smiles on faces and light up their day.We would like to say a great big thank you for all your dedication and efforts in reaching out to care homes at this time of year. Waitrose GiftsWe would also like to thank our local ‘Waitrose’ store in Gerrards Cross for the donations of mince pies and chocolates for staff and residents here at Swarthmore Care Home. We are all looking forward to enjoying the delights during morning coffee.  Thank you to Ketki, Partner & Community Lead at Waitrose who has organised donations throughout 2020. …

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Swarthmore presents - 'Sleeping Beauty' Pantomime

This year has been difficult for everyone! Christmas in the home would normally be very busy with people coming and going and entertainers performing for the residents. As we know none of this is possible due to government guidelines, due to Covid-19. Ann Marie decided Swarthmore was not going without a Christmas Pantomime this year! So off she went to find a production script and before we knew it, scripts were flying around, and the team were allocated roles to perform in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The cast included a Narrator, King, Queen, Nanny, Jester, Fairies, Fairy Godmother, Evil Fairy, Prince and Princess and a Minstrel. Costumes were provided for everyone taking part. The performance took place in the lounge of the home and a backdrop for the stage area was created. Dixon mastered amazing signage for the performance.  Everyone involved had a part to learn and some were able to enhance their voice.  Avril was the most amazing  Evil Fairy who had the best cackle ever! Jess and Rebecca choreographed amazing moves for the production – hats off to the girls.  I believe we have a few talented staff that may end up in the West End next year! During the interval, choc ices were served in style with a homemade theatre ice cream tray. The cast went off to change costumes for Scene 2  and the residents had their ice cream. Claire narrated the second half of the story dressed an an elf.  The afternoon came to an end with a bit of a sing song for everyone including the residents. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I believe it left everyone feeling the ‘Spirit of Christmas’. The residents applauded and thanked everyone for their hard work and a wonderful performance. I believe this was a special moment; being able to take part in a performance for our very own residents was a pleasure for everyone involved. Claire thanked Ann Marie for her efforts and managing to put together such an amazing pantomime.  We couldnt have done this without you. Merry Christmas Everybody.......... …

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National Day of Reflection 

A Year of Reflection Spring 2020 No one was expecting and I feel still cannot believe we have all been through a worldwide pandemic. Covid 19 brought all kinds of change to everyone’s lives and we are still learning to deal with the changes every day. As the vaccine programme rolls out, we all hope and pray that life will return to normal soon. A reflection of how Swarthmore has dealt with changes throughout the year. Claire Allsopp, Home Manager decided to take an early lockdown based on the news about Covid 19. The decision made was to lock down the home 3 weeks earlier than recommended. This was no easy decision but the main reason for this was to keep residents and staff as safe as possible. We had to source PPE ourselves, kind donations from family members, local businesses, and staff. Additional measures were put into place such as deeper cleaning using additional antibacterial products by our amazing housekeeping team. PPE was worn by all staff entering the home, residents were asked to remain in the home. We took regular checks such as temperature/oxygen sats in case anyone was showing signs of infection. We continue to do so as a precaution. We started to use Zoom, WhatsApp, and video calls with families so all our residents could keep in contact with their loved ones during the first lockdown period. Making the decision to lockdown meant that families/friends and any other person visiting the home were no longer able to do so. This decision obviously played on everyone’s mind, especially Claire’s. Lying in bed one evening she was unable to sleep, so with thoughts running through her mind about the pandemic, she decided to post a request on Swarthmore’s Facebook Page. Claire asked for people to write or email letters to residents to help cheer them up during this difficult time. As a result, we were inundated with wonderful letters, pictures, chocolates, CDs and so on. Several schools from near and far were set class projects, letters and painted rocks were sent from Australia, local author donated several books, our councillor donated games, supermarkets gave us chocolates, the local temple offered goodie bags for staff to say thank you and uniform scrubs were made, along with crochet bands to help alleviate painful ears from wearing mask, Bucks Fire rescue donated visors. We could not believe the response of kind wishes from people all over the world. The letters continued for months afterwards and we have created a memory album for the future as a result. We tried to respond to as many letters as we could at the time, as we were so grateful to everyone. It became a regular discussion with the residents as we read the letters during activities. Claire was contacted by ITN due to the size of the response to her Facebook request. ITN came to the home and filmed some of our residents through the windows and doors, discussing the response to the letters received from people all over the world. One of our residents also received a bouquet of flowers after the news went live. If you would like to see the Swarthmore on ITN 10 O’clock news, please follow the link through our website on the Newsfeed – direct link belowhttps://www.swarthmorecarehome.org.uk/post/news/1/237/itv-news-warm-wishes-from-around-the-world/ Summer After a period of lockdown, we followed the next set of Government guidelines which allowed meeting families again under tight restrictions. We designated our Quiet Room for residents to meet with families etc. We placed a Perspex screen between the room and the patio area outside. This meant that socially distanced visits were carried out to retain the safety of everyone inside and outside the home. This worked very well whilst the weather permitted. In the meantime, we started to research options of how we could continue visits in a safe and secure environment. Ann Marie, Activities Co-ordinator organised our very first Sports Day. The weather was amazing, so everyone came outside to either take part or cheer everyone on during the events. Staff and residents took part in lots of games and races while wearing masks! We had wheelchair races, sack race, football games, hula hoops and so on. We had our very own football coach Mr Tony Doherty who put the staff through their paces with football trials. Sack races had to be the most entertaining as they jumped their way to the finishing line. Awards for All at the end of the afternoon – rosettes and badges were presented to staff and residents. The afternoon was complete with an ice cream; we arranged for a local ice cream van to come to Swarthmore where everyone chose a flavoured ice cream which was delicious. A great afternoon of fun and games was welcomed by everyone at Swarthmore. We also had our first Patio entertainers, singers and musicians who stood outside and played and sang to our residents. We are fortunate that we have a beautiful garden for residents to enjoy. We made the most of it last year. Autumn After months of research, we were fortunate to be able to purchase a Visitor Pod for future visits between residents, families, and friends. This is a purpose-built, private visiting space that provides a safer environment for residents and their families, by significantly reducing the risk of infection. The Visitor Pod is a comfortable place with windows for ventilation and ramps for easy wheelchair access. When using the pod, residents can safely ‘socially distance’ from their visitors thanks to a clear screen with a two-way intercom. Emergency call points have been installed on both sides of the Pod which is sanitised between visits and a daily deep clean. The facility is limited to two visitors at any one time, ensuring both residents and their families are as safe as possible. The pod has already provided countless hours of private, safe visiting time for our residents and their loved ones. We continue to follow Government Guidelines to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. During the pandemic it has been very difficult to continue with our community events due to restrictions. This meant that all activities were taken on board in house. A national campaign we were delighted to get involved with was inspired by Katrina Cole and the children at Gee Cross Holy Trinity School movement, so we contacted our local school, St Marys Girls School in Gerrards Cross. Each year Swarthmore residents would normally visit the school to watch their Christmas productions and other events during the year. The only way we were able to communicate this year, was through this campaign. On Wednesday 9th December, teachers and pupils took a short walk to Swarthmore Care Home and delivered amazing artwork which contained lots of warm wishes. The residents sat in the dining room, peering through the windows, waiting in suspense for the girls and teachers to arrive. As they approached the dining room window, we saw smiling faces and waving hands appearing in the distance. The arrival of new faces brought delight, happiness, and tears of joy. The residents were amazed that these girls took the time to come and wish everyone a ‘Merry Christmas’. The girls performed a dance and sang ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ which was wonderful and very much appreciated by all our residents and staff at Swarthmore. Hearts and Poems were exchanged with some chocolates for the girls to be shared later. Winter Christmas time for anyone is normally full of fun, lots of visitors and just a general buzz in the air. We would normally have lots of entertainment in the home from external production companies, musicians, visit from Santa and much more. Once again Ann Marie came up with a wonderful idea of a Pantomime. A production script of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was put to the members of staff and before we knew it scripts were passed around and lines were learnt. The cast included a Narrator, king, queen, nanny, jester, several fairies, fairy godmother, evil fairy, prince, princess, and a minstrel. Costumes to suit were handed out, we had a makeshift backdrop for the stage in the lounge area and off we went to ‘break a leg’ so they say on stage! Lots of singing and dancing in between scenes, we even served ice cream during the break. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the performance and thanked everyone at the end. This was one of those special moments, able to see the pleasure this brought to the residents that afternoon. Families and members of staff put together a video of warm wishes which was shown to the residents on Christmas Day. As families and friends were only able to visit residents in our Visitor Pod we thought it would bring another special and different moment to the residents day. Without technology it would have been very difficult for everyone – without Zoom and WhatsApp contact would have been almost impossible for residents and families to have contact. We were fortunate enough to receive 2 iPads via the NHS government scheme, we were chosen as a winner from an insurance company after a relative nominated the home for the wonderful care her mother received at the end of her life. It’s amazing how we all adapt in these unprecedented times, and how quickly we have managed to learn new skills Vaccination Programme We were one of the first in Buckinghamshire and one of six care homes in England to be chosen to have in home vaccinations. We have a good relationship with the Chiltern Care commissioning group (CCCG) and we were delighted to welcome the team in on 17th December. Staff are tested once a week, and residents once a month. We also test staff twice weekly with the Lateral Flow Device (LFD). This is what our visitors and contactors also use. One year on With new guidance we welcomed back visitors recently, one named person per resident as well as a continuation of visitors in the pod as many visitors are themselves shielding. PPE, restrictions, NHS app and technology are now part of our ‘norm’. Today marks a year of reflection of Covid19 in the UK and we joined with the nation to remember the residents we have lost during this time, staff members who have lost family and friends due to Covid and for all of us who have in one way or another experience loss over the last year. Today, we also took time to reflect on how we have reinforced the values of Swarthmore in the home and with each other appreciating what each of the values mean in much more depth than perhaps this time last year- namely caring, community, peace, integrity. We are also grateful for the hard work of all keyworkers and the resilience of our amazing residents who have made this all worthwhile. …

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February highlights

Spring is on its way – we have a beautiful carpet of crocus forming at the bottom of the garden and the daffodils are out in bloom. I am looking forward to the sunshine appearing more regularly and hopefully the temperature will turn up a few degrees. I am sure this will lift our spirits and put a spring in our step moving forward. We have enjoyed the month of February with lots of interesting discussions organised by Ann Marie, here are the highlights: Birthday Celebrations An amazing lady celebrated her 107th birthday. Kitty received a birthday card with warm wishes from her Majesty the Queen. We celebrated in style with everyone at Swarthmore with afternoon tea and a special cake, singing and a few dances. We also saw another celebration for a wonderful gentleman who has reached the age of 99. Howard enjoyed a celebration cake and lots of delightful gifts from his family. Discussions Ann Marie and Claire held discussions about ‘dignity’ and what this means to everyone. A Digni-tree was provided so we could place our expressions on a note and hang on a tree so everyone could view and understand how important this is to everyone. One of our residents gave a talk around ‘Quaker Tapestry’ which everyone found very interesting. Below is short read of how it all began: The idea began at the Friends Meeting House in Taunton in 1981 by a boy called Jonathan Stocks. At the age of 11 he felt that the children’s meeting room needed cheering up. Anne was a professional embroider, who had been studying the Bayeux Tapestry. She had a vision of a Quaker tapestry which would be a series of panels illustrating an event or idea from the history of Quaker’s. Each panel was researched, designed then embroidered. A panel was created by different meetings, Anne would oversee the designs to keep it unified. The Tapestry was made by over 4,000 men, women, and children from 15 countries over a period of 15 years and 77 panels, hung chronologically. The tapestry is worked in crewel embroidery yarns on a handwoven woollen background. In addition to using four historic and well-known stitches such as split, stem, chain stitch and the perking knot. Wynn-Wilson invented a new corded stitch which became known as the Quaker stitch; this stitch allowed for tight curves on the lettering. Zoom Meetings We held live zoom meetings with Anne Park, discussions around topics such as french knitting, garden flowers, favourite drinks – of course most popular was a Gin & Tonic! Chinese New Year We celebrated the day with a Chinese lunch. Thanks to our Chef Kuli who created a wonderful Chinese lunch which was enjoyed by everyone. We spent The afternoon was spent talking about the Year of the Ox and the celebrations held throughout this period. Each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac (this is represented by a circle of animals). The Zodiac is based on the Moon and has a 12-year cycle, the planet Jupiter also has the same cycle, this takes about 12 years to orbit the sun. However, there is also a cycle of five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Altogether this creates a 60-year cycle, so the year of the Ox has not happened for 60 years!Looking forward to seeing what March brings – lighter mornings and evenings, warmer weather…………………….. …

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LETS HELP COMBAT LONELINESS

Let us help you or your loved one combat loneliness… We are all social creatures who thrive when interacting and connecting with others. As we age, many of us find ourselves more alone than we were in our younger years, often leading to loneliness. This can result in a state of vulnerability and social isolation. Loneliness is not just a fleeting feeling, it can be crippling both mentally and physically, bringing with it the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and heart disease. The most common reasons for loneliness are the loss of a partner or spouse, separation from friends or family, lack of mobility and retirement. Over the last year we have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been an immense contributor to loneliness as socialising is currently restricted. As we become older, the reliance on the outside world increases and we crave company more so than ever to avoid feeling lonely. Swarthmore Residential Care Home, in Gerrards Cross, provides a way of living that reintroduces that vital ingredient to a happy life. We provide Residential, Respite and End of Life Care. Swarthmore is set in beautiful grounds with a truly homely feel, and a focus on person centred care Engaging in meaningful activities with fellow residents can make a huge difference to our mental health and wellbeing, giving us a natural mood boost and a sense of purpose which in turn improves our cognitive functioning. Anyone feeling lonely may also have a weakened immune system, which could have an impact when the body encounters infections and viruses. Key Statistics according to Age UK: 1 million older people in the UK say they are lonely (pre Covid-19) 49% of 65 years+ (UK) say that TV or pets are their main form of company Loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day People suffering from loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people with a lower degree of feeling lonely 6% of older people (nearly 600,000) leave their home only once a week, if at all 30% say they would like to go out more often 41% of people age 65 and over in the UK feel out of touch with the pace of modern life.  This rises to 72% from the age of 85 Older women say they feel lonelier than men How Swarthmore Residential Care Home helps combat loneliness: Befriending - build friendships in small groups or choose to have one to one visits from our activity team. We introduce you to like-minded residents so you can share your interests. Making friends with our fellow residents and care team helps remove feelings of loneliness. Birthdays – we love a reason to celebrate – a special cake is presented, and our super carers are always on hand to sing that birthday song and have a dance. No-one spends their birthday alone! Communication - families are being forced to spend time apart during the pandemic. Different methods of communication have been introduced to our daily life. Here, at Swarthmore we introduced WhatsApp video calls, Skype and Zoom meetings, so everyone can keep in touch. We also hold activities alongside other care homes so we can interact with others who are having similar experiences. Visiting - To combat loneliness and isolation, we have purchased a new Visitor Pod. This is a purpose-built, private visiting space that provides a safer environment for residents and their families, by significantly reducing the risk of infection. The Visitor Pod is a comfortable place with windows for ventilation and ramps for easy wheelchair access. When using the pod, residents can safely ‘socially distance’ from their visitors thanks to a clear screen with a two-way intercom. Emergency call points have been installed on both sides of the Pod which is sanitised between visits and a daily deep clean. The facility is limited to two visitors at any one time, ensuring both residents and their families are as safe as possible. The pod has already provided countless hours of private, safe visiting time for our residents and their loved ones. We continue to follow Government Guidelines to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. Activities - We have a range of activities available twice a day, such as musical entertainment, movie afternoons, arts and crafts, poetry, quizzes with prizes, exercise classes and much more – refer to Activity Schedule on our website for more information. Meals – Healthy and nutritional home cooked food is presented in our cosy dining area along with afternoon teas and much more. Here you can enjoy your meals with fellow residents. You also have the choice of eating in your room if you prefer. Landscaped Gardens – Swarthmore’s gardens have been designed to suit all seasons, so you can enjoy the views throughout the year. You can relax on the patio during glorious weather or view the landscape through the bay windows in the cold winter months. A variety of wildlife like to visit the garden, so you will never be lonely. Care Team – here at Swarthmore Residential Care Home, we provide kind, compassionate care, tailored to each individual. We believe in treating our residents with respect, dignity, equality, and integrity. We respect your independence and hope that you will find peace and friendship within our community. We all know that all family members may not live locally to each other which can bring added stress and worry for everyone. We are all juggling life under difficult circumstances at present, due to the current pandemic. We may not be able to visit our loved ones or be visited by them. Concern about elderly relatives and their well-being is paramount in family’s minds. Intervention is sometimes required to ensure security and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Family and friends may identify signs to suggest relatives are not coping. Loneliness can play a significant contributor in the decline of well-being. Please contact Swarthmore Residential Care Home - we are here to discuss all your needs and concerns and help you to make the next move as worry free as possible. For an informal chat, please contact Sally Warminger, Sales Manager on 01753 885663, Option 1 New Care Enquiries Let’s combat loneliness together….. …

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January Highlights

Where did January go? Swarthmore activities continues to celebrate memorable dates with our residents throughout the month. Here's a summary of what we celebrated in January:New Years Day  We celebrated with a wonderful feast and a glass of wine to bring in the New Year.  Happy New Year to Everyone.Elvis Presley - January 8th   We celebrated Elvis Presley’s birthday today. The ‘King of Rock and Roll’ was remembered at Swarthmore Residential Care Home. He was one of the most revolutionary cultural icons of the 20th Century, his musical and theatrical legacy continues to rock the world today. His first single ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ 1956, began a string of number one hits that radically changed the American music. Elvis became the forefront of Rock and Roll. In 1958 he was drafted into the army and served in West Germany. Some time later, he began an acting career which then pushed him to perform live on stage. We have many fans of Elvis hear at Swarthmore including staff. An afternoon of songs and dancing was held in the lounge, who could resist a little boogie!!! I can name one lady who would definitely be on the dance floor! We had an afternoon of residents and staff appearing around the home wearing an Elvis face mask to help celebrate. International Flower Day – 19th Jan   International Flower Day promotes the connection that people share with each other and to show love and appreciation towards friends, family and even strangers, expressed through the gift of flowers. It all began in Tasmania, January 2013 when a father and daughter (Rohan and Brooke Levy) were strolling through a market in Hobart and were stopped by a stranger, who gave them a bunch of flowers. This act of kindness took them completely by surprise and they in turn spent the rest of the day giving flowers to more than 280 complete strangers! Flowers brighten a person’s day they do not need to be in a bunch of flowers, it could be a plant or shrub in your garden. Each time you see a flower, it may bring back memories that bring joy. Memories of your wedding, birth of a child, a place or just that special scent from a particular flower.  What is your favourite flower?  Next time you see a flower make sure you research its meaning. Make someone smile by sending flowers ………Burns Night – 25th January   A Burns Night supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, 1759-1796. Burns suppers may be formal or informal, ranging in full costume with traditional dancing and music or a gathering for a family dinner. A typical supper includes a haggis (traditional Scottish dish) which contains sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt mixed with stock encased in the animal’s stomach. This is often substituted by an artificial casing. The dish is normally served with neeps and tatties. The evening is usually celebrating with a sounding of the bagpipes too. The residents enjoyed a lunch together which included haggis. The afternoon was then spent reading poems and watching a DVD ‘White Heather’ tour. This was all presented by our very own Scottish Ann Marie. Winter Scenes – 26th January Snow arrived for the second time this year. Beautiful scenes from the bay windows at Swarthmore. We also asked others to send in their wintry scenes. We didnt get enough snow to make a snow man, maybe next time.…

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Christmas Donations

Violets GiftsWe were recently contacted by Emily at Violets Gifts with a kind offer of providing Christmas gifts to residents with no loved ones. Emily started the project in 2015 after her own grandmother went in to a care home. She eventually became aware of the amount of people in care homes without loved ones. To follow this touching story please click here. Emily partnered with another registered charity ‘Small Acts of Kindness’ who have been trained by the NHS to ensure their processes are Covid-secure. This allowed volunteers to drop the gifts outside homes, wearing a mask and keeping at a 2m distance. On Thursday 17th December, we were presented with a sack of christmas gifts for residents at Swarthmore Care Home, who are without loved ones. The gifts will be distributed to our residents by the one and only 'Santa Claus' on the big day. I am sure this will put smiles on faces and light up their day.We would like to say a great big thank you for all your dedication and efforts in reaching out to care homes at this time of year. Waitrose GiftsWe would also like to thank our local ‘Waitrose’ store in Gerrards Cross for the donations of mince pies and chocolates for staff and residents here at Swarthmore Care Home. We are all looking forward to enjoying the delights during morning coffee.  Thank you to Ketki, Partner & Community Lead at Waitrose who has organised donations throughout 2020. …

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Swarthmore presents - 'Sleeping Beauty' Pantomime

This year has been difficult for everyone! Christmas in the home would normally be very busy with people coming and going and entertainers performing for the residents. As we know none of this is possible due to government guidelines, due to Covid-19. Ann Marie decided Swarthmore was not going without a Christmas Pantomime this year! So off she went to find a production script and before we knew it, scripts were flying around, and the team were allocated roles to perform in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The cast included a Narrator, King, Queen, Nanny, Jester, Fairies, Fairy Godmother, Evil Fairy, Prince and Princess and a Minstrel. Costumes were provided for everyone taking part. The performance took place in the lounge of the home and a backdrop for the stage area was created. Dixon mastered amazing signage for the performance.  Everyone involved had a part to learn and some were able to enhance their voice.  Avril was the most amazing  Evil Fairy who had the best cackle ever! Jess and Rebecca choreographed amazing moves for the production – hats off to the girls.  I believe we have a few talented staff that may end up in the West End next year! During the interval, choc ices were served in style with a homemade theatre ice cream tray. The cast went off to change costumes for Scene 2  and the residents had their ice cream. Claire narrated the second half of the story dressed an an elf.  The afternoon came to an end with a bit of a sing song for everyone including the residents. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I believe it left everyone feeling the ‘Spirit of Christmas’. The residents applauded and thanked everyone for their hard work and a wonderful performance. I believe this was a special moment; being able to take part in a performance for our very own residents was a pleasure for everyone involved. Claire thanked Ann Marie for her efforts and managing to put together such an amazing pantomime.  We couldnt have done this without you. Merry Christmas Everybody.......... …