2 weeks ago
We know how important visiting is for the social and mental wellbeing of our residents, so we are delighted to announce a resumption of indoor visiting at two of our homes next week.
From Monday January 17, family and friends will be able to book indoor visits at Spring Grove and Springview. At the latter, it will also be possible to visit in the outdoor gazebo if people so wish.
At Spring Lane, from Monday January 17, family and friends will be able to book outdoor gazebo visits. The resumption of indoor visiting will take a little longer as there are still a small number of positive cases remaining in the home, but we hope these will be resolved soon. As always there is access to a digital tablet device to allow face-to-face chats. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you would like to use this.
Meanwhile, as announced in the last newsletter, we are working on a plan to allow each resident in every home an “essential care giver”, which would open up visiting still further. We’ll let you know as soon as we can implement this.
2 weeks ago
A HAPPY New Year to all of you. It was a wonderful moment on Christmas Day when Steve, our activities coordinator at Springview arrived in the guise of Santa. The smile on people’s faces was a pleasure to behold. It was one of the highlights of the recent festivities, which were many and joyous, crowned with delicious Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.
Manager Lori organised a splendid party at Spring Lane, and we reported in our last newsletter on the grand celebration at Springview, with the Salvation Army’s carols around the fire-pit. You can see some of the pictures of folk having fun on our social media feeds, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – which you can access through our new website www.springdene.co.uk.
New Year was a delight, with parties in the homes and Buck’s Fizz all round, followed by one of Steve’s wonderful horse-racing sessions on New Year’s Day. The winner was the delightful Doreen, who reported that she was chuffed with her victory
Unfortunately, the shadow of Omicron has hung over us, as it has for everyone else throughout the UK. At each of our homes a small number of staff have contracted the illness and have had to be off work isolating. There has been an outbreak among the residents at Spring Lane, which luckily is mild and mostly limited to a few sniffles so far.
Inevitably, there are knock-on effects. In Spring Lane, residents have had to stay in their rooms to comply with official guidelines. Visiting has had to stop, too. It has been possible to continue it at Springview, using the outside gazebo, but it has had to be halted at Spring Grove, since the layout of the building means the gazebo cannot be accessed without passing through the interior of the home.
At all three homes it is possible to make face-to-face calls with loved ones, using the digital tablets that are provided. We know is not much compensation, but the facility is there. Rest assured that meanwhile every effort is being made with infection control. All our staff are vaccinated and have to take a daily test before entering the home. The same applies to essential contractors, who must also show their vaccination status and take a test before entering.
Like all of you, we hate having to close the homes to visitors. However, the good news is that we are studying a new plan, which would allow each resident to have a designated “essential care giver”. This would allow the possibility for one nominated member of the family (or friend) to have much wider access to their loved ones, including visiting in their rooms for much of the day. Tests would have to be taken and full PPE would have to be worn. We can’t promise at the moment that this will happen, but our Group Operations Manager is carrying out a risk assessment and we will let you know the outcome as soon as possible.
Meanwhile we are celebrating our lovely residents of the week who are presented with flowers and chocolates and the chance to make their wishes come true. At Springview, our chosen resident is the fantastic Mrs Gladys Gathergood – 108 years old and still going strong. With a fantastic smile and a lovely laugh, Gladys is one of the oldest people in the country. Born in Stratford, east London, Gladys is the heart and soul of Springview. She loves the Salvation Army, with which she was brought up and tells us that her favourite food is steak and kidney pudding. We’ll try and oblige you, Gladys.
Over at Spring Lane is another national treasure, the veteran peace campaigner Pat Arrowsmith. Pat is famously the co-founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. She is a writer and a poet and a legendary campaigner for women’s rights. As those who know her observe, there’s plenty of fight in Pat yet! A slightly ascetic lady, Pat has no particular wishes for celebrating being resident of the week, but we’ll make sure she is thoroughly pampered.
Eve Upton at Spring Grove is a very private lady who likes peace and quiet and enjoys studying nature. She describes herself as an observer rather than a participator. A former secretary before she got married, she takes pleasure in her three children and three grandchildren. Eve is especially fond of her daughter’s dog Hermes and is partial to cottage pie, spinach and carrots.
We’re also celebrating our “Three Musketeers” – three wonderful ladies (above) at Springview, who are marking their centenaries and more in 2022. Glady Gathergood (centre), who has been with us since 2015 is 109 on April 21, while Violet Stone (right), who joined us in 2018, will be 101 in June. Kathleen Taylor, with us since 2019, will also be 101. Her birthday is September 30. Congratulations, ladies, and long may you thrive!
The excellence of care at Springdene is a major factor in longevity and we’ve just received some lovely testimonials to the quality of what we do. Felicity Moir writes of her sister’s life at Spring Grove: “The home provides excellent care with a friendly and homely environment. Some of the care team have been there for a long time and have gotten to know the residents well. They provide lots of activities that keep the residents stimulated – something so necessary as visiting has been restricted and visits away curtailed with Covid. I am very happy with the care my sister receives. In the same home,” Ola U. writes: My father was at Spring Grove for some months of rehabilitation, and I was very happy with the care he received. The staff are so friendly and caring. They ensured he was comfortable, and it was so nice to see him laughing and joking with the carers whenever I came to visit him. They knew members of the family by name and always had time for a chat.
“It was such a pleasant atmosphere, and I could see that my father was well taken care of. The receptionist was amazing and would always do his best to ensure that he could work out a convenient visiting time slot, taking into account the Government Covid visiting guidelines. The activities timetable has a variety of things to suit a wide range of hobbies and interests. I was happy that the staff encouraged my father to join in, and he loved going for activities. Having the activity schedule sent to relatives was helpful, as I could let the staff know the sort of things my father would like. A brilliant home-away-from-home care home!”
Thank you to everybody who has endorsed us. If you feel you could do the same, we’d be delighted to hear from you. On a final note, we know how many of you are interested in the progress of our sponsored Medical Detection Dog puppy, Spring. Well, there’s a lot of tail wagging going on and we’re happy to report that Spring’s sniffing skills for illnesses such as Covid are getting better by the day.
We’re very touched by the generosity of the family of Springview resident Harriet Cullen who were so impressed by the work of the Medical Detection Dogs that they nominated the charity for donations, instead of flowers at Mum’s funeral. The charity was Harriet’s favourite. As a result a cheque for £620 has been sent off today and Spring will be the beneficiary. Thank you one and all!
1 month ago
We promised that we would update you on the latest situation regarding the Omicron variant of Covid-19. As you know it is spreading widely throughout the population and it is affecting us at Springdene, too.
We have unfortunately had outbreaks among staff at all three homes, and although the infection affects only a few, it means that under Department of Health and Social Care rules we must change visiting arrangements. Thankfully, no residents have been infected so far, and we wish to keep it that way.
At Spring Lane and Springview visiting will only be available in the outside gazebos, which are heated and which we will make as comfortable as possible. At Spring Grove, sadly, this option will not be available because the architecture of the building does not allow access to the outside without passing through the building. We are sorry that visiting will not be possible here.
However, you will also be able to “visit” through the windows and to make a face-to-face call online through the tablet devices we have available.
We also know that many of you had planned to take your loved ones out over the Christmas period. Following the rules, we strongly advise you against this, so as to avoid spread to the community. We know that some of you were planning to take your relative out over Christmas, whether it was during the day, or overnight, but if they were to become symptomatic whilst in your care, they would then need to quarantine in your residence for the fourteen-day period, unless they are confirmed covid negative as we do not want the risk of knowingly bringing the virus into the home.
Please be assured that for residents staying within the homes, we promise a wonderful time. There will be fantastic activities, thanks to our devoted managers, Lori, Sony and Tamas. And a wonderful Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.
We are sorry to bring you this news over the festive period. It is as distressing for us as it is for you. We have worked very hard to keep infection out of the home and we know you will cooperate with us. If the situation changes, we promise to bring you the latest news as soon as possible.
1 month ago
Latest rules regarding the new Omicron variant
EVERY one of you be aware, after all the news in the media over the past few days, of the seriousness of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is spreading fast through the population.
Now ministers have brought in new rules to protect the residents of care homes. From this week, the Department of Health and Social Care have announced that care home residents will be allowed three visitors in all, who must be nominated in advance. An additional “essential care-giver” will also be permitted
In addition, there will be more precautions for residents visiting family and friends outside the home. Fully vaccinated residents will be asked to take a lateral flow test on alternate days for two weeks after each outing, while those not vaccinated will have to isolate in their rooms for 14 days after returning.
This will affect our Springdene homes in different ways. Because, unfortunately, a small number of staff at Springview have tested positive, there will be no indoor visiting at the home. Visits will have to take place in the outdoor gazebo, in which heating will be provided. Nor will families at Springview be permitted take their loved ones out – in order to avoid bringing infection back into the home. Visiting at Spring Grove and Spring Lane will be under the government’s new rules.
You can help us over this Christmas period in several ways. First, please make sure we know who your nominated visitors are. Second, if at Spring Grove or Spring Lane, please inform us well in advance if you are planning to take your loved ones out of the home for lunch or other reasons. It is sensible to make sure that family and other gatherings are restricted to a small size. You may wish to avoid taking them out at all.
You can assist us, too, by taking your lateral flow tests at home before you come to our homes. You can record them on the NHS app or bring in a photograph of the completed test with the date on.
With Omicron, we are in a fast-moving situation and if any of this changes, we’ll let you know straight away. In the meantime, from all of us at Springdene, we wish you the best possible Christmas!
2 months ago
CHRISTMAS came early to Springdene this week with compliments of the season all round. The Christmas lights were switched on at the front of Springview and there was some hearty singing, with carols from the Salvation Army band.
It was a moment of sheer magic when our oldest resident, Gladys Gathergood, aged 108, joined in (see picture above). To stave off the cold of the chilly December afternoon there was hot punch, mince pies and doughnuts for everyone. Even more delightfully, a fire was lit and marshmallows toasted in the flames. The aroma of wood smoke and marshmallow was so evocative! There was a huge round of applause when the lights were illuminated and a snow machine sent flakes tumbling from above.
In the spirit of ecumenism candles were lit to celebrate the Jewish season of Chanukah – the Festival of Lights. Everyone agreed it was a wonderful occasion, with Tidings of Comfort and Joy for all our residents and staff. And there will be a cornucopia of celebrations to follow over the next few weeks at all three homes.
While on the subject of Christmas, several of you have asked about visiting arrangements over the Festive Season. The answer is that we are open for visiting all over the holidays, but please do book early to get the best slots. As usual, visits will be on a rota system, and according to government rules, access will need to be in the visiting room, rather than in residents’ own rooms. With the new Omicron strain of Covid threatening us, we cannot be too careful.
You can, of course, take Mum or Dad out for lunch, but remember you will have to take a Covid test first. You will also need to let us know of your plans well in advance. But maybe your loved ones would like to stay in – our chefs are preparing a splendid Christmas repast with all the trimmings. (There won’t be any visiting between 12 and 3 on Christmas Day while lunch is prepared and served.)
Of course, celebrations at Springdene are not just about Christmas. We’ve had a couple of marvellous parties over the past month to mark the birthdays of two of our centenarians. Mrs Dorothy Quill was 101, and Lori, our manager at Spring Lane, organised a magnificent cake with a splendid bouquet of flowers and arranged a sparkling toast with a glasses of prosecco all round. Meanwhile, Madge Ewart attained her century in style, with Lori doing her proud also.
We’re pleased to announce a new addition to our activities team, welcoming the arrival of Ashley Mizen at Springview. Ashley has a wealth of experience from his previous life in the Armed Forces and is a fantastic all-rounder. He joins his skills with those of the existing team, Magda, Odile, Steve and Malwiina, who have been keeping everyone fabulously entertained
It’s good to hear how much you appreciate their work and that of our carers. For instance, family member Elizabeth Roberts writes: My mother has been a resident at Spring Lane since 2014, and her increasing needs as her dementia has progressed have been met incredibly well. She loves her carers, who treat her with respect, compassion and warmth.
“The activities programme is extensive, engaging and varied, food is really good, and rooms are comfortable, clean and well maintained. The staff and management deserve much praise and appreciation for their dedication, heroism and hard work during the pandemic, keeping residents safe and happy, and relatives informed about their well-being. I would highly recommend Spring Lane.”
Indeed, we owe a huge amount to our wonderful staff, who are at the heart of our operations at Springdene. As you will know, they are caring, loyal, diligent and kind, having worked selflessly during the Covid pandemic. Many of them have been with us for several years.
However, as you’ll have seen in the media, the labour market in the care sector is extremely difficult. Now, in order to ensure we retain our existing staff and recruit the best new people, we have made the decision to increase our pay rates.
In the New Year we are raising our rates for everyone to accord with the London Living Wage. We believe that as a responsible company and a good employer, this is the right thing to do. The London Living Wage is calculated independently to reflect the higher cost of living in the capital, giving a worker in London and their family enough to afford the essentials and to save. It is voluntary and not required by law, but represents best practice.
This means that we will have to raise our rates for residents, too. Unfortunately, there are other increases in costs that we are facing. As you know, domestic fuel prices have rocketed. In addition, Covid-19 has meant increases of up to 60 per cent in our insurance bills. And from next April, we have to fund the government’s “Health and Social Care Levy” on National Insurance of 1.25 per cent.
The upshot is that it is necessary to increase our resident rates by 8.5 per cent. By now all of you should have received a personal letter to this effect. Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to keep costs down in these difficult times, and to this end, our directors are not taking any increase in their own salaries.
If you have any comments on the above, please get in touch with our CEO Michael Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will do his best to answer any concerns.
On a different note, we thought you might like to hear about the progress of our adopted puppy, Spring, who thanks to your generosity, is being trained to become a Medical Detection Dog, able to sniff out conditions such as Covid, cancer and diabetes. Spring is now six months old and will soon be allocated his red “in training” coat. It’s a proud day for him! He lives with Helen and her family in Milton Keynes – the setting for the start of his journey to becoming a fully-fledged life-saving dog.
Spring is a very bright boy and has a cheeky and fun personality. He has been able to meet with fellow dogs in training and has been regularly at puppy classes. Alongside the hard work of his trainer, Loren, this means that he now has a good level of basic obedience and has been learning new life skills.
Early socialisation is a key part of any dog’s training programme and Spring has been round the local area, visiting garden centres and shops. He receives a lot of admiring glances from members of the public.
At the moment, Spring’s biggest distraction is other dogs, and his trainers have been working hard on his behaviour around them. He is also practising walking nicely on the lead in a variety of different places. He will be getting lots of support and guidance in these areas with Loren as well as his socialisers.
Spring is Helen’s third dog in training for Medical Detection Dogs and she is really enjoying having him around the house. He can usually be found playing in the garden and he loves fuss and attention.
Everyone is pleased with Spring’s early progress – and thanks again to Springdene families for their support. We’ll bring you another update soon on the pup’s progress.
Lastly, we’d like to commend to you our exciting new website. Bright and modern with specially-taken new pictures, this is the gateway to Springdene and tells you everything you need to know about us. We think you will especially enjoy the videos of interviews with your loved ones. The website can be found at www.springdene.co.uk
It will also link you to our social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which bring you more news and pictures in addition to this newsletter. It will be great if you can “like” and “follow” us on our social media platforms. See you on board!
3 months ago
IN THE PINK! As you can see from the picture, the residents of Spring Lane are all dressed up in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day and having a tipple and a great time.
In fact, as somebody remarked: “It seems always to be party time at Spring Lane” –and manager Lori, with Magda and her team, have organised some fantastic celebrations over the past few weeks.
For animal lovers, there has been Pet Therapy Day and bakers have been engrossed in Fresh Herb-bread Baking Day. Not to mention fruit and vegetable printing, which was great fun for all, as well as indulging in a very popular pampering session.
Angela Peetamsingh, daughter of Vilma Ali, was moved to write: “Thank you, Lori. Mum was always very particular about her makeup, hair and nails. She was a personal secretary/shorthand typist in the city for most of her working life. I can see that she has enjoyed this session. Thank you so much for looking after her so well.”
Not just fun at Spring Lane, but the other homes as well. Music and art have been thriving at Spring Grove, thanks to Tegan and Odile, while Steve at Springview has been wowing everyone with his legendary singalongs. Everyone has had huge fun in the past week preparing for Halloween tomorrow. The decorated pumpkins look fantastic and we’re told the Halloween biscuits are especially delicious. A spooky time is sure to be had by all.
While our activities staff have worked so hard during the dark days of the pandemic to generate entertainment “in house”, we’re now looking at introducing more outside entertainment. Spring Grove and Spring Lane residents have been treated to the ever-popular musical talents of Roddy Skeaping, while a group of musicians from Live Music Now have been entertaining folk at Spring Grove. Other new outside entertainers will follow and we will keep you posted.
There’s lots of other good news to report. Springview has won a silver medal for its lovely gardens in the Enfield in Bloom competition. Congratulations to Stacey-Louise, whose green fingers helped make it all blossom. We’re happy to say, too, that the homes have remained Covid-free for many months now, thanks to all the precautions taken by our hard-working staff – and you, the visitors, who have patiently endured our testing regimes.
While the media have reported low rates of booster vaccinations in care homes around the country, we’re proud to say that almost every resident in our homes who is entitled to a booster has had one.
Also, as of November 11, all our staff will have been fully vaccinated and anyone who enters the homes – whether medical staff, tradespeople or entertainers – will have to show proof of their jabs. This will provide an additional layer of security.
However, a cautionary word. As you will have seen in the news, Covid infection rates are soaring again in the community. It is vital that the virus is not brought into the homes, and we would urge all folk to make sure they have had their vaccines. While this is not a legal requirement for visitors seeing their loved ones, we would urge you to make sure you have had all jabs available to you. It is a sensible precaution for all.
One of the nice things about our folk at Springdene is the fact that so many have a fascinating back story. Distinguished among these is Rachel Kidd at Spring Grove. Rachel, who is a wonderful painter in her own right, is the daughter of sculptor Barbara Hepworth and the artist Ben Nicholson.
Hepworth is regarded as Britain’s greatest-ever woman artist and Nicholson was one of the finest abstract painters of the 20th century. To add to this distinguished artistic heritage, Rachel’s grandfather was Sir William Nicholson, one of the most eminent painters and portraitists of the Edwardian era.
Chatting as the autumn sun beams through the windows of her fourth-floor room at Spring Grove, Rachel talks of the influence of her family and how it has moulded her life. At 87, still bearing her mothers’ striking features, she speaks of her upbringing in Hampstead and St Ives in Cornwall and how she didn’t start painting until she was in her early forties, after the death of her mother.
Barbara Hepworth died in 1975 as a result of smoking a cigarette in bed. “I have always tried to lead a healthy life,” says Rachel, “Never drinking or smoking.”
“I had no formal training and didn’t know I could paint till I tried,” she says. Yet her paintings, especially her quiet still lives and landscapes, are exquisite and have been exhibited widely in many galleries and collections. At her first London exhibition in 1980, her eminent father commented: “I never realised she could paint so well. I would have been happy to paint that one myself.”
“I was one of triplets,” she says, “and you can imagine what it was like for my parents with their artistic work and three brats on their hands. We must have been a pain in the neck!”
As a result, her mother was a somewhat remote figure. Rachel and her siblings were left with a cook and a nurse while her parents got on with their creative jobs at their studios, off Parkhill Road in Hampstead. Her father was a warmer character – she recalls him playing ball games with her on the sands at St Ives after they moved there from Hampstead at the beginning of the war. Rachel still loves ball games, she says, because of what Ben taught her.
Their Hampstead house was a veritable salon for the great artists of the day. Henry Moore dropped by, and Rachel remembers the great abstract artist Piet Mondrian coming for tea. As a young child she was appalled that he ate off his knife!
These days Rachel no longer paints – and devotes herself to her three adult children and their families. But she stays in touch with the artistic world by reading The Guardian every day, as well as indulging her passion for classical music. And she still has an eye for a landscape, savouring the view from her window with the leaves turning golden. “I saw a fox curled up on the lawn in the sunshine the other day. It was lovely.”
Meanwhile, we congratulate our residents of the week, whom we pamper with flowers and chocolates and try to meet their special wishes. Laura Davis at Spring Grove is one of our newest members. She was a journalist, and among other jobs, worked at Woman’s Own magazine in London for a while.
She loves Italian food and a glass of sauvignon blanc, so she’s being treated to some of those delights this week, too. She is a lover of music and sang in a choir for many years. Lots of singing and dancing, too, then for Laura!
At Spring Lane, Johanna Maund hails from the Cape Province of South Africa. she previously lived in Australia. Johanna was a teacher and thoroughly enjoyed her work educating young minds. She very much enjoys quizzes and documentaries, so we’ve been keeping her brain active with those this week. She isn’t a big eater, but adores fruit, so she’s been treated to a range of lovely different fruits throughout the week.
Joan Barnett at Springview loves keeping fit. We’ve made sure she attends all of the fun exercise sessions this week, as well as some walks, since the weather has been kind to us. She doesn’t drink alcohol, but is quite partial to the occasional fizzy drink such as Coca-Cola. She also really enjoys Chinese food, so we’ve ordered her an oriental treat for her special meal.
Finally, may we offer a very warm welcome back to Kathy, our Business Administrator at Springview, who has been away recovering from a long illness. As many of you will know, Kathy’s lovely smile and cheery manner always light up the reception desk. Good to see you home, Kathy!
4 months ago
EVEN WHEN there are grey skies (of which there have been many recently!) the mood is always sunny at Springdene. Lori, our enterprising manager at Spring Lane, hosted a wonderful barbecue the other day, where residents chomped on burgers and other delicious grilled food. Just how much folk enjoyed it can be seen from the picture above!
At all three homes, residents have been soaking up the last bit of sun among the late blooms in the gardens before autumn approaches. But with this in mind, folk have been busy knitting for the colder months. And they have been enjoying the Spotify playlist “Summer Hits of the Sixties” so as to make the season last that bit longer.
At Spring Grove we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and made some lovely apple prints to denote the occasion. We also celebrated Linda Dean’s 82nd birthday and she asked if she could watch “Hamlet”, which, of course, we fixed for her. She very much enjoyed it. Lori, at Spring Lane, also organised a fantastic cheese and wine party.
We’ve also been celebrating our lovely residents of the week, for whom we grant special wishes, as well as giving chocolates and flowers.
Frances Wilson at Springview loves listening to music and, like her sister Joan (who also lives in the home), was a big fan of dancing in her youth. Frances enjoys participating in most activities and can always be heard singing along to entertaining musicians or joining in with quizzes and offering her answers.
She very much enjoys spending time with her sister Joan and loves to eat chocolate. She’ll no doubt get her fair share this week as well as her favourite tipple – a nice big glass of white wine!
At Spring Grove, Pat Tavignot is a quiet woman who likes to keep herself to herself. She does occasionally enjoy joining us for quizzes or interesting documentaries. She is an avid reader and spends a lot of her time reading in her room. In fact, her first job was at the Marylebone Road Library, the perfect spot for a bookworm!
Pat spent most of her life working in the information bureau which she very much enjoyed. And she spent many holidays in France, one of her favourite places. She hasn’t requested a lot this week, but she adores fruit, so she’ll be given lots of lovely fruity treats all week.
Mary Kelly at Spring Lane is a wonderfully bright and cheery lady. She hails from County Galway in Ireland and is a big lover of music and especially dancing. She jives like no other when a bit of rock ’n’ roll comes on, and can often be seen swinging a member of staff around the room as she leads them in all sorts of lively dance moves!
She is also a very keen cook and loves to help us with baking. She was a huge part of the Great Springdene Bake Off this spring and we look forward to tasting some more of her baked goods in next year’s competition.
Mary has always worked incredibly hard all her life, but her favourite job was working in a kitchen in Palmer’s Green, so it’s no wonder she’s a pro in the kitchen in our home! She has requested Irish stew for her dinner, so we’ll make sure we get her a lovely big portion!
There was another delightful moment when our thoughtful Spring Lane manager Lori organised a birthday celebration for carer Belinda Juco (below), whose husband Mario also worked for us but sadly died after contracting Covid-19. “What a lovely surprise!” said Belinda.
On the business front, our dynamic modernisation plans are starting to bear fruit. Our new website is close to completion. Staff and residents contributed to some wonderful video interviews, which we will share with you soon. Our social media accounts are thriving – try dipping into https://www.facebook.com/Springdene. And we’re thrilled that the pre-application about to be submitted for planning permission for our state-of the art development at Spring Lane.
Here, as well as a general refurbishment, we are increasing the number of rooms and creating a wellbeing centre, complete with hydrotherapy pool. When finished, it will be one of the finest in north London. We’re also pleased to note we are receiving more inquiries again from potential residents after the dip in occupancy due to Covid-19.
And some other good news. We’re pleased to say that all our care staff – and indeed anyone who works in or enters our homes – will have been fully vaccinated by November 11. This is another vital piece in our armoury in the battle against Covid-19.
Finally, this will be our last newsletter in a fortnightly format. The next issue will be published in a month’s time. When we first started these newsletters, back at the height of the pandemic, there was much information to convey to you, especially relating to the exigencies surrounding Covid-19 – infection control, new visiting rules and so on.
Now things have settled down and the homes are humming along nicely (they have been Covid-free for several months), we’re happy to serve you with all our news and views on a monthly basis, though we will, from time to time publish special one-off editions. Have a good weekend and we’ll see you in four weeks!
5 months ago
Do WE need to be vaccinated to visit our loved ones at Springdene? This is a question some of you have asked this week. To recap, the government has announced that all staff in our homes must be double vaccinated by November, otherwise they will not be permitted to work.
The new rule also applies to everyone who enters the premises, whether they are maintenance staff, hairdressers, beauticians or entertainers. However, there is one exception – visitors and friends who come to visit their loved ones in the homes. This is designed to protect the human rights of families.
Nevertheless, we appeal to you to ensure you are double vaccinated before coming to visit Springdene. Predictions are that the highly transmissible Delta variant will become even more rampant in the autumn, especially as schools and universities reopen. The hard work by our staff in testing and cleaning has made sure that our homes have been free from the virus for some months now. We are determined to keep it that way.
But there is a silver lining. The requirement for vaccination means that the door will be open in the not-too-distant future to bring in more outside entertainers to enhance our activities programmes. As you know, since the first lockdown, most of our enviable range of activities have been generated internally. But now we see an opportunity to open it out to more entertainers, lecturers and musicians, who we will be able to verify as safe. Watch this space!
While on the subject of activities, we are very sorry to announce we are saying goodbye to our much-loved group activities manager Eirlys Roff, who is moving on to a new position. Many of you will be familiar with Eirlys, with her huge energy, her lovely smile and always a cheerful word for every resident. She has been responsible for many innovations, including the activities planners, which are sent to you every week. And the entertaining Great Springdene Bake Off and the Springdene Olympics, which so many enjoyed, were developed by Eirlys, too.
Eirlys will remain on hand as a consultant for a short while, but we wish her all the best for the future as she leaves the homes. In the meantime, activities in the homes are in D Issue 45 the capable hands of the rest of the team – Tegan, Magda, Malwina, Steve and Odile while we interview for a new group activities manager.
While on the subject of activities, the best of them were shown off this week as we filmed and photographed for our exciting new website, which we hope to launch in the next few weeks. Tegan and Eirlys sang some of the old songs, Steve invited everybody to his Day at the Races, as well as his very popular Casino, and our very talented Spring Grove resident Marcelle Jay (above) played the piano. It was wonderful to hear her fingers on the ivories.
In her previous life, Marcelle was a distinguished ophthalmologist and is one of many folk at Springdene with a marvellous life story. She was so eminent that a room at University College London was named after her. Another is 99-year-old Lilli Segel, who has just joined us at Spring Lane. Lilli is one of the few people still alive in the UK with memories of pre-war Berlin in the Nazi era where she grew up as a young girl. She came to England as a refugee from Hitler in 1939.
“I call it my Fairy Story,” says Lilli, her bright eyes animated as she tells her tale. As a Jewish child, she had been forced out of her grammar school even though she was a star pupil. “I recall my teacher crying because I had to go. The atmosphere in the city was terrible. I remember all the broken glass from Kristallnacht – it was horrifying.” [In November 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, the Nazis torched synagogues, vandalised Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews.]
But by chance, while in a cafe in the Tiergarten, Lilli had found a handbag belonging to an English girl, with whom she subsequently struck up a correspondence. The girl, Dodi, who lived in Liverpool, encouraged Lilli to escape from Germany and so she fled on a terrifying journey, leaving her parents behind. “Before I got to the border, I saw a Nazi take a child’s teddy bear and slash it open with a knife,” she says.
But Lilli (above) was well looked after and flourished in Britain, marrying and making up for her lost education by doing a degree with the Open University, eventually becoming an academic teaching drama at the University of London, where who worked up to her retirement aged 90. Lilli also occupied a distinguished position at the National Theatre
After retiring she returned to Berlin on a nostalgic visit to her old school and the headmaster was able to dig out her records. “It was amazing after all that time – ‘very good pupil’, it said.” Now, aged 99, with the help of her daughter, Lilli has written up her life story. “I thought that sometime in the future, the world should know about all these events,” she says.
It’s been birthday time for another distinguished resident – Ian Willison CBE, former head of rare books at the British Library. Ian, one of the authors of the “Cambridge History of the Book”, was so thrilled with his birthday celebration that he stood up and made a speech and wrote a card to all who attended, donating two of his books to the Spring Grove library. Thank you, Ian and many happy returns!
And, of course, we mustn’t forget our cherished residents of the week, who we pamper with flowers and chocolates and to whom we grant special wishes.
At Spring Grove our celebrity this week is Lady Elizabeth O’Brien. Elizabeth has lived in many areas of the UK. She was born in Halifax, and has also lived in Birmingham, Wakefield and London. She read medicine at university and is a big lover of the arts, particularly classical music, painting and singing. She was a consultant child psychiatrist and really loved her work. She mostly likes to spend her time relaxing in her room but does like to join in with parties and classical music events. She has requested a gin and tonic and a fish supper, so we will absolutely organise this for her.
Maureen Bennett at Spring Lane adores music and every time she hears it her face lights up. She regularly sings along to her favourites and beams when listening. She is also a huge fan of “Dad’s Army” and “Father Ted”, which she finds hilarious. She was born in Dublin and grew up there. Her favourite job was teaching. She enjoys a sherry, lager or a gin & tonic so we’ll get her at least one of those this week! She has requested scrambled eggs on toast as a treat for breakfast.
Joan Gallaway is one of the quiet people at Springview, but she loves music and used to go dancing all the time. She grew up in Wood Green and has a brother and a sister, who also lives at Springview and the two of them spend all their time together often holding hands.
Joan used to enjoy football and snooker and has very much relished watching the various sporting events in the Paralympics. She has requested a roast dinner and a glass of wine, which we will happily provide her with.
Lastly, we are delighted to receive the following warm tribute from Garry Davison, whose mother is in Springview: “The care and facilities provided at Springview are second to none. I live in South America, and due to Covid restrictions, have not been able to visit Springview to see my mother for over 18 months. I used to visit her every three months.
“It is so comforting for me to know that she is being so well looked after, and at least I get the chance to see her on the weekly Skype video calls that we have. She is doing very well and seems happy with life. The staff at Springview are all amazing, and I would like to send a big thank you to them all for looking after Mum so well.”
Thank you, Garry. It is very much appreciated.
5 months ago
WE HAD looked at quite a few care homes for our then 96-year-old mother. She was increasingly struggling with living at home and we were very pleased to have found Spring Grove,” writes family member Jeremy Bilder, among a number of lovely tributes we have received recently.
He goes on: “The warm atmosphere was immediately apparent, with cheerful, friendly carers and staff. The smiles and laughter from the residents being entertained in the main lounge added to that feel and we were most impressed with the thought and care taken to provide a daily schedule of activities and entertainment. A copy of the schedule is also emailed each week to relatives, together with a really good, creative and amusing newsletter highlighting the past week’s events.
“The happy environment has been there each of our many visits since our mother moved to Spring Grove. In those two years, she has repeatedly told the family how content she is there, and she is always full of praise for the lovely staff. It is so nice to so often see her and the carers pulling each other’s legs and enjoying a laugh and joke together!”
Thank you, Jeremy, for your kind comments, and we are happy to report that soon we will have more communication channels open so that we can interact even better with our families and prospective new residents. First of all, we are revamping our website with a more modern look and exciting new graphics and pictures.
The website, which we aim to launch at the end of next month, will incorporate video and contain useful information such as activities planners and copies of this newsletter. We are planning to undertake the photography in the first week of September, so photographers will be out and about in the homes, working to capture images of them at their best.
We are also launching Instagram and Twitter accounts – all the better to bring you the latest news and pictures from the homes. Our Facebook page is also flourishing, with lots of pictures and news about Springdene. All these social media channels are essential tools in the armoury of modern communications, and are crucial to spreading the news about the work of Springdene Care Homes.
Our Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Springdene Please give it a “like” when you have read it. Meanwhile our Twitter and Instagram feeds can be found at @SpringdeneCare and http://instagam.com/springdenecare respectively.
We’re delighted to report that our homes continue to be free from cases of Covid-19, thanks to the hard work put in by our staff in infection control, as well as rigorous and regular testing of everyone. Meanwhile, there is a major new development affecting our staff.
The government have decreed that from the autumn, all care home workers must be vaccinated. The new legislation means from November 11 anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine unless they have a valid medical exemption.
It will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers coming into the care home.
Those entering care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors will also have to follow the new regulations, unless they have a medical exemption.
We’re pleased to say that some 90 per cent of staff have been double jabbed, but there are some who have yet to make their appointments. We’re very much hoping that they will go ahead and stay on board with us.
While we’re all a bit disappointed by the grey August weather, folk have been able to get out to enjoy Stacey-Louise’s beautifully landscaped gardens, exquisite with colour and fragrance. And a huge amount of fun was had by all with the Springdene Olympics – next best to the real thing, everyone agreed.
Folk made their own Olympic torches out of coloured paper, and you’d be amazed at how competitive Team Springdene were, with wheelchair races, walker races and Zimmer-frame races. The shotput produced some impressive results and the medals (below) were well-deserved. Eirlys is putting the final touches to a video of the events, which we’ll post on our Facebook page and on YouTube when it is done.
Cookery has been on the menu, too. For Afternoon Tea Week last week, Steve at Springview led a group baking some delicious scones, while Magda at Spring Lane laid on a delightful spread in the high dependency unit. There was a splendid repast to coincide with Christine Moir’s 75th birthday at Spring Grove.
Fans of Indian food got a treat when our chefs rustled up a special meal for Indian Independence Day last Sunday. Mulligatawny soup with samosas was on the menu for starters, followed by Butter Chicken Curry with pilau rice. The meal was polished off authentically with some sweet and delicious Gulab Jamun. Namaste!
We’ve also been celebrating our lovely residents of the week who are presented with flowers and chocolates as well as being generally pampered. Lilli Segel at Spring Lane is one of the newest additions to the family. She has a rich and incredibly interesting history. She grew up in Berlin and in 1939 at the age of 17 went to Llandudno as a refugee from Nazi Germany, where she worked in a hotel as a general “dogsbody”.
She is a big fan of exercise, attending yoga and Pilates classes for many years and loves music and theatre. She worked for the National Theatre and even very recently was still teaching theatre studies to adult students at the University of London. She likes small, healthy meals and hasn’t requested anything special as a treat, but really likes very hot coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon, so we’ll make sure she has it!
At Spring Grove, Ian Willison CBE is another fascinating man, highly intelligent and loves to assist us in performing for most projects we ask him to participate in. Ian was the former head of rare books at the British Library and has led an incredibly interesting life, having been been honoured by the Queen – something he is immensely proud of. He likes a Scotch and soda so we’ll treat him to that, and has asked for a medium cooked steak with mashed potatoes and lots of red cabbage!
Joan Barnett at Springview is another recent addition to the Springdene family She likes her own space, but is very keen on doing regular exercise with us in the mornings and walking regularly to keep her legs working. She used to love to travel and went on many trips to Australia and America when she was younger.
Joan worked for National Children’s Homes, which she thoroughly enjoyed because the charity’s mission was wonderful, and she felt she was helping children. She also worked in a solicitor’s office for a long time. Joan has requested some Chinese food for a special meal and a Coca Cola. Well done to all these distinguished folk!
One of the special features of life at Springdene is our Relatives Support Group, which is made up of relatives, friends and professionals who have a common purpose – to support one another in their journey through the lifechanging process of entering a care home. This applies to both the person joining the home and those nearest to them.
We appreciate just how difficult it is to make the decision to place someone into residential care. We also recognise that it is often more distressing for the relatives and friends than for the person being “re-homed”.
The group is open to anyone who currently has a relative or friend in any of the Springdene Group’s homes or has previously had a relative or friend in the homes. We can also help those wrestling with the decision to place a relative or friend in a home.
The group, which meets on Thursday evenings every four weeks, is professionally facilitated by an experienced dementia specialist nurse. In earlier, non-Covid times, the group would convene face-to-face at Spring Lane over tea and cake but now we meet virtually. We discuss difficulties being faced, hear how others have dealt with similar situations and tap into the experts’ opinions on how best to manage issues that are raised. If you would like to join us, then call us at Spring Lane on 020 8815 2000. Meetings are confidential and there is no charge for attending.
If you can’t make up your mind, then listen to this endorsement from our company HR Director Adrienne Rosen: “I found moving my father into a retirement home was a very difficult decision. The support group showed me I was not alone. Subsequently, the group has helped me adjust. It is a place where I can be open and where we can laugh and cry. And the tea and cake [in normal times] are delicious!”
Lastly, we hope you will dig deep for our forthcoming raffle to support our new sponsored charity Sepsis UK, which raises money for research into this devastating condition which kills people needlessly. We have some splendid hampers (see below) to be won. Please contact email@example.com if you would like to give. Thanks so much!
2 years ago
HEARTFELT thanks for all your responses to last week’s newsletter, voicing your appreciation for the heroic and incredibly tough work our staff are doing in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Thank you so much for the newsletter. It means so much to me to hear how you are all getting on. You are all doing such a marvellous job,” writes Anne, Helen Joplin’s daughter. Meanwhile, Kay Thompson emails: “Thank you for keeping us all updated on life at your care homes. It must be a very stressful time for you all but I’m sure you know that what you do is so greatly appreciated by all friends and family.”
Alan and Linda Almond express a view held by many: “We wanted to reiterate how grateful we are to all you guys. The care and diligence that every one of you have displayed has been fantastic. We really do appreciate everything you are all doing.”
We’re delighted to hear that every Thursday evening you are all clapping or rattling saucepans to express your support for our hard-working carers – as well as their counterparts in the NHS. And for that, a big vote of thanks to you too!
We are also grateful for the many tributes to Vivien Frey, our much-loved activities coordinator, who died suddenly earlier this month. They include one from the distinguished actor Simon Callow who first encountered Vivien when his mother Yvonne was in Spring Grove:
‘Vivien stood out as a powerhouse of kindness and enthusiasm, never ceasing for a moment to think about what would enliven the residents’ days. I can see her now, reading out loud from the day’s newspapers, drawing the residents into discussions about world affairs, the arts, personalities of the day – everyone came alive. Vivien was a sparkling, generous, loving spirit and she’ll be terribly missed, not least by me.’
Meanwhile, the hard work at Springdene goes on in these hugely difficult times. You will have read in the press over the past week of the problems with the national supply of personal protective equipment. Well, we are pleased to say that we have been able to source our own supplies for the weeks ahead. Our staff are wearing the full PPE gear as recommended by Public Health England, and because we have adequate quantities, no corners are being cut.
Testing is proceeding apace, with more residents undergoing tests this week. However, testing for staff has not been as fast as we would like because the closest government testing station is a drive-through centre at Wembley and many of our staff do not have cars. However, the government has now offered a pilot scheme for testing at home and the first home testing kits have arrived this week.
You will know that over the past week residents continue to be asked to stay in their rooms for personal protection. We appreciate how frustrating this can be as many of us enjoy a natter with our friends or a comfy seat in the lounge. It’s made even harder in
the absence of visits by friends and relatives. But this is decided on the best medical advice for everybody’s welfare.
Rest-assured, though, that our room-bound residents are getting lots of extra attention from their carers, who make sure they never go short of company. We have a plan in place, as soon as the restrictions are lifted, to allow residents into the communal areas on a phased basis, while keeping social distancing rules. We’ll keep you posted when this happens.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of things to keep folk amused and entertained. Caroline, our activities coordinator at Spring Lane, is presenting everyone with a special pack each day.
The packs have been fun to assemble and each resident gets one tailor-made to meet their requirements. On one day, for instance, the pack contained an ‘Important events from this day in history’ article, an April poem by Laurie Lee, the joke of the day, a ‘name this vegetable’ visual quiz and an animal quiz.
This week Caroline has been taking individual residents on garden visits, with fruit plates and some April flower quizzes. Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23 saw residents working on recognising famous actors who had played a Shakespeare character and the Queens’ birthday on April 21, featured another visual quiz, ‘Name that Royal’.
The quote from the Queen that day was very apt for staff and residents alike: ‘When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.’
Over at Springview, activities coordinator Eirlys has set up a ‘Pen Pal Club’, deploying members of her extended family to write letters to the residents. We hear this is going to be very popular. How nice to get a good old-fashioned letter rather than a cursory email or text! Meanwhile the Vicar of Hampstead Parish Church is arranging for his parishioners to write cards of encouragement to the residents of Spring Grove.
There was another marvellous moment when Gladys Gathergood, our oldest resident at Springview, celebrated her 107th birthday on the Queen’s birthday. Morrison’s supermarket sent her a cake and some flowers. “I was truly Queen for the day,” says a delighted Gladys.
We remain indebted to all our staff for their incredible hard work and devotion to duty during this crisis. Where staff have been self- isolating, extra carers or volunteers are being brought in and we are proud to say that no shift has been left uncovered. We have made sure everyone knows they are appreciated by offering extra sick pay.
Many of you have asked how you can help the staff in their magnificent efforts. One simple way of showing your appreciation is by sending in a treat – it only needs to be something simple like some fruit, a box of chocolates, cakes, some handcream or even a simple ‘thank you’ card.
Getting a treat is a bit like getting a hug, said one, after being presented with a ‘goody bag’ donated by a group of volunteer ladies from Highgate last week. And we all need more hugs these days…