Finding new ways to keep spirits up in Sleaford area’s adult care homes during coronavirus lockdown

The spotlight has swung onto the situation of care homes during the coronavirus with issues from PPE to being isolated from loved ones.

In the Sleaford area, carers have been doing all they can to keep residents’ spirits up in this bewildering time.

Home From Home Care looks after more than 80 adults with learning disabilities across five locations in Lincolnshire. Two homes are in the Sleaford area - Kirk House at Dorrington and Cherry Tree Lodge in Ruskington.

They have been working with a film maker to create a series of documentary Youtube videos giving an insight into the social care frontline at: www.youtube.com/channel/UCUGeVy53oHw4D9sY4LyFZkg.

Annabel Wilder from the company said: “The staff have been working over and above to keep an ordinary life for the individuals as their understanding of the virus is not as great as others.

“They usually go to bowling, swimming and to disco nights, but that has not been possible.”

Instead, staff at Kirk House have set up a little bowling alley. They would also normally go to Club 87 in Lincoln for disco nights, and have set up lights and music in a room to recreate it, with a bar and snacks.

At Cherry Tree Lodge staff installed The Cherry Tree Arms in the garden, with pub games and even beer on draught supplied by the Market Square Cafe in Sleaford. They have also set a little shop. KFC donated takeaway boxes, allowing the home to make up a ‘fakeaway’ night and at Dorrington they hosted a mock McDonald’s drive-through.

A resident at Cherry Tree Lodge enjoying a KFC 'fakeaway. EMN-200427-115651001

Annabel said the team has been so dynamic, dreaming up fun, interactive ideas with the residents.

At Glenholme Holdingham Grange care home in Sleaford, staff and residents filmed themselves joining in Peter Kay’s remake of Is This The Way to Amarillo for BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser. The footage made it onto the show.

Manager Hazel Whittaker said: “Everyone could join in as we have balconies and a lovely courtyard. One of our ladies in the clip dancing with me is 94.”

Ryan Allsopp, a fire safety technician and former care worker at Glenholme Holdingham Grange, has been appealing to family and friends to join in an idea to cheer up the residents.

The Cherry Tree Arms, temporary pub set up for residents at the Ruskington adult care home to make up for not being able to travel under coronavirus restrictions. EMN-200427-174254001

Along with a friend, Lis Reynolds, they are inviting children to send letters and pictures for the residents.

He said: “They would love to hear from the community and this would hopefully put a smile on their faces and give them a link to the outside world in these strange times.”

They have set up two makeshift letterboxes on London Road near the railway crossing and near St Botolph’s School between 9am and 4pm for people to post letters and pictures. Ryan said: “I have asked the care home and they said it is OK - they have strict rules in place for post.”

One of the temporary homemade letter boxes for cards and pictures to be sent to Holdingham Grange care home residents to brighten their days. EMN-200427-174007001