Meet our Activities Coordinator, Kay Vevers
Hi, my name is Kay and I am one of the Activities Coordinators here at Westergate House.
I have worked in the care setting for over 30 years. I started as a healthcare assistant and then progressed to Senior Carer and Team Leader. After twenty years of enjoying all aspects of the role, I was encouraged to train as an Activities Coordinator and gained a NAPA qualification. This then lead me to be promoted to Activities Team Leader a year before joining Westergate House.
I find activities to be an exciting job role. I love learning about the residents life history and planning activities to suit all the residents' different needs.
On a personal note, I love music and singing and reading about Tudor history. My claim to fame is, when I was when at school. I was chosen as part of the cast of ‘Carmen’ and I sang as understudy at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The cast was then invited on to Blue Peter to sing our song. This was quite an experience for a 14 year old, and I have loved music and singing ever since, and use every opportunity to bring music and singing into the weekly programme while still including a full variety of meaningful activities.
Activities at our home
Our activities team are great at building the activities programme around the likes and interests of the people we care for. Ensuring that our social events offer fun and adventure is part of the ethos of our home; it’s important that those we support can enjoy an active and social lifestyle. Of course, there will always be those who prefer peace and quiet, and in these instances, a cup of tea and a chat are always welcomed.
Life at Westergate House Care Home
National Elf Day
Friday 4th December was a fun and eye-catching day at Westergate House. Staff swapped their uniforms for a rainbow of colourful costumes on National Elf Day to help raise funds for people living with dementia.
National Elf Day was launched by the Alzheimer’s Society and is regarded as an entertaining day in the run up to Christmas. It was created to sprinkle some festive cheer on fundraising towards finding a cure for dementia, and encourages participation through the donning of stripy socks and head-to-toe elf outfits. There really are no rules! Anything goes – there’s snow better way to raise money to help beat dementia.
During our Elf Day, staff and residents were able to enjoy elf-themed games, special treats and a raffle of super prizes. Photographs were taken and merriment ensued. Behind every corner there was a naughty elf!
The residents were amused by the antics; they felt it was a very festive day and laughed at the range of costumes. It was wholeheartedly agreed that Elf Day was a wonderful way to raise awareness for the charity.
Elf Day is always a lot of fun and we are home to some of the most unusual elves ever! We know first-hand that many people, including a good number of our residents, are living with some form of Alzheimer’s. That’s why raising money to support dementia charities is dear to our hearts and we’re always so keen to get involved. We’re proud that the money we’ve raised will go towards such a good cause.
Christmas Cake Competition
It was competition time on Wednesday. Our residents and staff were invited to pitch their skills against others at local Barchester homes and decorate Christmas cakes with a festive theme. Our Head Chef’s entry was a wonderful watercolour of Westergate House, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. Eric then helped to bake the cakes with our residents and we produced our second entry.
This cake was decorated by the residents, who combined their creative skills, resulting in a beautifully crafted design. Dennis started the project by painting a fabulous watercolour Christmas tree, which was then given a red backdrop and laminated so it could be positioned on top of the cake. Everyone then discussed how the cake should look. Different ideas were tried out until each member of the decorating team was happy with the final plan. The finishing touches included reindeer and snowmen together with a satin red bow to bring the design together. We all sat back and admired the end result with a well-deserved cup of tea!
Our New Visiting Pod
The residents at Westergate were thrilled when we opened our newly furbished visiting suite. This safe and welcoming room will enable residents to spend time with their loved ones during the autumn and winter seasons in addition to the outdoor visiting that has been on offer for those able for many months.
The emphasis on balancing resident wel-lbeing and safety is of paramount importance at Westergate House and we understand how critical it is for residents and their family and friends to be able to spend time together in the safest way possible. We are delighted that the opening of the new suite has coincided with the Christmas season.
Residents and their family and friends are excited to know that visits are possible, in a safe environment, as we enter the colder season. It is a great relief to know that catch-ups can continue to take place, in addition to the outdoor visiting that is already offered for those who are able.
The visiting suite has been designed with both comfort and safety in mind, and has been recently adapted from a room which is accessible internally by residents and externally by visitors. The room is similar to a living room with comfortable furnishings and heated to create a welcoming and warm environment for residents to continue to spend time with their loved ones in the upcoming months. The room has an intercom system fitted so residents can clearly communicate, and engage in conversation, whilst being able to see their friends and family through a Perspex glass divider fitted for safety to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Infection control protocols and safe social distancing are in place for every visit, including a hand sanitizer station before entry. Cleaning at Westergate House Care Home will take place after each visit to ensure chairs, seats, hard surfaces including windowsills, and the Perspex glass divider are wiped down appropriately.
The feedback from families to date has meant that the majority of people would accept unusual arrangements if it meant being able to see their loved ones while also keeping themselves safe, as a temporary measure. Barchester hopes to allow visits again as normal once it is safe to do so following government guidance.
The Festive Season
Boxes were dusted down and trees unfurled last week as the Christmas decorations came out of storage for the decoration of Westergate House. It wasn’t long before every part of the home was lit up and twinkling with festive lights and beautiful Christmas trees.
Following a year where fun and laughter have sometimes been on hold, there was a merry atmosphere as the decorations went up. The kitchen team ensured the residents enjoyed the activity with glasses of sherry and Christmas nibbles. Kay, the Activities Coordinator, added to the jolly atmosphere by playing Christmas tunes.
Naturally, with all things looking Christmassy, we were soon caught up in plans for what is happening in the month of December. The activities team have put together a wonderful calendar of events; there’s something for everyone. Plans include card-making sessions while sipping a festive beverage of egg-nog; a Christmas cake competition the decoration of ginger-bread houses, afternoons of music and Christmas movies and a Christmas pantomime.
This year, residents and staff will explore their talents by performing Cinderella. There are roles for everyone, whether taking the plunge and throwing themselves into acting roles; ensuring festive treats are plentiful or working behind the scenes to help everything roll smoothly—one thing that is guaranteed: fun and giggles will result from the enthusiasm and efforts!
On Christmas Eve, there will be a party with drinks and canapés. Christmas Day will see the arrival of Santa and his sleigh, laden with gifts for all the residents; a super Christmas lunch and a festive film during the afternoon.
Residents Continue to Enjoy their Much Loved Hobbies
Westergate House fully support our residents to continue and even rekindle their passion for their favourite hobbies. Dennis has painted watercolour pictures for many years and has recently tried his hand at drawing with pastels. However, Dennis did say he finds it rather messy!
Dennis’ pictures are a delight and are shown in several activity displays. Thank you Dennis.
Celebrations Continue at Westergate House
Westergate House continue to celebrate landmark birthdays and anniversaries with support from all the staff at the home. The staff have helped by arranging visits for our residents on these special days and decorating the visiting area with balloons, banners and flowers together with one of our delicious freshly made cakes from our head chef, Eric, who always makes the day special.
Good wishes go out to all our residents celebrating this month.