The past 12 months have been tough for everyone as people’s freedom is turned on and off again in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United Kingdom.

But perhaps those that have found it hardest to deal with the various measures imposed is those both living and working in care homes across the country. Based in Blunsdon St. Andrew, Ridgeway Rise Care Home gave us an insight into how their residents are staying connected with their families keeping spirits high throughout lockdown 3.0.

Since the implementation of the first nationwide lockdown that was put in place almost a year ago, care homes have stopped all but essential visitors entering due to the increased dangers coronavirus poses to the elderly.

This has led to the staff at care homes having to go the extra step as they head to the drawing board to think up ideas on how to keep residents connected with the outdoor world.

Like many of us, Ridgeway Rise has used online video calling services such as Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime to keep residents connected with families and friends, as their in-house iPads allow entire families to log onto calls.

School children at Moredon Primary School are also getting involved with Ridgeway residents forming pen pals who they regularly keep in touch with sending letters back and forth.

The older you get the more special birthdays become and due to the hard work of its staff, birthdays are still able to be celebrated at the home as the usual comforts of a celebratory cake and candles remain along with family calls and rousing renditions of ‘happy birthday’.

However, Ridgeway Rise are doing more than just video calls to families, with groups of volunteers sending activity packs to help keep residents entertained along with providing relatives with weekly updates about their loved ones.

One of the residents’ grandsons did a ballet performance outside her window which certainly gave spirits a much-needed boost, and prior to lockdown, Ridgeway Rise installed COVID secure meeting hubs in a specially designed room that allowed interaction whilst keeping everyone safe.

Coronavirus remains present among us for the time being at least, but until life gets back to the normal that we all miss, Ridgeway Rise and their excellent staff are going to keep going the extra mile to look after its residents physical and mental wellbeing with new initiatives and activities.