Weekly Update – 12th October 2020

Good afternoon. Just back from a week away with our two new grand-daughters; Isabel and Mabel, 4 and 2 months. Though the weather was pretty poor as it was across the whole country, we did get a few visits and walks in, plus taking them swimming – Mabel for her first time and of course, lots of cuddles and family time – wonderful.

Weeks like that and times like we are in at the moment, remind us how important family is to us all. Sadly this last week, we lost a member of our Priory family, Maureen Lodge, who passed away on Thursday morning, in her room, with both of her sons, Mike & Geoff, by her bedside. Maureen had been in hospital after a stroke, but she and her family wanted her to come “home”. Mike and Geoff stayed over night at The Priory with Maureen, reminiscing with each other and sharing memories with staff of their mum’s life. Maureen’s beautiful smile and wonderful sense of humour will be missed by us. Maureen was such a positive, happy person, whatever was happening in her life. Certainly a glass half full lady – as long it was wine! Stay happy Maureen and rest peacefully.

And continuing the theme of family, a very big thank you to the Priory’s virtual family  – The Priory Family WhatsApp group. This started before lockdown, but since then it has grown in strength and numbers. A great way to share thoughts and ideas, news and pictures for all families and friends across The Priory. This group is run independently of The Priory, but if anyone would like to join, please email Lynne at The Priory and she can give you the contact details.

Over the weeks we have shared pictures with the group and they have shared comments back. This interaction has been so important to us all and incredibly motivational, especially at difficult times. This week, the group, led by Jean and Alan (Vera’s family), presented us with a large display frame of pictures and conversations. There is a photo below, but if you cannot see it clearly, there are extracts from WhatsApp conversations, one-off comments, pictures and thoughts. It came with a lovely card which included a poem to us all at The Priory from Jackie. Your thoughts and support are an incredible lift to us all and your frame is now taking pride of place in the dining room, for everyone to share, enjoy and have their spirits raised.

The restarted family visits have also gone well this last week and thank you for working with the team, especially as we are having to hold these indoors now. We have one more week for extra visits this week, and then as of 19th October, we hope to be inviting our musicians back for our garden concerts. We will also be inviting back Sarah the hairdresser and Helen our chiropodist. As before they will be working with and wearing the designated PPE under our infection control procedures. They have also been tested for COVID and are clear and they will be able to be tested with The Priory as required. On that note, everyone has come back clear and so we will continue with weekly tests for staff and four-weekly tests for residents. And we have used our new Fogger this week as well, to ensure that the new lounge is as clean and safe as possible.

And finally on families, we have a new family joining us later this week – a husband and wife – John & Jaquelin Farnsworth. I am sure everyone will make them both very welcome and welcome them into The Priory family.

This week’s activities were out of this world as our theme was Space and Planets. Monday produced some very highly coloured Aliens – certainly not just the green men from Mars. On Tuesday, something completely new – soap making. The aim was to make planet shaped or themed soaps, however I think they met a black hole in the making and the planets were certainly not aligned – but whatever they were, they were soaps!

Wednesday was I am afraid to say more of a ladies’ day – flower making, The ladies loved it, the gents read their papers or listened to music. But a great day for everyone. Thursday was our weekly baking day, with cookie stars and planets. The house smelled wonderful all day with the aromas from the baking and then the best bit, afternoon tea with freshly baked cookies. Friday was games day starting with Snap. Who could be the quickest and the answer is everyone. Our residents may be ageing gracefully, but a bit of competitive card slamming certainly gets the adrenalin flowing. Luckily the soothing medication of chocolate prizes worked wonders. Luckily dominoes was a calmer experience! Thank you to Zoe and Clare.

That’s it for the week. A big thank you again for the WhatsApp frame and further thank you to everyone who works at The Priory. We have been working under restrictions for more than 6 months and though each of us have had moments, everyone has pulled together and helped each other through. Of course, we all wish this had never happened, but the response, support and dedication from everyone has been magnificent.