How 4 Care Homes Are Planning to Celebrate Christmas This Year

Christmas 2022 will be the most ‘normal’ Christmas we have had since 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Care homes were greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic due to the residents being particularly vulnerable to the virus. Many measures were put in place throughout the pandemic in line with Government guidance including lockdowns, strict visiting policies and the vigilant use of PPE. This all meant that care home residents and staff were not able to celebrate Christmas as they usually would with residents' friends & family. However, fortunately, this year there are no lockdowns or social distancing regulations in place meaning that we can have a more 'normal' Christmas spent with our nearest and dearest!

We have spoken with 4 care homes to find out how they are planning to celebrate ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ with residents, staff and their families this Christmas!

Christmas at Dean Wood Care Home - Bupa

1. How will staff and residents be spending Christmas Day at your home?

"Present delivery in the morning. Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, Afternoon homemade mince pies and cheese boards. The King's speech. Family visits." Julie Mullen, Resident Experience Manager

"Staff will dress up, residents will have visits from family, and for those that don’t, staff will spend time with them opening presents, having a drink, eating chocolates & Christmas dinner and watching Christmas movies."Carol Clayden, Unit Manager

"Presents, music, great food, watching the King's speech." Jack Redhead, Activities Coordinator

2. What makes Christmas at your home special?

"All of December, activity groups and clubs make cards, crafts, and presents. Gift wrapping service. 12 days of Christmas include 12 shows including school choirs, nursery visits, Elvis in the building, and many more." Julie Mullen, Resident Experience Manager

"The company, festive atmosphere, being part of a celebration." Jack Redhead, Activities Coordinator

3. What do you like about working over the Christmas season?

"Making the residents feel included and celebrating the festive season with the Dean Wood family." Julie Mullen, Resident Experience Manager

"Making residents’ Christmas as special as we can." Carol Clayden, Unit Manager

"I am a musician - Christmas carols, choir and music." Jack Redhead, Activities Coordinator

4. What are the main challenges of working at Christmas?

"Completing the rotas ahead to cover all shifts. Presents/clothes being given and not being named at Laundry service first."  Julie Mullen, Resident Experience Manager

"Making sure all residents enjoy Christmas and we are able to make it how they like Christmas. Doing whatever special things they did at Christmas." Carol Clayden, Unit Manager

"December is our busiest month for shows and parties."  Jack Redhead, Activities Coordinator

5. How will this Christmas be different to last Christmas at your home?

"We have many Royal fans, and the King's speech will be a big event. Many residents have lived their whole life with Queen Elizabeth only."  Julie Mullen, Resident Experience Manager

"We have different residents and different families so we will have to see. Covid is not as high now so restrictions have been lifted."  Carol Clayden, Unit Manager

"All residents are excited about the King’s speech." Jack Redhead, Activities Coordinator

Christmas at Parris Lawn - Caring Homes

1. How will staff and residents be spending Christmas Day at your home?

"We start celebrating Christmas at Parris Lawn long before Christmas Day with many festive activities throughout December – explain Elf Day, Panto, staff concert, shopping trips, Christmas jumper day, arts and crafts, table decorations making, Christmas Party, outsiders coming in to entertain….

It is a month of festivities which culminates on Christmas Day. Staff and Residents spend Christmas Day together. Staff and residents wear festive clothes. Santa visits with his sleigh and everyone gets a present to open on Christmas Day. Sherry is served prior to lunch. A three-course Christmas lunch is served with coffee and mints. The table is laid in a festive manner with crackers and each wears a hat!!! The jokes in the Christmas crackers are shared! The afternoon is spent quietly or with visitors. Many visitors are encouraged. Tea and homemade Christmas cake is served with more sherry for those that want it at the King’s speech! A Christmas movie is watched if they want to watch it." J Cox, Home Manager

"Delivering presents to our residents, focusing on one-to-ones, lots of music and lots of singing!" Jesse Holden, Customer Relations Manager

"Enjoying themselves, ensuring our residents are all kept entertained and in loving company." Roy Carley, Business and Hospitality Manager

2. What makes Christmas at your home special?

"The way we all come together for our events throughout December. December is the most fun month at Parris Lawn!" Jesse Holden, Customer Relations Manager

"Christmas is a very happy time here. We have lots of entertainment and activities. The staff always join in with a show and carol service. There is a lot of love for the residents and it is very rewarding." Carole Hierons, Well Being Lead

"We line up extra parties throughout December. Many events such as Elf Day and our Christmas Eve buffet take place." Mariya, Kitchen Manager

3. What do you like about working over the Christmas season?

"The family festive spirit. Everyone is happy. Saves some staff being alone on Christmas Day and gives them company. Saves them cooking their dinner…" J Cox, Home Manager

"Every department put in 100% effort when it comes to making Parris Lawn festive. There is a real feeling of warmth in our home." Jesse Holden, Customer Relations Manager

"The way the team brings the Christmas spirit to all! Dressing up, singing and dancing and wearing my Christmas socks." Roy Carley, Business and Hospitality Manager

4. What are the main challenges of working at Christmas?

"Some staff miss being with their family on Christmas Day. Transport to and from work. Empathy - that the Residents do not see as much of their family as they would like." J Cox, Home Manager

"Person-centred care - making sure everything is perfect at such an important time of year." Mariya, Kitchen Manager

"Keeping a fair balance when allocating staff shifts. Making sure everyone gets plenty of time with their families." Roy Carley, Business and Hospitality Manager

5. How will this Christmas be different to last Christmas at your home?

"New residents and new team members who have never experienced how we do things here. They are in for a wonderful surprise!" Jesse Holden, Customer Relations Manager

"Last year, Covid rules still applied. This year, we can make it more personal and interact with family members." Mariya, Kitchen Manager

"More open to visitors, relatives and entertainers. People coming freeing without having to test for Covid!" Roy Carley, Business and Hospitality Manager

Christmas at Oak Lodge, Rowan Lodge & Holly Lodge - Forest Care

Image: Oak Lodge Care Home

1. How will staff and residents be spending Christmas Day at your home?

"We will start the day with a drinks reception for all families and friends to join us for pre-Christmas drinks and nibbles. A Christmas three-course lunch will be served from 12.30. Staff who are on shift are invited to have Christmas lunch with us. Residents will listen to the first speech given by King Charles. A relaxing afternoon will be spent during the afternoon with families and friends joining us for Tea and Christmas Cake."  Jaqui Vickery, Administrator at Oak Lodge

"Together. Food gifts laughter and time. Hopefully, some will be with family and friends." Terri Eakins, Activity Lead at Rowan Lodge

"All-day Christmas music will be played. Residents will be helped by staff to open presents sent in by families with a morning of singing and photo’s taken. Christmas dinner will be residents sitting at a decorated table together on one big table, staff helping pull their crackers. A lovely Christmas film after lunch." Alison Manners, Activities at Holly Lodge

2. What makes Christmas at your home special?

"Christmas is a very special time at Oak Lodge, we decorate the home with beautiful Christmas decorations and fairy lights and trees all around the home. We have Carol singers popping in to sing to us with a real community spirit, Christmas Market, Pantos, Pub lunches and also our residents help to make lot’s of Christmas decorations for their rooms."  Valerie Strudwick, Activity Lead at Oak Lodge

"The team and residents come together and support each other ensuring they go that extra mile. Nothing is too much trouble the atmosphere is lovely." Terri Eakins, Activity Lead at Rowan Lodge

"The staff are very jolly and get in the Christmas spirit and wear Christmas clothes." Alison Manners, Activities, Holly Lodge

Image: Rowan Lodge Care Home

3. What do you like about working over the Christmas season?

"There is a real buzz about the home everybody is happy and excited about Christmas. The home is decorated beautifully and there are lots of different activities happening each day. Lots of visitors pop in to visit their loved ones." Grace Adan, Manager at Oak Lodge

"EVERYTHING!!, It’s a truly wonderful day and everyone does their best to ensure everyone, that wants to, feels included. Individuals are truly grateful as are families." Terri Eakins, Activity Lead at Rowan Lodge

"To see families coming into the home and the smiles on the resident’s faces. But for me to give the ones who don’t have families visiting a good day and dressing up is a good start to make them smile. The atmosphere is happy and jolly." Alison Manners, Activities, Holly Lodge

4. What are the main challenges of working at Christmas?

"Staff sickness can be stressful. There are a lot of preparations that need to be organized to make the four weeks running up to Christmas successful, food, drink and activities." Tracey King, Cook at Oak Lodge

"Being unable to spend time with my children, individuals not seeing their families Emotionally supporting individuals, and respecting that it is not a joyous time for all. Covid Restrictions." Terri Eakins, Activity Lead at Rowan Lodge

"That everybody is made to feel like it is a special day for them and to enjoy. To not feel sad or lonely." Alison Manners, Activities, Holly Lodge

Image: Holly Lodge Care Home

5. How will this Christmas be different to last Christmas at your home?

"Hopefully very different as we were in a lockdown last year. We are hoping that we can throw open our doors and invite everyone in to join us for a much-needed celebratory Christmas drink, Christmas carol and nibbles, and just PARTY." Jacqui Vickery, Administrator at Oak Lodge

"Last year we were still quite restricted, fingers are crossed that this year we can support as many families, friends and individuals to feel connected and spend time together." Terri Eakins, Activity Lead at Rowan Lodge

"Covid was still around last year so this year we are back to normal (apart from masks still) this year will be busy and feel so much more festive with the visitors coming in." Alison Manners, Activities, Holly Lodge

Christmas at Magnolia Court, Barchester Healthcare

1. How will staff and residents be spending Christmas Day at your home?

"We'll have Christmas dinner where each resident can invite their loved ones, live entertainment and a visit from Santa!" Octavian Stanciu, General Manager

"Famillies will pop in, residents will open presents, Santa will visit, traditional Christmas lunch" Syndys Bekaj, Administrator

"Eating and drinking well, opening their presents, spending time with their loved ones as well as enjoying the festivities." John O'Mera, Registered Nurse

"They will celebrate their Christmas together with all of the residents, sharing foods etc." Christine Barrimen, Carer

2. What makes Christmas at your home special?

"The home will be decorated for the whole month, Santa's visit on the 25th for all residents and lots of volunteers will keep the Christmas spirit up during this period. Lovely food."  Octavian Stanciu, General Manager

"General Manager becomes Santa and it's funny to see how some residents comments reveal his cover!"  Syndys Bekaj, Administrator

"The decorations especially the Christmas tree makes it special along with seeing families and relatives celebrating it with their loved ones in a care home. Also, seeing the festive food and music." Florence Madrid, Care Assistant

"The decorations and presents for everyone." Facia Shoresh, Carer

3. What do you like about working over the Christmas season?

"I am sure that this year (2022), Christmas will be as before the pandemic and there will be a lovely atmosphere as everyone will receive presents which usually puts a smile on your face."  Octavian Stanciu, General Manager

"Christmas spirit and atmosphere. Residents and staff still believe in magic on Christmas periods."  Syndys Bekaj, Administrator

4. What are the main challenges of working at Christmas?

"First of all, you'll be away from your family and loved ones which makes everything harder. Unfortunately, some residents have no family, therefore, it is sad seeing them upset because of this."  Octavian Stanciu, General Manager

"Being away from family but it's still as rewarding role."  Syndys Bekaj, Administrator

"Not being able to spend it with friends & family, public transport might also be a challenge." Nina Madrid, Care Assistant

5. How will this Christmas be different to last Christmas at your home?

"Let's hope that there will be no more restrictions on visiting and all residents can receive visits from their loved ones."  Octavian Stanciu, General Manager

"Less Covid restrictions! :)"  Syndys Bekaj, Administrator

"Covid has lessened so more visitors and less restrictions can build a more positive time for the residents."  John O'Mera, Registered Nurse

"After long Covid affection, staff and residents deserve a big Christmas celebration." Lumteume Hetiamal, Care Assistant

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