It’s times like these, when you’re living through a global crisis, that you realise the true importance of social connection. How celebrating the little things and staying in touch with loved ones and your wider community really does enrich lives.

Residents from over 100 Sanctuary Care homes in England and Scotland had their dedicated teams enabling and empowering them to do just that. Especially Rukmi Silva, Home Manager at Lammas House Residential Care Home in Coventry and her team. Their communication and connection within their home has been recognised by the Care Home Awards 2020, where they received a Highly Commended place in the Best for Communication category. 

The award is testament to the excellent communication between staff, their residents, loved ones and professionals. Outstanding communication is central to the happiness of their residents and how the home is run, even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rukmi said: “We are so proud to have won a Highly Commended award. I have a remarkable team at Lammas House. We are like one big family and this award is recognition of the amazing care we provide, with excellent communication at the very heart.”

But that’s not all. When the national provider’s doors closed for non-essential visitors for the safety of their residents and teams, Sanctuary Care immediately shipped out iPads to every single home so residents could stay in touch and connect with those they love most. 

And the social connection didn’t just take place on screen.

Sanctuary has seen residents keep in touch with family and friends, and make new friends across their homes, as well as new pen pals by writing good old-fashioned letters and sharing beautiful paintings and photos.

And that wasn’t all! Sanctuary Care continued to support residents’ wellbeing and mental health by providing engaging activities across their homes.

Olive, who was a 100-year-old resident from Birchwood Residential Care Home, showed her fellow residents and the care home team that age and a global pandemic was no excuse to not stay active and keep up with hobbies.

Every week, Olive (pictured) was joined by her fellow residents for a spot of tennis-inspired exercise, using a balloon as a ball and a swatter as a racket.

And finally, a 93-year-old resident who is living with dementia, was busy reliving precious memories with her family during the pandemic, thanks to a special book.

Thelma Parker, who lives at Brambles Residential Care Home in Redditch, was able to reconnect with her past through chats with her daughter via the home’s iPad.

In 2011, daughter Rosie encouraged her mother to recount key moments in her life by using a book called ‘Dear Mum, from you to me. A Journal of a Lifetime’.

The book invites a person to write down their memories and Rosie has been reading the pages back to her while visiting restrictions were in place. 

Rosie said: “I’ve been learning about her life during this time as well.”