‘It’s about thinking differently’

With care homes now under isolation for the safety of the residents and staff, with non-essential visits stopped and social distancing in place, it has been a time for rethinking how care homes ensure residents are still entertained and interacting with each other.

Staff at Amherst Court care home in Chatham have not let the current pandemic stand in the way of residents’ day to day life at the home and have come up with some fantastic ideas that work within the social distancing rules.

On Thursday 19 March musician Fred Clark played a set in the home’s court yard garden. Residents and staff could view the talented musician at a safe distance from their balconies, with plenty of room to have a dance and sing along!

The set was a great success which Fred kindly performed free of charge to Amherst Court.

On Monday 23 March the social distance serenades returned to Amherst Court with a number of musicians and volunteers playing in the sunshine in the pretty courtyard.

Home Manager, Ashley Haydon said, ‘Protecting our residents and staff from Coronavirus is our main priority and focus and will continue to be for as long as it takes, but while we are doing that we want to ensure residents continue to feel comfortable, happy, settled and entertained at Amherst Court. We have all had to think outside the box as a staff team about how best we can introduce entertainment and activities which keep to the rules about social distancing between residents, staff and entertainers.

We came up with the idea of using the courtyard as a stage area to serenade everyone at the home as musicians can do so at a safe distance.

Last week’s music session was a great success thanks to Fred Clark. We were overwhelmed with how much interest and engagement we generated on social media, I hope this idea will spark ideas with other homes to do something similar. Activities do not have to stop during this current crisis, it’s just about thinking differently. We will continue to provide a community for our residents to support them to have a vibrant and fulfilling life while living at Amherst Court.’

Bake Offs and art competitions have also been introduced at Amherst Court during these times of isolation as well as an increased accessibility for all residents to facetime or Skype families and loved ones, something which was welcomed on Mothering Sunday.

Thank you to Fred Clark and all the musicians who kindly volunteered their time and musical talents with us all at Amherst Court, we had a great time’.