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Spring region meeting at Otterbourne Hill

The spring region meeting was held on 5 March at the Otterbourne Hill care home run by Brendoncare.  Marianne Wanstall CEO of Brendoncare  (see details here) is a member of SI Winchester and she offered the venue after speaking with Region President Kay, who wanted to hold the meeting with a focus on activities.

The meeting was held in the morning ending with a fabulous lunch. The afternoon activities were scheduled by Marianne  in groups and took place as described below, joining with residents and staff. Marianne spoke about ‘ageism’ and how we don’t always realise the full value of an older life. In the care home here life was enjoyed, no matter what condition you might be living with. She showed us some lovely dresses which had been made in the care home by knitting and crocheting poppies and flowers. These were made for Remembrance Day, the poppy being the eternal remembrance flower along with the blue forget-me-nots.

Two groups of hardy gardeners donned coats and gloves and went to the rather chilly outdoor gardens. We tidied the recently pruned shrubs and borders, swept paths and with supplies of compost, plants and summer bulbs we filled outdoor planters and gaps in the beds. Lots of time for chatting and we were being watched from nearby windows by residents and their families. We hope we were doing it right!!!

Indoor garden group – or more appropriately  – the garden room, as it turned out to be a lovely room for relaxing with some lovely planters. Amanda, Lisa, Ruth and Liz set to work tidying up the planters and making space for some new plants. We ended up with a planter full of geraniums which we put close to the window, a planter with lovely new peace lilies, a planter with small plants, a corner one with a pretty climber and some new small plants  and a tropical garden display of  orange and pineapple plants. Oh, and a great display of indoor roses giving a splash of colour. We moved a small sprig of rosemary which  sent a lovely relaxing scent throughout the room. Once we had finished and tidied up and swept up our mess we sat and enjoyed the smell, peace and ambience of the room  – in fact we didn’t want to leave.  A lovely room and it was a privilege to spend time working there and enjoying it!

Games, arts & crafts with conversation group. This was originally meant to be five Soroptimist members, grew to nine. Marianne split us between two wings and it turned out that the ‘left’ side became one-on-one chats in the resident’s room and the other ‘right’ side games, art, poetry and chat in the common room. Sally experienced both rooms and there were some interesting exchanges, i.e. Sylvia was talking about genealogy with a resident who had traced her family back to 1623 (not a typo!), another Soroptimist found that she and her resident hadn’t lived far away from each other so things local were chatted about. On the games side a 1000 piece jigsaw was underway with Barbara and Tref locating edges and offering encouragement. Others were reading some Pam Ayres poetry but ended up playing some scrabble as the resident was hard of hearing so Ms Ayres was retired! A beautiful animal colouring book caught the attention of another resident who was being encouraged to express herself by two other members, more looking than colouring however much appreciated, lots of smiles. An atmosphere of quiet yet industrious enjoyment from everyone.

Afternoon tea with game. We enjoyed serving afternoon tea to the residents of the Brendoncare care home on 5 March. They have a lovely lounge just right for this. Rosemary, Diana, Julie, Catherine and Lisa looked after the tea trolley and the cakes and also supervised the game of ‘high – low’ which was a guessing game of cards in sequence. We almost had a winner,  just as well we didn’t as there was no prize. We were supervised by Jenny, a very enthusiastic care nurse originally from just outside New York. The residents were very friendly and happy to speak about their families and ask us questions too. It was a short time of 45 minutes but we entertained 10 residents and hoped they enjoyed their afternoon too. A privilege to be part of a fun afternoon.