Grotto is big hit with care home residents

Monday 27th December 2021 4:00 pm
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Staff at a care home in Yelverton created a magical pop-up grotto to bring some festive cheer to their residents.

The Red House Residential Care Home usually organise for their residents to visit Santa’s grotto at a local garden centre, but this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the care home has restricted trips to ensure everyone’s safety. So that the residents did not miss out on their annual yuletide treat, the care home transformed their hair salon into Santa’s grotto.

Gemma Trawally, manager at The Red House, said: ‘The visit to the garden centre’s grotto is always a highlight, so the team were excited to take on the challenge of creating our own pop-up grotto. Chris from our maintenance team dressed as Father Christmas and gave each resident a gift. He was assisted by chief elf, domestic assistant Carole, and our activities co-ordinator Helen dressed as a giant Christmas cracker.

‘We like to make it special for everyone, so for those residents who were not able to make it to the grotto for health or mobility reasons, Chris and his helpers visited their rooms to ensure everyone received a gift and joined in the fun.’

The grotto was kept a surprise from the residents until it was revealed earlier this month. Resident Joyce Horner, 96, said: ‘It’s been a lovely afternoon – the grotto looked beautiful and it must have taken a lot of time and effort to put it together. My favourite character was Father Christmas as he was the star of the show! I was very lucky as I was given a chocolate Father Christmas – I’m going to save it for Christmas Day – he’s too good to eat now!’

Gemma continued: ‘Christmas is such a special time at our home, not just for the residents but for the staff too, as we really are one big family. The smiles on the residents’ faces made all the effort worthwhile. The last couple of years have been a challenging time for the care sector, doing something that boosts everyone’s mood is great for the mental health and well-being of both our residents and staff.’

Chris Hall added: ‘I was happy to take on the role of Santa this year and help to bring some festive cheer to our residents, and I’m so pleased that they loved it. Maybe it’s the start of a new tradition and something we can do every year; I’d certainly be up for it!’

The Christmas grotto is just one of the festivities organised by the care home’s activities team. Throughout December residents can take part in activities including a Christmas crafts session and carol singing with a live piano performance.

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