Together with fellow bean Nick, it was our absolute pleasure to spend half a day with the residents and staff at Hartfield House Care Home. Newly opened in Leatherhead, we were welcomed at the shiny new home by a bright and bubbly team and a wonderful group of residents. “The entertainers are here”, one of the staff members announced. At first, panic and nerves waved through me but then I remembered the significance of what Nick and I were doing; giving up our time to put smiles on these gorgeous residents’ faces and bring some extra joy to the already chirpy care home – the nerves soon vanished.
With guitar and lyric sheets in hand, we headed over to meet the residents – Sheila, Rita, Dawn and David – and Sue and Mandy, the care givers on-hand. We handed out a bag full of instruments and led the group through a soundtrack of the 50’s and 60s. Maracas were shaking, triangles were ting’ing, strings were plucking and EVERYONE was smiling. What a feeling to know that a few hours of our time and companionship could give these wonderful folk a fun-filled afternoon. It wasn’t all Buddy Holly and ‘The King’ however; I took on the role of quiz master and tested the residents’ music, movie and even Christmas knowledge as we rounded our time off with a couple of Christmas Carols and festive questions. The winning ladies were most impressed with our prizes; a Ferrero Rocher ball, a box of Wine Gums and a tin of luxury biscuits!
Open just two months, the Surrey care home boasts a list of facilities to keep residents comfortable, happy and entertained. We were given a tour and the highlights for Nick and I have to be a bar stocked with PINK GIN (obviously my highlight, not Nick’s), a private dining room enabling guests to celebrate events with their families in the comfort of their own home, a fully functioning cinema and a bathroom with mood lighting and music options (yes, basically their very own spa!!).
The expert team at Hartfield House cater for a wide range of health needs, from residential care through to nursing and dementia care for those needing more support. It was incredibly heart-warming to see first-hand the bespoke care each of the residents received. I was particularly touched when Sue one of the staff members said she was off to visit one of the residents to have lunch in their room as they were too weak to visit the restaurant that day. With research by Sense finding that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day, it is extremely reassuring to know that no one is overlooked and everyone valued equally at Hartfield – right through from a five minute conversation to a companion at meal times.
A huge thank you to Mandy and the team at Hartfield House and of course the stars of the day, Sheila, Rita, Dawn and David, for welcoming us in to their home and treating us to their beautiful singing voices!!