Westmeath holds residents’ Christmas party
A seniors home was transformed into a party scene when residents, visitors and staff gathered for a Christmas lunch and carol singing.
Westmeath Residential and Nursing Care Home welcomed about 120 people for the event.
Tinsel, baubles and decorative bells helped create a festive atmosphere at the Pembroke home.
Janet Whitwell-Caisey, Westmeath's director of nursing, said: “It's really nice to see the residents so happy with their families.
“It's nice to see the interaction and give them some genuine Christmas tradition, what they're used to.
“Just because they're not in their own home environment doesn't mean they can't now call this their home.”
After a turkey lunch with all the trimmings, residents were entertained by Mike Perinchief and many joined in with carol singing.
Among them was Charles “Scratchie” Lawrence, nine days before his 95th birthday, who was joined by his sister-in-law, Brenda Richardson, for last Sunday's event.
Mr Lawrence ran an Angle Street barbershop, which became a Hamilton landmark, for decades and moved to Westmeath soon after the death of his wife, Gloria.
Ms Richardson said: “He has been here eight months and he has adjusted really well.
“He's had great support, he made a quick adjustment and he calls me every day telling me not to worry about him, he's happy.
“I feel happy about the environment, the care and the nurses here, it's unbelievable.”
Ms Richardson added she was “impressed” by the festive decorations at the home.
She said: “I was amazed that they've done everything to make it feel like Christmas for them, you can see they've gone all out.
“It warms my heart, when I came in I had tears in my eyes.”
Mr Lawrence said he had enjoyed the afternoon's activities.
He added: “I do everything positive that I can.”
Barbara Nisbett, from Warwick, was a former resident and now attends Westmeath daily.
The 85-year-old said: “I really enjoy the friendliness of everybody.”
Heidi Stirling-Aguiar, the home's administrator, said: “It's a very busy time of year for everybody so this encourages them to come and say hello, have an afternoon of good food and wine, all the new people get to meet the new families.
“Sometimes it can be hard, this makes such a social atmosphere.”
She added: “It's all catered so the staff have a good time too. The board members come, they were serving — it's lovely to get them interacting.”
Ms Stirling-Aguiar said she hoped more social events would be added to the calendar and that they could even include residents of other care homes.