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Residents share their experiences of Foxhunters at home’s 1st birthday celebration
Date of news/blog: 13th November 2019
We celebrated our 1st birthday last week here at Foxhunters – and wow – what a year it’s been!
We’ve welcomed so many wonderful residents, won the UK’s Luxury Care Home of the Year award and launched our own internal Dormy awards after witnessing many of our colleagues go above and beyond.
Our staff have been incredible.
Speaking at our big birthday event, Helen Davies-Parsons (Dormy Care CEO), said:
“Many of the 52 colleagues who started with us for our launch on November 5th, 2018 are still here – which is amazing in an industry where staff turnover is a whopping 40%. There’s got to be a reason for that, I would like to feel that it’s down to the fact that they love coming to work.”
Helen also praised the unity and team spirit.
“I have to say we have quite a unique team in this home, not only are they work mates, but they’re friends outside of work and they really gelled as a whole team and that really makes such a difference when they come into work because that conveys itself across.
“It’s not just a care home, it’s a community. It’s very much a home and I’m so proud of it.”
At the celebration, we spoke to some of our residents to find out how they’re enjoying their time at Foxhunters.
Rhian: Foxhunters’ 1st Resident
Rhian was born in Newport and moved to Abergavenny in 1955 to look after her parents.
With the support of her family, including niece Verity, Rhian was our very first resident – moving into Foxhunters the day after we opened.
Speaking on how Foxhunters makes a big difference for her aunty, Verity said:
“We had to bring my aunty’s bed downstairs and tried to get a shower put in, but we couldn’t get it organised. My aunty needed more care and we felt Foxhunters was so much safer because of her falls.
“She has a special bed here that tells people when she gets up to make sure she doesn’t fall.”
Rhian was a doctor who spent her life taking care of people, and it’s an honour for all of us at Foxhunters to be able to repay the favour.
Patrick is a 78-year-old retired carpenter who moved to Foxhunters from his flat in Chepstow, although he’s originally from Buckinghamshire. Patrick takes great comfort in the personal items he keeps.
“The ornaments I have in my cabinet are what makes this place so special, it’s so personable here. It’s got a lovely view as well – you can get out through your patio door and sit outside. It was so nice in the summer when the weather was warmer.”
At Foxhunters, we do everything we can to encourage creativity and help residents do what they enjoy. Patrick loves art and photography. Despite limited use of his hands due to CBD (a condition similar to Parkinson’s), we use a tripod to help Patrick take photos.
Following a day trip to Brecon Mountain Railway, Patrick edited a video of the residents’ outing.
“It’s a bit frustrating as it should have taken me an hour but it took three days. It was nice to get it done though.”
We do all we can to support our residents in their hobbies and maintain independence.
Sadly, his father passed away when Patrick was five. He was diagnosed with cancer while fighting for Britain in the Second World War.
“I don’t remember him much, but I made up for it with my four beautiful children. I did all the things I would have loved to have done with my dad.”
When asked about Foxhunters, Patrick praises the professionalism of our staff.
“They are all so professional and very kind. They don’t make you embarrassed when you ask them for anything. Marie (Home Director at Foxhunters) says that one of her main things is making sure that we all have our dignity, and that means a lot.”
As a man who once lived on a canal boat and spent a lot of time outdoors, Patrick is a big fan of our days out.
“I try and go on all of them if I can,” he said. “Talgarth Mill is always nice, we went to Cardiff museum when there was a special exhibition of wood carvings on – that was brilliant, I could have gone there a second time.”
He’s certainly one of our lively and most popular residents.
On December 16th, Lorraine will be 102 – but she hasn’t lost any of her wit!
“I’m lucky, because I’ve still got all my marbles,” she jokes.
Lorraine’s our oldest resident and speaks fondly of the congratulatory message she received from Queen Elizabeth II on her 100th birthday.
Originally from Pontypridd, Lorraine taught English, French and History in grammar schools. She attended Cardiff University and lived in France for 5 months.
“I enjoyed my teaching, but in those days when you went into a classroom, everyone stood up and I used to say ‘Bonjour la class’ and they’d say ‘Bonjour Madame’ and I’d say ‘Asseyez-vous’ and they’d sit down.”
So, what advice does she have for the teachers of today?
“Things are so different now, and the children know their rights. If somebody got up and said, ‘I don’t want to do it’, well I’d say ‘I am paid to teach you. You can sit there and learn or not, because I’m paid anyway.’ That’s the only answer you could give really. So, whether that would have any effect or not, I don’t know.”
Would she like to be a teacher nowadays?
“I’d dread to teach now. It’s a completely different culture, it’s a shame really. But I loved teaching. It was worth it in those days because you were getting somewhere.”
Lorraine likes to keep busy and is a keen partaker of our activities – particularly the quizzes. One thing everyone will agree on; if Lorraine knows the answer, she isn’t shy on letting people know!
So how is she finding life at Foxhunters and why did she choose us?
“I’ve lived in Abergavenny for 60 years. I moved here (to Foxhunters) because some of my friends moved here, so I thought, well if they seem to be happy here it must be good, and I had a group of friends straight away.
“Everything is laid on beautifully and you get all your meals cooked. The food is excellent, I’m not a big eater now of course, but the food is excellent, yes, very very good. I get my hair and nails done in the salon every week as well!”
A truly inspirational resident. We look forward to celebrating your 102nd birthday next month Lorraine!
To close the event, Helen said:
“So, first birthday and now we just go onwards and upwards. I think it’s been a terrific year and we’ve enjoyed every minute of every day with you all. And thank you to those of you who’ve done us the privilege of coming to live in Foxhunters and very much making it your home.
“So, I’d like to raise a toast to Foxhunters, the staff and most importantly, all of the ladies and gentlemen living here.”
Well said, Helen. Here’s to our second year!