100-year-old sees family for first time since lockdown thanks to care home’s covid-safe visiting room

PUBLISHED: 12:57 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 24 July 2020

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Peggy, a 100-year-old resident, saw her family in person for the first time in over 17 weeks because of the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Peggy, a 100-year-old resident, saw her family in person for the first time in over 17 weeks because of the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME

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A 100-year-old resident at Soham Lodge Care Centre saw her family in person for the first time in 17 weeks thanks to its newly-built and safely-designed ‘lockdown visiting room’.

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Residents and carers are pictured. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOMESoham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Residents and carers are pictured. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME

The ‘family room’, which enables residents to see and speak to relatives through glass, was officially opened by retired GP Dr Dorothy Clark, who cut the ribbon on behalf of families.

Diane and Peter Hills were the first relatives to use the room to see their mother Peggy Cook, who will turn 101 in December. Apart from video calling, the family had not seen Peggy in person for over 17 weeks since lockdown.

Emma Hales, activities and events manager, said: “The visiting room is divided into two by a large panel of glass, it has two doors so residents enter from their enclosed garden area while family members enter from the visitors’ car park to ensure a safe environment for everyone.

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Residents cut a ribbon to celebrate being able to see their relatives again. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOMESoham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Residents cut a ribbon to celebrate being able to see their relatives again. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME

“It has the latest UV disinfectant technology for safety, an Echo Dot plus lots of photos of our residents’ activities during lockdown and space to prepare drinks.”

MORE: Peggy Cook celebrates 100th birthday with family

She said that the local community really pulled together to create the visiting room, with many local businesses and volunteers offering their time to help.

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Retired Soham GP Dr. Dorothy Clark cut the ribbon on behalf of families while residents cut a ribbon to celebrate being able to see their relatives again. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOMESoham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Retired Soham GP Dr. Dorothy Clark cut the ribbon on behalf of families while residents cut a ribbon to celebrate being able to see their relatives again. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME

Those who made the idea a reality include Fordham decorators Michelle Pearson and Nicki Attwood who painted the room for free, as well as Reese Theobald who did the electrics while the building was supplied by Littleport Timber.

The care home owner also thanked Phil Hope for the building work, Emma Hales for her fundraising efforts and interior design, as well as Brenda’s Flowers for their support and Gloof Cafe who donated cakes for the opening ceremony.

The care home’s manager Lorraine Clandillon and the staff were also commended for their hard work in keeping the residents safe throughout the CoVid-19 pandemic.

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOMESoham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME

MORE: Care home residents and staff film their own TikTok video

Prior to the family room being built, relatives relied on video calls or socially-distanced visits between the residents’ garden area and the car park.

“This proved difficult at times due to weather conditions,” Emma added. “However, as the room has been insulated, it can be used throughout the year as required for resident safety.

Peggy Cook's family gathered together at Soham Lodge Care Centre in December to celebrate Peggy's 100th birthday. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILYPeggy Cook's family gathered together at Soham Lodge Care Centre in December to celebrate Peggy's 100th birthday. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

“Further to the Government announcement on July 22 that eased the rules on visits to care homes, we see our visitors room as a way of allowing this to happen while keeping our residents as safe as we can.”

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Retired Soham GP Dr. Dorothy Clark cut the ribbon on behalf of families while residents cut a ribbon to celebrate being able to see their relatives again. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOMESoham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Retired Soham GP Dr. Dorothy Clark cut the ribbon on behalf of families while residents cut a ribbon to celebrate being able to see their relatives again. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME

Soham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOMESoham Lodge Care Home held a ceremony to open their newly built family visiting room on July 23. Picture: EMMA HALES/SOHAM LODGE CARE HOME


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