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Armchair Travel Series launched at Ron Smith Care Centre

An Armchair Travel series was launched as a new programme at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre on Friday, October 2.

“The idea behind the travel series is that it will take our residents to faraway places in the comfort of their own home,” says Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes. “It will provide an opportunity for us to learn about the people, food, culture, history, music, language, customs and landmarks of various countries and to explore what makes each country so unique and special.

“Each armchair travel session can bring back fond memories of personal travels in the past, when elders were young and fit enough to have active travel adventures.”

On Friday, some of the residents and staff of the care centre’s Woodlands wing ‘travelled’ to China. The journey kicked off with the group practising some gentle Tai Chi movements to relaxing Chinese music, followed by several short videos on the highlights of China, raising panda bears and the beautiful Chinese Umbrella Dance.

It was then time for a language session, during which residents and staff learnt simple Chinese words and phrases. Jasmine tea and freshly cooked spring rolls were enjoyed. The spring rolls were pronounced ‘delicious’, with resident Brian Russell commenting that these spring rolls, cooked by staff, were as good as the ones he had enjoyed in China many years ago!

After tea, a video was shown on the Terracotta Warriors (the greatest archaeological find of the 20th Century), followed by a lesson on how to use chopsticks. Residents and staff then participated in a ‘Chopstick Challenge’ – they had to transfer five sweets into a bowl as quickly as possible using their chopsticks. The first person to get all their sweets in the bowl was the winner.

“Several rounds of this competition took place as the residents found the activity to be a lot of fun and they were determined to master the technique and art of using chopsticks. One of our residents, who had a stroke a few years ago, was forced to use her left hand and after initially struggling, managed to win one of the competitions!” says Debbie.

The last item on the travel itinerary was a fun slideshow quiz, which tested the participants on their new-found knowledge of China.

The residents thoroughly enjoyed this trip to China. Five of them had travelled to this fascinating country many years ago and the travel session brought back many happy memories.

Letter of gratitude

Resident, Jill Jones sent this email:

‘This is a letter of great appreciation for the interesting, varied and fun Chinese morning we enjoyed today at Woodlands.

‘So much planning, hard work and attention to detail were put into this event, which really paid dividends. We all enjoyed it so much and it was a wonderful start to the gradual easing of strict lockdown.

‘It was lovely. I regret to say, I have not retained the simple Chinese words you taught us, so can’t thank you in Chinese, but nevertheless the heartfelt thanks are there.

‘Please continue with your wonderful, imaginative work. It makes a huge difference to our lives and daily enjoyment.’

Enjoying the occasion are Joan Abbott (back, wearing the Chinese robe); Ethelwynne van Eck and  Jill Jones (middle row); and, in front, Elaine Cohen, Brian Russell and Sarah Goldberg.

Tai Chi movements, led by Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes, who is Chinese-Canadian.

A beautifully embroidered Chinese silk robe on display.

Resident Joan Abbott (right) and occupational therapist Corlia Schutte admire some of the Chinese artefacts on display.

Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes, who is Chinese-Canadian, leads the Tai Chi session.

Woodlands residents enjoying the Tai Chi movements to beautiful Chinese music.

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