Care centre residents immerse themselves in Dutch culture

Tulips, clogs, stroopwafels and traditional dance characterised the armchair travel visit to the Netherlands by residents of Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the care centre is finding interesting ways to keep residents engaged and entertained. Last year, it launched its Armchair Travel Series, with separate ‘trips to China’ being held on each wing of the care centre – rather than one joint event – in line with social distancing regulations.

This month, residents immersed themselves in all things Dutch. Mark Verhoogt from De Backery in Edenvale sponsored some of Dutch bakery treats that were ordered for the two travel sessions, including Dutch raisin bread, speculaas cookies and stroopwafels. He also lent traditional Dutch items to the care centre, including a giant wooden clog, which helped create a more authentic experience.

Before their ‘trip’, residents and staff made their own Dutch hats, using a very clever paper-folding method.

The first event was held on the Lakeside wing on February 5 and residents and staff learnt more about the Netherlands – the land of tulip fields, flower gardens, gabled houses, windmills, canals, wooden shoes, bicycles, Van Gogh, Gouda cheese and herring.

The programme started off with pleasant music and a video: The Second Waltz, from the residents’ favourite musician, Andre Rieu, who was born in Maastricht in the Netherlands.

“We then took a whirlwind tour through the highlights of Holland, including special sights and places to visit and a learn-to-speak Dutch language session. The staff performed a Dutch folk dance called Hakketoon (heel-toe), much to the residents’ delight!

“There was lots of fun and laughter as first staff, then residents, did the traditional koekhappen competition, in which participants had to eat a donut which hung from a stick, with their hands behind their backs!” says Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes.

“Residents Olive Jew, Marge Trinder, Molly Matroos and Ellen Quinn were the good sports who had a go at the donuts, with Olive getting the prize for finishing first! Staff nurse Shaka Mahlangu was the winner of the staff competition.”

The next instalment, on the Cedar Park wing, took place on February 12, with Phumudzo Nephiphidi winning the donut-eating competition.

Joan Gelman wears traditional Dutch attire.
Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes, with Mark Verhoogt, owner of De Backery in Edenvale, who kindly sponsored some of the Dutch teatime treats and lent the care centre some traditional Dutch items for display.
100-year-old Anne Brokensha said that the trip to the Netherlands was most enjoyable!

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