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Covid-19 Updated Information for Independent Residents and Families

Important information for Middleton Woods and The Waterside

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (21st May 2020)

Stay Safe

I am pleased to confirm that we continue to have no cases of Covid-19 amongst our residents or Co-owners (staff).  We do have one person waiting to join us who has had Covid-19 while working for another care provider who will not start until we are confident is clear from infection.  We have one Co-owner self-isolating as a precaution despite testing negative as a household member had tested positive.

With the first steps towards easing of lockdown, there has been a lot of confusion about the new guidance and regulations.  Figures released over the weekend indicate that the north east has the highest infection rate in the country at present so we need to continue to be vigilant.

There have been more visitors to the retirement village over the last week which does increase risk.  Our own guidelines through the e-bulletins have aimed to discourage visitors during lockdown, apart from dropping in essential supplies in line with government regulations.  However, under the revision to The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020 last week, we have now been advised that it is actually likely to be an offence for people to visit a retirement community like Middleton Hall as they are private grounds rather than a defined public space.  However, we will continue to take balanced view and not be as rigid as many other retirement villages where visitors have been entirely stopped, but we do need to urge caution – this means observing social distance, not going inside Middleton Woods (expect where prior arrangements have been agreed) and keeping visits brief.  The table and chairs outside of Middleton Woods should be used with social distance for up to 15 minutes and we would ask that they are disinfected after use (suitable wipes are being provided).

We do insist that people do not to bring in any food or drink to share with residents (some sort of a socially distanced picnic) as it significantly increases the risk of someone asymptomatic passing on the infection.  I hope everyone will appreciate that our first duty is to keep our community safe.  As other retirement villages have sadly found, Covid-19 rarely is confined to one person when the virus has entered a community.

You will find attached to this email our “Stay Safe” guide to accompany the Stay Safe pack of PPE that we will be providing for your use if you go out to any shops.  Further packs are available at £3.  Some of our more theatrical Co-owners have kindly produced a short video explaining how to safely put on PPE when going to a shop:

Stay safe using your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

A query was raised about emergencies during the pandemic.  Should any resident be in a situation necessitating the use of the emergency call system, we would expect the procedure to work in a relatively normal way – whoever you speak with would make an assessment of the situation and decide whether to call 999 for an ambulance.  Should a member of our team need to attend your property, they would be using PPE including a face mask to ensure safety.

During the next few weeks, if government lockdown is further relaxed and we feel that the community is being kept safe we will start to look at when we could bring some limited services back in – housekeeping, further exercise opportunities or even some socially distanced outside coffee and snacks.  We may only be able to offer this to residents who are able to declare they have been genuinely keeping safe in line with government guidance.

We are trialling a Visitor’s Pod in the Conservatory from this weekend for the care services.  If the trial proves successful and safe, we would be open to making a version available for Middleton Woods and the Waterside.

If you have any ideas or thoughts about other initiatives during this difficult time, please let us know.

Thank you for working with us in helping Middleton Hall to Stay Safe.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Important information for Middleton Woods and The Waterside

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (13th May 2020)

Last Friday marked 75 years since the end of six terrible years of war in Europe – VE Day.  Over the last three months we have been fighting our own world war with a deadly, but very different enemy – Coronavirus.  So far, thanks to the efforts of all our Co-owners and support of our residents and families, we have kept Covid-19 out of Middleton Hall, unlike many care homes and retirement villages throughout the country.

The good news is that we continue to have no cases of Covid-19 amongst our residents or Co-owners (staff).  The majority of Co-owners and residents have been tested and results are all negative so far.

There is a new government portal for testing that has been announced which we are hoping will make testing easier and allow us to test residents and care teams weekly going forward.  We have asked for Independent Living residents to be included in the testing programme.

Regular testing is one key part of reducing the risk of one of us bringing Covid-19 into Middleton Hall, but it is not a guarantee.  The easing of lockdown during May and June increases the risk as more people outside Middleton Hall are exposed to the infection.

We are therefore introducing a number of measures to alleviate that increased risk for our Co-owners.  There are also some cautionary measures that we would like to introduce for Middleton Woods and The Waterside:

  • Encourage residents to avoid going out from Middleton Hall as much as possible, particularly to go to supermarkets but use online deliveries if possible and /or increase groceries shopping through MH.
  • Provide each property a “Stay Safe” pack – a brief about maintaining safety and a PPE pack (gloves and mask) if residents are going to go out of the retirement village to go to any shops – supermarkets especially. We will provide a starter pack free but there will then be a small cost of further packs
  • Greater vigilance about social distancing at all times

The government have relaxed moving house restrictions this week and we will allow new residents to move in following testing, suitable precautions about moving and a period of self-isolation.

We are concerned about the risks from visitors during the epidemic to the Waterside and Middleton Woods that are outside the government guidance.  Several retirement villages have enforced a far stricter “no visitors” policy having had the unfortunate experience of residents contracting Covid-19 through visitors.  As we have remained Covid-free, it would be easy for us to become complacent at this time of increasing risk.

Going forward we would like to have some flexibility around visitors but would like to be crystal clear that if family members are going to visit they must maintain social distance (two metres) and stay outside properties at all times.  We realise this is more difficult for first floor properties in Middleton Woods so are planning to put some socially distanced seating outside by the end of this week.

For our care services this has also been a difficult challenge.  We are looking into a solution that we believe is within government guidelines by installing an experimental safe visitors’ booth in the conservatory next to the restaurant.

Some of you may have seen an article on the BBC website about a care home in Holland that had installed a visitors’ pod https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-52589041/coronavirus-dutch-care-home-reunites-families-in-a-glass-pod.

There are some details to be worked out still and we hope to have this ready for a trial at the end of next week.  If it proves successful and safe, we will look at providing similar facilities in the care services in the following weeks.  If there are residents who are strictly shielding (i.e. have an NHS letter instructing them not to go out) or uncomfortable about outside, socially distanced visiting we could look at the feasibility and costing of providing an equivalent safe visiting area for independent living.  Please let us know if this is something that would be of interest.

Next week, we will be opening the Art Studio for individual use (a resident or household) by appointment.  Sessions will need to be booked through reception.

Having done well to avoid an outbreak of Covid-19 at Middleton Hall so far, we are now entering a key period of time when we need to keep our guard up to keep residents safe while at the same time trying to find ways of improving how they are living during the pandemic.  Working with residents and families will be key to achieving that balance.

Thank you all for your support and kind comments about the efforts of our committed and caring Co-owners (keep the comments coming – the team really appreciate them!).

Best wishes

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Important information for Middleton Woods and The Waterside

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (6th May 2020)

As you will be aware, since the last bulletin there has been a significant change in the availability of testing for Covid-19 in social care and for essential workers.  Four residents in our care services were tested for Coronavirus last week where we had some concerns about symptoms through the District Nursing service which all came back negative.

At the end of last week, we were able to get home test kits for all remaining care service residents and over the weekend completed those tests as part of the roll out of general testing in social care.  We have some initial test results back including a number where we have been asked to do a re-test because the test has not worked.  There is also one received today, with a “borderline indication” where it was insufficient to confirm presence of Covid-19 which we are treating as a potential Coronavirus case until the re-test result is known.  We understand from other care providers that these home tests are often coming back as needing a re-test.

We have been told informally through NHS contacts, that there is now evidence that older people do not always show the “classic symptoms” of Covid-19 (high temperature and dry cough) but present with other symptoms (lethargy, loss of appetite or delirium for example).  We have produced new symptoms guidance for all our care teams and are being cautious about any unexplained changes in a resident’s health, hence some of the tests last week.

Testing for social care staff is now available for anyone with or critically without symptoms.  We are asking all our Co-owners (staff) to have a test and most have managed to get a test booked so far.  As you will be aware from the media, availability is difficult.  It is not currently clear how access to regular testing will work, but at least this is finally going in the right direction and should make managing the situation easier.  One of our Co-owners who tested negative herself, has had a family member test positive (without any symptoms), so she is self-isolating as a precaution.

We introduced face masks for teams in our care services last week as an additional precaution mentioned in the last bulletins.  Although this has presented some challenges for our care teams, our Co-owners have embraced this as helping to protect residents.

We have asked the government through ARCO (Retirement Village Association) for access to testing for our independent living residents.  I am also involved with an ARCO working party liaising with the Department of Health and Social Care about how lockdown is eased and the implications for our sector.

We are currently discussing our next steps, in light of government announcements due at the end of the week about lockdown.  Our plan going forward will include what we can do to help any sense of isolation that residents are feeling and whether there is any way of safe, socially distanced visiting in due course.  We appreciate the support from residents and families about visitors but also recognise this is unlikely to be sustainable if the pandemic continues for months rather than weeks.

Our newly introduced outdoor exercise classes have proved popular and we will continue to look at how exercise can be safely encouraged.  Many residents enjoyed the Sri Lankan night on Saturday and Ryan and his team are looking at repeating themed takeaways on a fortnightly basis.

Following suggestions in our recent survey, Michael Hodgson, our Living Well Manager, is organising an experimental YouTube quiz on Friday in the evening.  More details on that to follow.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do let us know.  In the meantime, thank you again for your forbearance at this time.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

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Important information for Middleton Woods and The Waterside

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (27th April 2020)

I am pleased that we are still able to confirm that we still have no cases of Covid-19 amongst any of our residents or Co-owners (staff) currently.

The challenge for all of us going forward is about getting the balance right between reducing the risk of infection and resident welfare.  With this in mind, Michael and the Middleton Spa team are trying out some socially distanced exercise classes this week to try and help residents keep fit and active during the pandemic.

For the Waterside, they will take place on the bowling green and for Middleton Woods on the patios and balconies – do let us have some feedback on the classes and any other ideas you have for exercise.  As you know, the bowling green and golf is already available on a booking basis for limited numbers.

Our catering team are also trying a different type of meal service at the weekend with a Sri Lankan takeaway delivery.  If this proves popular and we get it to work, we will try other versions of the service to add variety to the hot meals available.

There has been a lot of media coverage about the UK’s problems with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).  We have been working hard on securing ongoing supplies of PPE (face masks, gloves, aprons and surgical gowns) over the last month and have a reasonable stock situation, primarily in the event that we have cases of Covid-19.  We also have a good stock of visors including some donated by local companies.

Having consulted our care teams over the last week, we are introducing the wearing of face masks for anyone working in close proximity to residents in our care services this week as an added precaution.  This does not apply to our Co-owners working in reception, catering or any of our support services at this stage.

So far as testing, we now have easier access to Covid-19 testing for all Co-owners and at least care service residents in the event of anyone showing symptoms.

Finally, we would appreciate your continuing help in dealing with this crisis – if you have some ideas that would either help reduce our risk of Covid-19 or that would help residents or Co-owners cope with the lockdown, please let us know.

With our continued thanks for your support during the last few weeks.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

______________________________________________________________________________

Important information for Middleton Woods and The Waterside

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (18th April 2020)

First of all – thank you.  We appreciate the support we are getting from residents and families during this very challenging time.

We currently have no cases of Covid-19 amongst any of our residents or Co-owners (staff) and currently no one with likely symptoms.  We do have some Co-owners self-isolating because of either symptoms or family members with symptoms but we are managing with staffing levels thanks to the dedication of our team of Co-owners.

During the last week we admitted two residents from our care services on a precautionary basis into our Rainbow Centre as they had shown some initial symptoms but I am pleased to report they are both well and moved back to their respective services after 7 days self-isolating.  As this turned into a “dress rehearsal” it has allowed us to learn from using the new facility converted from Middleton Spa and adjust procedures.  I worked a shift in the Rainbow Centre myself on Tuesday as one of our support team (assisting a qualified carer, Debby Lamont on this occasion).  I can report that as well as being very well organised by the Rainbow Centre team, I found it a very safe working environment for Co-owners and comfortable for residents.  It should provide us with the means to reduce spread in the case of an infection and care effectively for a resident with Covid-19.

There have been some developments at national level that are having impact on Middleton Hall.  The good news is that we are now able to access testing for Coronavirus for our Co-owners and in due course residents (initially in care services), something that we have been asking for since the beginning of March.  The less good news has been about the national PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) shortage and the constantly changing advice on use of PPE from Public Health England.  We currently hold sufficient stock for immediate needs as we have been actively working on holding a buffer stock for the last month.

We had a good response to our survey last week – thank you to everyone who contributed.  Those who had specific queries and put their name should have had a response during the week.

The responses confirmed that although “frustrating/sad/difficult”, residents feel “reassured/safe/fortunate” to be at Middleton Hall.  There were high levels of satisfaction in the initiatives that we have taken so far including information provided, hot meals and shop delivery service.  You also provided some lovely comments that we have fed back to all our Co-owners.

There were some useful ideas that we would like to share or are implementing including:

  1. Create a “Covid Corner” where post/deliveries stay in quarantine for 72 hours (good idea)
  2. Disinfecting bins/shopping (please action as per last bulletin)
  3. Concern over trespassers in the grounds (notices are up)
  4. Concern over visitors in Middleton Woods (see below)
  5. Exercise on site only (would be sensible)
  6. Quizzes (digitally)/pub style quiz (we will try and provide some)
  7. Facetime or Zoom between residents (good idea)
  8. Spa organised exercise classes (being introduced)
  9. Middleton Woods – MH housekeeper (in place)
  10. Proactive phone calls to residents (in place)

In response to specific questions raised:

  1. Residents should not use the Garden Room to meet up
  2. We have gone back to “Safe Zone” corridor disinfection liquid in Middleton Woods which is anti-viral
  3. Yes, we will look to add to the shop items mentioned
  4. Yes, we can collect milk bottles – please put them out when deliveries are being made

There is concern raised about visitors in Middleton Woods.  We need to be clear about government and Middleton Hall policy on this.  All residents over 70 should be shielded and that means self-isolating and not having any visitors in their property except for essential care.  Government requirements about essential travel do allow families to drop off food and essential deliveries – for residents with ground floor access this should be outside their property and for the first floor in Middleton Woods it should be outside the main entrance.  We realise that this is difficult and we are very grateful for the understanding of families and friends about not visiting Middleton Hall.

In our last bulletin, we shared the sad situation in another retirement village where the daughter of a resident chose to ignore both government guidance and the retirement village’s “no visitors” policy and visited her mother.  It turned out that the daughter was infectious with Covid-19 and her mother died as a result.  We all know the virus is spread very easily and one visitor could inadvertently infect multiple residents.

We also advise strongly against residents going out of Middleton Hall wherever possible.  Certain supermarkets are now prioritising over 70s and we will be contacting them in the next few days to try and increase the delivery services.  If there are additional items you would like us to stock through the Middleton Hall shop we are happy to add to the range if we can.

Thank you for all your words of encouragement to our team during the pandemic – keeping the morale of our team as high as possible is important and your comments really help.

If you have any queries or ideas, please let us know.

In the meantime, please stay safe at home.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

________________________________________________________________________________

Important information for Middleton Woods and The Waterside

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (9th April 2020)

I am relieved to let you know that so far we have had no cases of Covid-19 amongst any of our residents or Co-owners and currently no one with likely symptoms.  We do have some Co-owners self-isolating because they are in the vulnerable category or in some cases where they have had symptoms of a cold but we feel our cautious approach has worked so far.

During this week we have carried out a further analysis of risk and are tightening up on a few areas to further reduce risk of an infection coming into Middleton Hall.  In effect, we are trying to maintain a shield around the whole community.

The main areas of risk for independent living residents are around visiting shops or supermarkets, deliveries without infection control measures, visitors, hospital appointments and any homecare/District Nurse services coming in.  There is also one specific risk that we have identified for The Waterside – bins.  We already have measures in place to disinfect the Middleton Woods bins however we are concerned that refuse collectors may not be able to use infection control measures with their gloves and handling of bins around The Waterside.  They will have handled many bins around Darlington by the time they reach Middleton Hall and could transfer infection in this way.

Please make sure that you have either disinfected the bin handle and lid or used disposable gloves to bring your bin/box in and washed your hands thoroughly afterwards.

One additional request – if you use disposable wipes of any kind, please put in the normal rubbish, not down WCs (we have had our main drain badly blocked this week with wipes).

We are grateful for the understanding of families and friends about not visiting Middleton Hall.  We are in regular contact with the other retirement communities in the UK to share information. Last Friday I learnt of a sobering situation in a retirement village in another part of the country where the daughter of a resident chose to ignore both government “stay at home” guidance and the retirement village’s “no visitors” policy and visit her mother.  It turned out that the daughter’s husband had contracted Covid-19.  Sadly, her mother died at the retirement village last week and they now have other cases.

We appreciate that Easter weekend is upon us and understand that it would be tempting to ignore the “stay at home” government requirement.  It is critical that we continue to avoid visitors.  It is not often I find myself quoting the Queen, but her point during her address to the nation about being “united and resolute” in order to overcome the disease seemed well made and certainly applies to the team spirit at Middleton Hall.

As in previous bulletins, we would suggest that video calling is the best way to maintain contact.  Using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp video calls does make a difference.  I mentioned last week that I was attending a “virtual drinks party” on Zoom.  I can report that it worked well and I also watched the Virtual Grand National with family and friends that I was due to be with at Aintree last Saturday and completed a families’ quiz game over the weekend on Zoom.  Where there is a will, there is a way.

You will be aware that there has been rather greater focus in the press about the pressures on social care in the last week and we are also aware of some very difficult and sad situations especially in care homes and with homecare at present. We continue to work hard to try and avoid the risks that could develop into those situations.

During this week, we have set up our “Rainbow Centre” (named by the Co-owners who would work there) in Middleton Spa in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19 within one of our care services.  This provides a 3 bed and a 2 bed “ward” as well as a single room to allow us to look after confirmed cases and keep them separate from other residents.  We asked our Co-owners for volunteers to work in the Rainbow Centre if necessary and impressively had more than we need volunteering.  The volunteers are undergoing training at present.  In addition, there are two self-isolating rooms set up within the main building.  Obviously, we are hoping to never use these facilities, but they are now there if needed.  We are also at least adequately prepared with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as we acquired supplies some time ago.

Our plan for leaseholders who fall ill remains for residents to stay in their properties, inform us and use external care.  However, if someone is seriously ill with Covid-19, we may be able to care for them in the Rainbow Centre.

We are delighted in how well the shop ordering service and hot meal delivery service are being used.  As explained last week, from this Friday 10th April we are moving to a new weekly shop ordering and delivery service to better manage demand.  There will be essential top ups in between.

Finally, in order to plan ahead, we would like a little feedback on how you are coping and how we are responding to the Coronavirus crisis as well as any thoughts on how we can help.  You will find a link below to a 5 minute survey to give us some feedback and ask for ideas going forward.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XRMZJHV

Thank you very much for your support during this crisis.

If you have any queries or thoughts, please email or call reception for further information.

Please stay safe.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

______________________________________________________________________________

Important information for Middleton Woods and The Waterside

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (2nd April 2020)

Since our last update, as you are all aware the pandemic has escalated and the country is now on complete “lockdown”.

I am pleased to report that we are still managing to operate our services with limited disruption thanks to the efforts of our Co-owners.  Thank you to those who have emailed their gratitude – it has been very good for our team morale (so please continue to let them know!).

Clearly we will be in a position of lockdown for some time, so we will continue to work with residents and families to alleviate the difficulty this entails. We would continue to suggest avoiding any visitors, in line with government requirements for “shielding”.

We have revised the shop ordering and delivery service to better manage demand so that from Friday 9th April, we will be moving towards a weekly main order with essential top ups in between.

Please be wary about any deliveries to ensure that social distancing and infection control measures are in place.  So far as newspapers, we would recommend (with apologies to newsagents) digital papers.  I can personally report that I have subscribed to a digital version of a newspaper on my iPad and to my surprise, actually prefer it to a physical paper.  We continue to encourage video calling with friends and families through iPads, smart phones and tablets.  We have bought Kindle Fires for residents in our care services which are inexpensive (£60 from Amazon) and easy to use.  If you want help in setting them up, we can get someone to call you to advise.

Internally, we have been using “Zoom” for meetings, available on PCs or as an app on tablets or smart phones.  They can also be used to host social events – I am attending a “virtual drinks party” at the weekend and a family team game of “Linkee” (no idea how that will work!).  Residents might like to try that out this sort of technology between themselves.  If you would like any advice, please let reception know.

As the next stage in our planning, should we have an outbreak of Covid-19, we are setting up a “Covid Care Centre” in Middleton Spa to allow us to look after confirmed cases from the care services and keep them separate from the rest of the residents.  Hopefully, we will never have to use it.  Our plan for leaseholders would be for residents to stay in their properties, inform us and use external care.  However, if someone is seriously ill with Covid-19, we may be able to care for them in our Covid Care Centre.

Thank you again for your support at this time.  I can assure you that we will continue to try and keep the focus on reducing risk and acting pragmatically in taking a precautionary approach.

If you have any queries or ideas, please email or call reception for further information.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

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Coronavirus – Update for all residents and families (24th March 2020)

Government Measures

The government announcement about the countrywide lockdown last night has instructed everyone to stay at home under strict controls for the next three weeks.  (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51711227)

During this period of “lockdown”, we will be following the government measures carefully and stopping all visits, unless in exceptional circumstances.  This will help reduce the possibility of anyone bringing the virus into Middleton Hall.  There is a local care home that now has two confirmed cases of Coronavirus, probably brought inadvertently by a visitor, so we will continue to be very careful to reduce any risks of potential infection.

Currently we believe that we are as well organised as we can be for the situation and although we have several Co-owners (staff) self-isolating as a precaution, we have no confirmed cases.  Our Co-owners are doing a great job in frankly very difficult circumstances and I am extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication.  Please feel free to let them know (by email or telephone) if you agree – feedback is a great morale boost!

There are a number of ways that we will try and make this easier (in addition to the measures that we have previously communicated over the last few weeks):

  • We have extended the range of items available from Middleton Hall’s shop
  • We have ordered 10 tablets, in addition to the iPads that we already have, to make video calling through Skype more accessible for residents and families – they are due to arrive this weekend, so should be set up ready by Monday in each service.  We suggest that video calling is the best way for families to remain in touch and will try and make it as easy as possible for residents
  • We have ordered some additional telephone handsets as we have found some of the telephones in rooms were missing

If you have any questions or ideas, please preferably email (as they are very busy) or telephone reception.  As a reminder the direct dial numbers for our Care Services are:

Middleton Grove 01325 331443

Middleton Gardens 01325 331441

Middleton Court 01325 331442

Middleton Oaks 01325 331445

Thank you for your support and encouragement in dealing with the pandemic.

Please keep yourself and your family safe at this incredibly difficult time.

Jeremy Walford

Covid-19 Updated Information for Middleton Hall Residents and Families

Please find Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (20th May 2020)

Stay Safe

I am pleased to confirm that we continue to have no cases of Covid-19 amongst our residents or Co-owners (staff).  We do have one person waiting to join us who has had Covid-19 while working for another care provider who will not start until we are confident is clear from infection.  We have one Co-owner self-isolating as a precaution despite testing negative as a household member had tested positive.

With the first steps towards easing of lockdown, there has been a lot of confusion about the new guidance and regulations.  Figures released over the weekend indicate that the north east has the highest infection rate in the country at present so we need to continue to be vigilant.

As explained in last week’s bulletin we are trialling a Visitor’s Pod in the Conservatory from Friday this week.  The maintenance team have done a great job in putting it together and faced with delays in delivery of the Perspex ordered last week have managed to create a temporary set up until we get that delivery.  It includes a hands free communication system between the two sides.  At this stage, the Visitors’ Pod is available for Middleton Grove, Middleton Gardens and Middleton Court.  If the trial proves successful and safe, we plan to introduce two others, including one in Middleton Oaks.

During the trial period, in order to give residents in the above services the opportunity, we will only be booking one 30 minute visit for one family member.  We need to ensure it works safely and would hope to increase the availability and scope of visits once we have learnt from the trial.

Someone from the relevant care service will be in touch to make arrangements.   You will find attached details of how this will work during the trial period but please bear with us should it not go smoothly!   Provisionally, we will be offering times for Middleton Court on Friday/Sunday am/Tuesday; Middleton Gardens on Saturday/Wednesday; Middleton Grove Sunday pm/Monday/Thursday.  The location of this first trial Visitors’ Pod is not ideal for Middleton Oaks, so if the system works, we hope to provide one in Middleton Oaks for the week after next.  In the meantime, the team will discuss with individual families using the trial pod where appropriate.

We have a system for disinfecting any post or deliveries for residents so if you have any cards or other items for a resident, please bring it with you and leave it in reception rather than try and deliver it directly.

Since the somewhat imprecise changes to the lockdown, we have had families arrive and attempt to speak to residents through windows.  We must be clear that visitors cannot visit without making arrangements.  Many families have applauded our focus on keeping residents safe at all times throughout the pandemic.  The Visitors’ Pod is the only safe way of visiting so we would urge people to remember what has happened in many care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks locally and only visit with prior booking through the care service.

Thank you for supporting Middleton Hall to Stay Safe.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Please find Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (13th May 2020)

Last Friday marked 75 years since the end of six terrible years of war in Europe – VE Day.  Over the last three months we have been fighting our own world war with a deadly, but very different enemy – Coronavirus.  So far, thanks to the efforts of all our Co-owners and support of our residents and families, we have kept Covid-19 out of Middleton Hall, unlike many care homes and retirement villages throughout the country.

The good news is that we continue to have no cases of Covid-19 amongst our residents or Co-owners (staff).  The majority of Co-owners and residents have been tested and results are all negative so far.  We have had a number of “void” or “not clear” test results but we hope that will reduce as experience of using the kits improves. The two residents who we had moved into our isolation rooms as a precaution last week both tested negative to everyone’s great relief.

There is a new government portal for testing that has been announced which we are hoping will make testing easier and allow us to test residents and care teams regularly going forward.

Regular testing is one key part of reducing the risk of bringing Covid-19 into Middleton Hall, but it is not a guarantee.  The easing of lockdown during May and June increases the risk as more people outside Middleton Hall are exposed to the infection.

We are therefore introducing a number of measures to alleviate that increased risk:

  • Reassessment of each team member for risk (household situation)
  • Providing each Co-owner a “Stay Safe” pack – a brief about maintaining our safety and a PPE pack (gloves and mask) for home
  • Encouraging Co-owners to take online supermarket deliveries if possible and /or increase groceries shopping through MH. Iceland is now doing priority deliveries for care workers which will help.
  • Maintaining social distancing for residents and Co-owners wherever possible and continuing use of face masks

We will remain cautious about residents with any symptoms but with testing available it does reduce the time that we may have to isolate residents and help protect our PPE stock.

We have also revised our admissions policy to carefully allow new residents to move in following testing and after meeting a set of requirements including a period of isolation before moving into their room or apartment.

For our care services one of the most difficult areas during the epidemic for residents and families has been not allowing visitors.  As we mentioned in a previous bulletin, we have reviewed our “no visitors” policy and we believe we may be able to provide a solution that is within new government guidelines.

Some of you may have seen an article on the BBC website about a care home in Holland that had installed a visitors’ pod https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-52589041/coronavirus-dutch-care-home-reunites-families-in-a-glass-pod.  We are going to try a version of this in the conservatory next to the Restaurant as an experiment by installing a transparent screen across the conservatory that entirely separates the bay section by the external doors from the rest of the room with a microphone and speaker system for communication.

We would then allow a single visitor, strictly by appointment (30 minutes maximum) to arrive in the visitors’ car park and go directly through the conservatory doors where the visitor will be separated by the screen from the resident arriving from inside Middleton Hall to have a safe visit with their family.  Both sides of the screen would have to be sanitised after each visit.  There are some details to be worked out still and we hope to have this ready for the end of next week.  This would initially be only for Middleton Grove, Middleton Gardens and Middleton Court.  If it proves successful and safe, we will look at providing similar facilities in the following weeks including one in Middleton Oaks.

We will provide details of the arrangements next week once it is set up and working – please bear with us as there will only be a limited number of appointments initially.  I should emphasise that this is a trial and we will not continue it if we feel there is a risk to any residents from visitors coming on site.  We have had one recent incident where a family member chose to ignore the “no visitors” policy which resulted in their relative having to be isolated as a precaution.

Having done well to avoid an outbreak of Covid-19 at Middleton Hall so far, we are now entering a key period of time when we need to keep our guard up to keep residents safe while at the same time trying to find ways of improving how they are living during the pandemic.  Working with families will be key to achieving that balance.

Thank you all for your support and kind comments about the efforts of our committed and caring Co-owners (keep the comments coming – the team really appreciate them!).

Best wishes

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Please find Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (6th May 2020)

As you will be aware, since the last bulletin there has been a significant change in the availability of testing for Covid-19 in social care and for essential workers.  Four residents in our care services were tested for Coronavirus last week where we had some concerns about symptoms through the District Nursing service which all came back negative.

At the end of last week, we were able to get home test kits for all remaining care service residents and over the weekend completed those tests as part of the roll out of general testing in social care.  We have some initial test results back including a number where we have been asked to do a re-test because the test has not worked.  There is also one received today, with a “borderline indication” where it was insufficient to confirm presence of Covid-19 which we are treating as a potential Coronavirus case until the re-test result is known.  We understand from other care providers that these home tests are often coming back as needing a re-test.

In the event of any residents testing positive, we would obviously let the resident and family know immediately, followed by all our Co-owners, residents/families.

We have been told informally through NHS contacts, that there is now evidence that older people do not always show the “classic symptoms” of Covid-19 (high temperature and dry cough) but present with other symptoms (lethargy, loss of appetite or delirium for example).  We have produced new symptoms guidance for all our care teams and are being cautious about any unexplained changes in a resident’s health, hence some of the tests last week.

Testing for social care staff is now available for anyone with or critically without symptoms.  We are asking all our Co-owners (staff) to have a test and most have managed to get a test booked so far.  As you will be aware from the media, availability is difficult.  It is not currently clear how access to regular testing will work, but at least this is finally going in the right direction and should make managing the situation easier.  One of our Co-owners who tested negative herself, has had a family member test positive (without any symptoms), so she is self-isolating as a precaution.

We now have anyone working in close proximity to residents wearing a face mask as the additional precaution mentioned in the last bulletin.  Although this has presented some challenges for our care teams – comfort and dealing with residents with hearing difficulties for example – our Co-owners have embraced this as helping to protect residents.  We will continue to review this based on our assessment of risk with regard to any easing in lockdown and availability of testing.

We are currently discussing our next steps in light of government announcements at the end of the week about lockdown.  Our plan going forward will include what we can do to help any sense of isolation that residents are feeling and whether there is any way of having safe, carefully planned & socially distanced visiting in due course.  We appreciate the support from families about no visitors but also recognise this is unlikely to be sustainable if the pandemic continues for months rather than weeks.

We are marking VE Day on Friday with social distanced music and an experimental YouTube quiz that Michael Hodgson, our Living Well Manager, is organising.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do let us know.  In the meantime, thank you again for your forbearance at this time.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Please find Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (26th April 2020)

I am pleased that we are still able to confirm that we still have no cases of Covid-19 amongst any of our residents or Co-owners (staff) currently.  As you will be aware from media coverage over the last two weeks, sadly there have been an increasing number of care homes with Covid-19 – we appreciate our residents and families respecting our no visitors policy in helping to keep the virus out of Middleton Hall.  Our Co-owners are doing a fantastic job in working as a team through this situation.

The challenge for us going forward is getting the balance right between reducing the risk of infection and resident welfare.  It is a difficult balance to achieve and having listened to the Care Managers and spoken with various Co-owners this week, our approach does need to be flexible – there are different situations in different services and within each service, different needs for different residents.  Middleton Hall has always been strong in being resident focused and that should mean we continue apply flexibility to achieve that balance.

Over the last week we have introduced some further social distancing measures in the care services where we are able.  The purpose of this is to reduce the numbers of residents who might be infected should the virus come into Middleton Hall.

In terms of further reducing risk, after discussion with Care Managers and the Care Teams in each service, we have decided from next week to bring in the wearing of face masks in the care services where people are delivering care or working closely with residents to reduce the chance of an asymptomatic Co-owner inadvertently bringing in the infection.  This has not been an easy decision and we have consulted our teams first – we are concerned about how residents will react and how it will be for Co-owners to work in face masks, but feel it is the next level of risk reduction in keeping our residents safe.

There is concern that the virus may have been brought into some care homes by asymptomatic staff or health professionals and should lockdown be eased in the next few weeks, the risk of this will increase. In the coming weeks, we will start to prepare for any easing of lockdown and how it could impact on Middleton Hall.

We have been working hard on securing ongoing supplies of both face mask and other PPE (gloves, aprons and surgical gowns) over the last few weeks, primarily to manage should we have cases of Covid-19.    We also have a good stock of visors including some donated by local companies.

So far as testing, we now have easier access to Covid-19 testing for all Co-owners and all residents.  Co-owners with symptoms should now be able to attend a mobile test centre at Teesside Park, once booked through Co-owner Support.

Finally, we would appreciate your continuing help in dealing with this crisis – if you have some ideas that would either help reduce our risk of Covid-19 or that would help residents or Co-owners cope with the lockdown, please let us know.

With our continued thanks for your support during the last few weeks.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Please find Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (18th April 2020)

First of all – thank you.  We appreciate the support we are getting from residents and families during this very challenging time.

We currently have no cases of Covid-19 amongst any of our residents or Co-owners (staff) and no one with likely symptoms.  We do have some Co-owners self-isolating because of either symptoms or family members with symptoms but we are managing with staffing levels thanks to the dedication of our team of Co-owners.

During the last week we admitted two residents on a precautionary basis into our Rainbow Centre as they had shown some initial symptoms but I am pleased to report they are both well and moved back to their respective services after 7 days self-isolating.  As this turned into a “dress rehearsal” it has allowed us to learn from using the new facility converted from Middleton Spa and adjust procedures.  I worked a shift in the Rainbow Centre myself on Tuesday as one of our support team (assisting a qualified carer, Debby Lamont on this occasion).  I can report that as well as being very well organised by the Rainbow Centre team, I found it a very safe working environment for Co-owners and comfortable for residents.  It should provide us with the means to reduce spread in the case of an infection and care effectively for a resident with Covid-19.

There have been some developments at national level that are having impact on Middleton Hall.  The good news is that we are now able to access testing for Coronavirus for our Co-owners and in due course residents, something that we have been asking for since the beginning of March.  The less good news has been about the national PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) shortage and the constantly changing advice on use of PPE from Public Health England.  We currently hold sufficient stock as we have been actively working on holding a buffer stock for the last month.

It is essential that we continue our “no visitors” policy.  We realise that this is very difficult and we are very grateful for the understanding of families and friends about not visiting Middleton Hall.

We had a good response to our survey last week – thank you to everyone who contributed.  Those who had specific queries and put their name should have had a response during the week.

There were some useful ideas that we are or hope to be implementing including:

  1. Appointments for video calls
  2. Proactive updates by telephone or email
  3. More pictures on Facebook or sent to families
  4. More outside walks/exercise or even afternoon tea
  5. More quizzes
  6. Gardening opportunities
  7. Audio books on Kindles

The responses confirmed that although “frustrating/sad/difficult”, families feel “reassured/safe/have confidence” in Middleton Hall.  There were high levels of satisfaction in the initiatives that we have taken so far – 92% “Very Satisfied” with the timeliness of the measures and 89% “Very Satisfied” with the information provided.  You also provided some lovely comments about our teams that we have fed back to all our Co-owners.

Having put some changes in to further “socially distance” residents and Co-owners over the last two weeks, there are further steps that we could take going forward.  The first would involve asking residents to stay in their rooms and apartments.  At this stage we are only planning to introduce this if we have suspected cases as we continue to recognise the need to strike balance.  The other, subject to PPE supply constraints, would be to have our care teams wearing face masks in close proximity to residents, or at least the more “at risk” residents.  We will be making decisions on this taking account of availability of the different types of face masks and the frankly conflicting government guidance in the next few days.  Our concern is the danger of using up face masks when we have no infections and then not having sufficient if we have actual cases while the supply of PPE is so unreliable.

Thank you for all your words of encouragement to our team during the pandemic – keeping the morale of our team as high as possible is important and your comments really help.

If you have any queries or ideas, please let us know.

In the meantime, please stay safe at home.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Please find Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (9th April 2020)

I am relieved to let you know that so far we have had no cases of Covid-19 amongst any of our residents or Co-owners (staff) and currently no one with likely symptoms.  We do have some Co-owners self-isolating because they are in the vulnerable category or in some cases where they have had symptoms of a cold but we feel our cautious approach has worked so far.

During this week we have carried out a further analysis of risk and are tightening up on a few areas to further reduce risk of an infection coming into Middleton Hall.  In effect, we are trying to maintain a shield around the whole community.

The main areas of risk for our care services are around deliveries without infection control measures, visitors, hospital appointments and any Community Nursing services coming in.  We continue to minimise all those contacts.  We have been assessing any risks that our Co-owners (staff) might have because of their own family situations.  In the case of Middleton Court and Middleton Gardens we are also putting in some further separation between groups of residents so if there was an outbreak it should minimise the spread of the virus, without insisting that all residents have to stay in their rooms or apartments.

We are grateful for the understanding of families and friends about not visiting Middleton Hall.  We are in regular contact with the other retirement communities in the UK to share information. Last Friday I learnt of a sobering situation in a retirement village in another part of the country where the daughter of a resident chose to ignore both government “stay at home” guidance and the retirement village’s “no visitors” policy and visited her mother.  It turned out that the daughter’s husband had contracted Covid-19.  Sadly, her mother died last week and that retirement village now has other cases.

We appreciate that Easter weekend is upon us and understand that it would be tempting to ignore the “stay at home” requirement.  It is critical that we continue not to have visitors.  It is not often I find myself quoting the Queen, but her point during her address to the nation about being “united and resolute” in order to overcome the disease seemed well made and applies to Middleton Hall as well as the rest of the nation.  The scientific advice appears to be that even on paper or card, the virus can live for 24 hours, so please be mindful if you were considering dropping in a card.

As in previous bulletins, we would suggest that video calling is the best way to maintain contact.  Using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp video calls does make a difference.  We have arranged video calling “appointments” for many residents now and are keen to make sure we can do that for as many as possible.  From my personal point of view, I have found numerous ways of keeping in touch with family and friends over video calls – I attended a “virtual drinks party” on Zoom last weekend, watched the Virtual Grand National with family and friends that I was due to be with at Aintree last Saturday and completed a families’ quiz game over the weekend on Zoom.  Where there is a will, there is a way.  Please let us know what else we can do to help communication (see survey at the end).

You will be aware that there has been rather greater focus in the press about the pressures on social care in the last week and we are also aware of some very difficult and sad situations especially in care homes and with homecare at present. We continue to work hard to try and avoid the risks that could develop into those situations.

During this week, we have set up our “Rainbow Centre” (named by the Co-owners who would work there) in Middleton Spa in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19 within one of our care services.  This provides a 3 bed and a 2 bed “ward” as well as a single room to allow us to look after confirmed cases and keep them separate from other residents.  We asked our Co-owners for volunteers to work in the Rainbow Centre if necessary and impressively had more than we need volunteering.  Those volunteers are undergoing training at present.  In addition, there are two self-isolating rooms set up within the main building.  Obviously, we are hoping to never use these facilities, but they are now there if needed.  We are also at least adequately prepared with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as we acquired supplies some time ago.

We are delighted in how well the shop ordering service are being used by independent living residents.  Families and friends can also order items to be delivered to any of our residents.  Please email reception if you would like to use this service (reception@mhrv.co.uk).

Finally, in order to plan ahead, we would like a little feedback on how we are responding to the Coronavirus crisis, how families and friends are coping and any thoughts you may have about how we can help.  You will find a link below to a 5 minute survey to give us feedback and ask for ideas going forward.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XRMZJHV

Thank you very much for your support during this crisis.

If you have any queries or thoughts, please email or call reception for further information.

Please stay safe.

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Please find Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

 Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (3rd April 2020)

Since our last update, as you are all aware the pandemic has escalated and the country is now on complete “lockdown”.

I am pleased to report that we are still managing to operate our care services with limited disruption thanks to the efforts of our Co-owners (staff).  Thank you to those who have emailed their gratitude – it has been very good for our team morale (so please continue to let them know!).

Clearly we will be in a position of lockdown for some time, so we will continue to work with families to alleviate the difficulty this entails. The advice about visiting has been tightened so we can only allow visiting in exceptional circumstances for the moment.  We are also restricting District Nurses and the Community Matron to essential visits only as part of our measures.

We have introduced additional digital tablets into all services this week to increase the opportunities for video calling – please make good use of the facility as it is does make a difference to our residents.

As the pandemic continues, the NHS locally may struggle to cope.  We wanted to let you know that this could mean that we have some difficult dilemmas in the coming weeks.  GPs, Emergency Doctors and Paramedics may not be able to attend and there are hospitals in the south that are now refusing any admissions from care homes or applying age criteria.  We may also need to consider situations where a resident would go to hospital as routine, that the risk of being exposed to Covid-19 infection in hospital may present greater risk than not going to hospital.  Debby and the care managers are working on a protocol that would enable us to manage a higher proportion of falls or accidents by consultation with healthcare professionals and close monitoring.  Our priority will always be to put the safety and best interests of residents first and risk assess each situation on an individual basis.   In the event NHS resources are limited, we will manage difficult situations based on the support available and in a flexible way.  We are raising this issue now before it becomes a problem so that you are aware of some potential challenges ahead so far as NHS care.

As the next stage in our planning, should we have an outbreak of Covid-19, we are setting up a “Covid Care Centre” in Middleton Spa to allow us to look after confirmed cases and keep them separate from the rest of the residents.  Hopefully, we will never have to use it.  We have also set aside two rooms in Middleton Hall as “self-isolating rooms”.

Thank you again for your support at this time.  I can assure you that we will continue to try and keep the focus on reducing risk and acting pragmatically in taking a precautionary approach.

If you have any queries or ideas, please email or call reception for further information.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Coronavirus – Update for all residents and families (24th March 2020)

Government Measures

The government announcement about the countrywide lockdown last night has instructed everyone to stay at home under strict controls for the next three weeks.  (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51711227)

During this period of “lockdown”, we will be following the government measures carefully and stopping all visits, unless in exceptional circumstances.  This will help reduce the possibility of anyone bringing the virus into Middleton Hall.  There is a local care home that now has two confirmed cases of Coronavirus, probably brought inadvertently by a visitor, so we will continue to be very careful to reduce any risks of potential infection.

Currently we believe that we are as well organised as we can be for the situation and although we have several Co-owners (staff) self-isolating as a precaution, we have no confirmed cases.  Our Co-owners are doing a great job in frankly very difficult circumstances and I am extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication.  Please feel free to let them know (by email or telephone) if you agree – feedback is a great morale boost!

There are a number of ways that we will try and make this easier (in addition to the measures that we have previously communicated over the last few weeks):

  • We have extended the range of items available from Middleton Hall’s shop
  • We have ordered 10 tablets, in addition to the iPads that we already have, to make video calling through Skype more accessible for residents and families – they are due to arrive this weekend, so should be set up ready by Monday in each service.  We suggest that video calling is the best way for families to remain in touch and will try and make it as easy as possible for residents
  • We have ordered some additional telephone handsets as we have found some of the telephones in rooms were missing

If you have any questions or ideas, please preferably email (as they are very busy) or telephone reception.  As a reminder the direct dial numbers for our Care Services are:

Middleton Grove 01325 331443

Middleton Gardens 01325 331441

Middleton Court 01325 331442

Middleton Oaks 01325 331445

Thank you for your support and encouragement in dealing with the pandemic.

Please keep yourself and your family safe at this incredibly difficult time.

Jeremy Walford

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (7pm 12th March 2020).

Following recent communications, we are writing to let you know that we are accelerating Middleton Hall’s response to Coronavirus as part of our Contingency Plan.

Firstly, thank you to all the residents and families who have been positive and supportive of the difficult decisions that we are having to make at a time of a national crisis.

As the spread of the virus is continuing to escalate in the UK and there has been a case in Darlington, we are continuing to be proactive and focus on reducing risk for our community. We have a Co-owner who has been off sick since Wednesday with what appears to be conventional ‘flu, but have treated it as if it is Coronavirus both as a precaution and to test our systems and response to a situation if we do have someone in the community with Coronavirus.

As a result, we have decided to take some further precautions around communal facilities and to reduce cross community contacts for the next few weeks – in effect some “social distancing” that some governments have talked about.

  1. The Orangery will be closing at 6pm Thursday 12th March for two weeks.
  2. The Stables shop will also close, but we will be offering a delivery service for essential items in Middleton Grove, Middleton Woods and The Waterside
  3. The Restaurant will also be closed from this evening. Anyone who has a booking will of course receive a refund of their deposit. This will include bookings for Sunday lunch and unfortunately Mother’s Day. We will use the Vision Room as a dining room for Middleton Grove. We are looking into offering a “Deliveroo” style delivery service for hot meals for Middleton Woods and The Waterside and will let you know about that shortly.
  4. Middleton Spa will close immediately for Middleton Grove, Middleton Gardens, Middleton Court and Middleton Oaks residents again for an initial period of two weeks. We will keep the swimming pool and gym open for Independent Living residents for now, but with separate sessions for Middleton Woods and The Waterside. We may close the gym if the situation develops further or probably all of Middleton Spa. A revised timetable will be published tomorrow for Saturday onwards, allowing time for deep cleaning. There will not be hairdressing or therapies for the next two weeks.
  5. Members of the team from Middleton Spa will be allocated a particular care service to work in and will provide exercises and Living Well activities in those services so that residents have activities to choose from within their service.
  6. The library will be closed for the next few weeks. If Middleton Woods or Waterside residents wish to use the art studio, pavilion or bowling green we would ask them to email reception and we will look at arranging times for small groups.
  7. Middleton Grove, Middleton Gardens, Middleton Oaks and Middleton Court will maintain their existing teams working exclusively in that service and with dedicated housekeepers and nights to reduce contact between the services
  8. All activities that operate with multiple services (crafts, art, current affairs etc) will be suspended for the next few weeks
  9. We will continue some outings to areas that avoid shared public spaces for individual care services along with trips for essential hospital appointments. We are aiming to have a dedicated driver for each care service.
  10. Resident Volunteers in Independent Living (leaseholders) have offered to help with shopping and keeping an eye out for residents living on their own – we are very grateful to residents for offering to help.
  11. We are reviewing private cleans in Middleton Woods and The Waterside and will speak to residents individually about whether they wish to suspend those for a period of time. If we are hit by school closures or illness, we may need to withdraw the service in any case.
  12. Reception will remain open but primarily for telephone contact. We may increase the telephone cover from Monday as we are having high levels of phone calls.

Visitors

We would continue to ask families and friends to avoid or reduce visits to residents for the next two weeks unless essential, especially if they have been in areas where there is increased risk of Coronavirus – major conurbations like London, and not to visit at all if they have returned from abroad within the previous 14 days. All the care services can help residents with Skype or Facetime on the iPads that we have in each service – if you call the relevant care service, they should be able to arrange a video call.

This is obviously a fast-moving situation and we will react as it develops. If there are school closures next week that will provide us with some further challenges so we will keep you updated.

As you are aware, we have been organising for the last four weeks for this situation, so we believe that we are as prepared as we can be.

The key advice remains vigilance about handwashing. Two useful sources of information are:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51711227

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Thank you again to all the community for their support in dealing with an unprecedented and difficult situation. I can assure you that we will continue to try and keep the focus on reducing risk and acting pragmatically in taking a precautionary approach.

We will continue to keep everyone updated by email rather than post. As previously requested, please make sure that we have up to date email contact details for all family members or friends of residents who wish to be kept up to date. Email reception@mhrv.co.uk with name of resident, name of family contact and relationship to resident. These details will only be used for communication about our contingency plan.

If you have any queries, please email or call reception for further information.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

Exploring the Wildlife at Middleton Hall Retirement Village

Attention all Residents

Please find below a Wildlife Search booklet and accompanying map which we have recently been working on as a ‘Challenge’ for residents throughout the current government lockdown.

The aim is to see how many species you can spot in Middleton Hall grounds throughout the coming months. And there is even a prize for the winner!

*Don’t forget to keep to the government recommended social distance.*

For any clarification, please don’t hesitate to call reception.

You can also pick up a paper copy of the booklet at reception.

Wildlife Search at Middleton Hall Retirement Village
Accompanying Map

 

 

Easter Egg Competition Winners

First of all, thank you to everyone who participated in the Middleton Hall Easter Egg Competition. All of the entries were fantastic, it was really hard to pick just a few as our favourites! The winner and 2 runners up are as follows – congratulations to all.

WINNER

The winner was Grace (Age 10) from a school in Middleton St. George, with a Wizard of Oz themed display.

RUNNERS UP:

Our first Runner-Up entry was ‘Yoda’, made by Luke and Tracey Dodgson.

Our second Runner-Up entry was ‘Fishes out of water’, a collaboration between a few of the residents in Acorn house in Middleton Oaks.

Congratulations to everyone and thank you for your submissions!

Middleton Hall Facebook Care Service Pages

We are turning into quite the social media gurus here at Middleton Hall Retirement Village.

Not only do we have presence across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, but our Facebook page has become so popular that we have now set up 4 individual Facebook pages for each care service.

Please click on the links below and follow us on Facebook to see photos and video and to receive updates and announcements.

Middleton Oaks

Middleton Grove

Middleton Gardens

Middleton Court

Eco friendly living pays dividends for Waterside residents

After six years of living in one of Middleton Hall’s award-winning carbon neutral properties, Waterside residents David and June wouldn’t chose to live anywhere else.

The couple’s move in 2014 came at a time when they were considering downsizing from their 1930s detached property in Darlington.

June explained: “We were visiting Middleton Hall regularly to see David’s mother and I always said that I’d love to live somewhere like this when the time came for us to move.”

The couple put their names down for a property in a future phase of the Waterside development of eco-friendly homes but then decided to snap up one when it became available earlier than they expected.

The Waterside Bungalows (Image taken by David Gaskell of Middleton Hall Photography Group)

“We’d lived in our home for over 30 years by then, so rather than spend money on maintaining it we decided to move instead,” added David.

As only the second people to move into the development, the couple have subsequently become trailblazers for a greener way of living.

“The property is very efficient to run,” said David. “It is carbon neutral and our solar power tariff means that we make more on our energy costs than we are paying out.

“We were early adopters of solar power so we are on a good tariff which means that the energy we sell back into the grid more than covers our costs.”

A log burner keeps the triple-glazed property very cosy without the need for the heating to be switched on too often and the weather forecast has taken on a new significance for the couple.

“If it’s sunny we make the most of the electricity we’re generating” June said. “A sunny day in October meant that I got ahead with all my Christmas baking!”

The spaciousness of the couple’s dormer bungalow also suited the couple.

“We wanted a smaller property without losing bedrooms as we have regular visits from family who live in the Midlands,” David added.

As keen gardeners they have created a garden at the back of their property which looks out over a countryside scene of fields and trees and they also have one of the community allotments in Middleton Hall’s grounds.

Sunset at the Waterside (Image taken by David Gaskell)

The couple maintain a very active social life without having to stray too far from their home which includes table tennis, bowling, art appreciation, pottery classes, a photography group, singing with the choir and trips with the Middleton Hall walking group.

David and June playing a game of bowls

“There’s an amazing community here and we have some lovely friends around us at the Waterside,” reflected David. “Everybody is so helpful and supportive and everything is on the doorstep – it’s great.”

June smiled, adding: “We’re so glad we moved.”

The benefits of taking up a hobby at retirement age

It isn’t uncommon at Middleton Hall for residents in their 70s, 80s, 90s and even 100s to take up a new hobby or learn something new. Our team encourage everyone to get involved in activities and use the facilities for significant benefits to physical and mental well-being.

middleton-hall-retirement-village-bowls-club

Above: Residents using the bowls green

A Hobby Isn’t Just a Sport

Many think that a hobby is solely sports related, but hobbies can include activities such as walking or swimming; there are the arts too and music, not to mention cooking, gardening or playing board and card games.

It is never too late to learn a new skill.

Facilities at Middleton Hall

Throughout the last decade, the range of facilities that we have been able to offer have only extended and been very well received by our residents. Our 45 acre plot now has:

  • A Pavilion and Bowling green
  • 9-Hole Golf Course
  • Swimming Pool with Jacuzzi
  • Spa including Therapy Rooms
  • Hairdressers
  • The Orangery
  • The Restaurant
  • Art Studio
  • Library
  • Nature Trails
  • And much more…

What are the benefits?

Taking up a hobby during retirement is proven to make life more enjoyable:

  • Keeping active and engaged helps to sharpen the mind
  • If you decide to take up a hobby within a group of people, this keeps you socially connected with friends
  • Helps you learn new skills with other likeminded individuals who share your passion
  • Physical activity leads to better health in general, due to the chemicals released by the body
  • Hobbies help to relieves stress and reduce boredom

Pets and Retirement

During retirement, pet ownership often increases, which is sometimes seen as a hobby in itself. Looking after a pet is a positive responsibility, especially dogs. This type of hobby encourages people to get out, admire the outdoors, walk their pet and explore nature whilst being showered with unconditional love. Many of our residents take advantage of our beautiful grounds with their pets and attribute their good health benefits to this.

We understand the importance of this companionship to many residents and can therefore accommodate pets in some of our properties (subject to availability). We want you to live retirement life to the fullest, even if that means bringing along your furry friend too!

The Next Steps…

Perhaps you haven’t found your hobby yet, which is why at Middleton Hall we host a range of different weekly and monthly activities to be enjoyed by all and we guarantee there will be at least one you haven’t tried yet!

Here are just a few of many:

  • Bridge Club
  • Aqua Sessions
  • Knatty Knitting Club
  • Tai Chi
  • Photography Club
  • Table Tennis
  • Scrabble Club
  • Choir

Contact reception team today to find out more about the facilities and events we have going on:

01325 332207 or email info@mhrv.co.uk

Guide to Downsizing

 Don’t panic!

Property downsizing can feel like a big step; first due to moving out of somewhere you might have lived for a long time, but not forgetting the stress of having to make everything you own fit in a smaller space! But this doesn’t mean it is a negative thing, and changing your attitude towards it is often a great help.

Having one too many empty rooms and struggling with household chores is often the first sign that downsizing should be an option. It can definitely be hard to move out of a home – especially ones that have had families grow up in them – but for many it is the sensible next step. The act of downsizing isn’t in itself a move “down”, if anything it’s a move “up” – to a neater, more compact space where you can start to explore your new stage of life.

Think about more than just the property…

It’s not just the physical property to consider, but its location, the local amenities, the community, security, and opportunities available.

  • Do family or friends live nearby?
  • Can you connect to the people in your community?
  • How easy is it to get to the nearest GP?
  • What’s the nearest supermarket?
  • Do you need somewhere to walk the dog?

Even if you’re only moving down the road, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and your needs, especially if they’re subject to change.

Stay open-minded

Often downsizing is a lovely time for families to help sort through possessions; it brings back memories and gives a chance to evaluate the significance of everything that’s been amassed over the years. Having this opportunity is invaluable and means everything you bring to your smaller property is important to you – exactly what you need around you in this new stage.

Resisting the call to downsize will not make it go away – and keeping an open mind when researching the sort of place that you’d like to move to is important. Retirement villages like ours are a diverse community of new friends, background support, and future prospects, and we would love to have you.

Recruitment Fair on Friday 6th March

Recruitment Event

Friday 6th March 2020

10:30am-2:00pm

The Vision Room, Middleton Hall Retirement Village

Please sign in at reception.

This is an opportunity to:

  • See who we are and what we do
  • Register your interest in working for an employee owned company

Get your tickets here

Call 01325 332207 or email recruitment@mhrv.co.uk for more information