Keeping busy, vaccinations and freedom in time for Rosh Hashanah

Judy Kramer won the “Best Dressed” prize at Highlands House’s in-house Olympics. Residents represented various countries, and she participated for her ‘English’ Team.

By Mathilde Myburgh

Highlands House was properly abuzz when news started spreading that residents had regained some of their freedoms on Wednesday 28 July, after nearly 18 months of lockdown in one or another form.

We announced increased freedom of movement, letting our residents leave the premises to visit family and friends, visit the bank and go shopping, with no isolation period upon their return. Some couldn’t believe it.

“Well, I was lying down, and somebody came in and told me that we can go out tomorrow, or even this afternoon, and I said, isn’t it 1 April, April Fool’s Day? Everyone’s on a natural high. Never heard or felt such a buzz in Highlands House,” said Charlie Phillips.

“Well, it’s thrilling news. I think it’s absolutely wonderful. Thank you, Highlands House, for all you’ve done,” said Myra de la Harpe.

The news followed President Ramaphosa’s announcement of an adjustment to Alert Level 3 the prior Sunday evening, and our management team’s careful deliberation over the latest regulations. Changes at the Home included arranging a single sitting per breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the dining room, and resuming controlled (scheduled) visits at the Home.

“Our last resident case was in April, and our last staff case in May. All our residents are fully vaccinated as part of our preparation for a return to normalcy. At this point, there’s no reason to keep a lockdown, considering the latest regulations and the careful advice of the Western Cape Government’s Older Persons Programme. We’re mindful that the COVID status of the Home may change, and we’ll adjust our protocols accordingly,” said Dr Leon Geffen, Executive Director.

“Some of our residents are hesitant to go out and fearful of the recent surge. They may choose what they’re comfortable with, of course. Others are over the moon,” said Delia Kaplan, Deputy Director.

Many residents are excited over the prospect of sharing in life occasions in-person again, and spending Rosh Hashanah with family and friends. It’s also exciting to be able to enjoy dining together.

Meanwhile, our Lifestyle Coordinator Lesley-Anne Knoll has ensured a packed and exciting programme in the Lifestyle Centre over recent weeks — from a knit-a-thon of beanies and clothing for Mandela Day, to a mini-Highlands Olympics.

The knitted and beaded items for Mandela Day benefitted One To One, Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Souper Troopers, Reach for Recovery, Somerset Hospital and Divote, among others.

Mandela Day: Esmé Jacobson made sure that One To One was included as a beneficiary in the knitting drive. On Friday 16 July, residents volunteered to pack knitted items to go to various beneficiaries, each with a ‘Made with Love by the Residents of Highlands House’ card in.

Highlands House

• Published in the PDF edition of the September 2021 issue – Get the PDF here.

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