A Portlaoise nursing home has extended thanks to local schools who have helped before during the Covid-19 pandemic to brin an extra dimension to the life of residents.
Community Care was the name of a new module for transition year students at Portlaoise College which saw them link up with the staff and residents of Ballard Lodge.
Before the words, Covid-19 and social distancing became part of our vernacular, transition year students along with the support of teaching staff would visit the nursing home every week to participate in activities with the residents.
Bernie Brennan, Director Of Nursing at Ballard Lodge says they played board games and music which created a valuable link between our nursing home and Portlaoise College.
She said the link has made a big impact.
"Students involved in the nursing home has had an impact in so many ways profoundly illustrated through the painting of a mural that displays a moving illustration accompanied by a touching poem.
"Given the current restrictions imposed by Covid-19 regulations our contact with students are limited, however, the resilient students of Portlaoise College have gone above and beyond to maintain contact with us during this difficult time.
As well as keeping in contact through a penpal situation, sending in letters and cards the transition year students recently had a bake sale to raise funds to buy individualised gifts for Christmas for the residents," said Ms Brennan.
The home has also teamed up with other schools and playschools in Laois.
"Just last week we got a lovely surprise from Ms McDonalds 2nd and 3rd class in Ballyroan. Each resident received a handwritten letter and a very colourful Christmas decoration which we hung on their bedroom door.
"We also got lovely handmade cards and decorations from playschools in the area.
"We received letters and cards from 2nd and 3rd class in the Gaelscoil Portlaoise and our neighbouring school Scoil Chriost Rí also sent individual letters. We have recently started to receive lovely individualised care parks from all over the country. All these bits have really lifted the spirits of the residents and brighten up the walls and their bedrooms," said Ms Brennan.
They thanked M&M catering for the suppling the beautiful breakfast for the management and staff. They have also supplied nice baked goods through the pandemic.
The home also acknowledged the patience of our residents' relatives, the strength of our elderly, the support from neighbours on the Borris Road and the goodwill and support from the local community and the church and priests of the parish.
"We wish everyone who has been so generous throughout the year a Happy and Safe Christmas and Best wishes for the new year," concluded Ms Brennan.