As one approaches the autumn years it is a comfort to know a place such as Sunnyvale is on hand to look after our elderly relatives and loved ones in a manner that complies to Government guidelines.
Sunnyvale is a residential care home with 30 rooms. Two people share each room, so at any one time we can have 60 residents looked after by our four members of staff (two at weekends and on 2-for-1 Orange Wednesdays).
The chef is part time, but we are always stocked up with rhubarb and powered egg. You’ll be surprised how many of our residents want it to still be like the War, and who are we to deny them?
To get it over and done with, lunch is at 10.30am. A typical menu would consist of Heinz Big Soup, malted loaf (not buttered – got to watch the salt intake!), half a chocolate bourbon, fig.
After lunch we encourage the residents to get moving with a variety of activities including washing, drying and putting away. Any particularly fit and healthy residents will be permitted to do an errand or two for our staff, and these “fag runs” prove especially popular in the summer months.
Old people get up really early, clutching onto the days they have left with us, and so lights in their rooms snap on at 5.45am. Breakfast is a self service buffet, where they can help themselves to an array of cornflakes. (Milk provided on written request).
Tea and coffee is available but only under special circumstances. Cold tap water in large metal jugs is freely available but often too heavy to pour out.
Orange juice is in cartons in a cupboard and if the staff arrive in time for breakfast, it can be unlocked and made available. Straws however are not provided, as these are considered a health hazard. We once had someone cut 40 straws into tiny tubes and mix it in with a pasta sauce. Those who were able spat out the bits; others thought it was egg shells, and some unfortunately died. Suffice to say, lessons were learned and we now have a single brass communal tube which is shared by all. It is always clean as it resides in a washing up bowl of soapy water on the side.
After Zimmercize and a whist drive, residents are tucked in for their early evening ‘Countdown cocoa’ before lights out at 3pm and bed at 3.15.
This leaves staff free to get on with the preparations for the following day, such as mixing up the jigsaws, tuning the hearing aids and sterilising the false teeth.
We operate four trips a year. These are an additional expense to Sunnyvale and so a contribution of £49 per person per trip must be paid in advance.
A great place to keep up to date with the very latest Scandinavian flat pack budget furniture. Many of our residents enjoy trying out the beds, though we have to be on the lookout for those who also want to try out the toilets!
After an hour learning by heart the Swedish name of every item of furniture, residents are free to roam and we will bring the coach round for our return at 10pm prompt.
Less able-bodied/minded residents can be left in the crèche on the way in, provided they are ‘padded up’.
Meatballs for supper then off home with a free pencil and tape measure.
Pack your trunks and pull up a deckchair as we take a trip to the seaside!
Not really, but our friends at Wrexham Sewage allow us to park up and sit our residents at the edge of their plant, where the sound of lapping water and our taped recording of seagulls screeching create Blackpool for the afternoon.
Residents are reminded via a Chinese Whispers game not to dip their toes into the water or attempt to swim in it. This plant takes longer to get to than Blackpool, but the parking works out cheaper and the air smells nicer too!
We find that all of our Sunnyvalers feel completely at home in these weather-beaten decrepit old ruins, and well they might. They were here before any of us were born and they’ll still be here long after we’re gone (not long in most cases).
We’re up at 02.45 for this 5 hour drive (we have to go via Lincoln to avoid the £1 toll booth), arriving for a full 30 minutes of fun before beginning the return journey.
Highlights include brass rubbing, views, gift shop tour and wildlife sounds. Please be advised that there is nowhere to sit indoors so most residents will end up with wet bottoms, but after the long journey most of them have that anyway!
Of course you’ll want to have a look round for yourselves and study our brochure in detail before committing your loved one to us, but to help you we have some testimonials from residents past, present, and anywhere in between!
“My daughter lives in Sydney, but she’s coming to see me soon!” - Claudia Wren 81
“I saw a pig!” - Kath Statham, 90-something
“Wipe my bum” - Eric Fisher, 68
“Life here is good. I feel safe, and dry” - Pat Waddingham, 75
“I like coming here” - Jean Price, 84
“I feel whatsit... nice and thingy. Yes, Sunnyvale” - Jim Proctor, 77