Tunes from films & musicals – 19th January 2021

We are a group of music lovers with eclectic tastes. Fortunately, we are happy to hear each other’s views on music – even if someone admits to not liking The Wizard of Oz!

Zoom is wonderful for those who can’t get out and about – such as people classed as “clinically extremely vulnerable” (like me) and “struck down with covid” (one of our Davids). David is improving a lot – but over-did it a bit today, so went for a lay down after saying hello.

Good news from many of our members who have had the vaccine. Some had minor side effects, but people are feeling much more positive.

Back to business. We asked about favourite film and show tunes:

Among “Others” were songs from Mama Mia, The Rose and GuThe King and I.

Gerry returned with a poetry reading:

People popped in and out as the meeting went on. Gerry had to go and check on his banana bread.

Lynne had made up a quiz from scratch. It certainly had me scratching my head.

For example… which films are these songs from?

  • Shall we dance?
  • Got to pick a pocket or two?

The people’s choice of Pearl’s jokes:

Time for singing and dancing as usual – then…

Gyda’s craft was a “Thank you” rainbow for the NHS.

The group’s choice of in-session snacks are always a puzzle.

Gyda exercised us with more Chi Ball and Giving compliments:

I showed pictures what the brain looks like before and after activity. It highlighted the mental health benefits of going outside (gardening, walking etc). So… the homework for this week is: to take pictures of when you are out and about to show where you are and what you are doing – email to me and we will have some examples next week.

Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives, have a vaccination.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.

Refresh and revitalise – 12th January 2021

Our members have been busy and have plans for the coming year.

The garden is the most popular area for a refresh – not least because gardening is calming and gets us out in the fresh air.

Cleaning and decorating were on several lists of things to do. We shall see how that progresses.

We welcomed Nikki, who is the new person at BLF Mind.

Nikki said she was keen on starting new hobbies, but the equipment often ended up stored under the stairs – this would now change… probably.

It looks like most of us will be excising more!

Gyda’s crafts

Gyda thought we would like a bobble hat. The keen crafters started immediately. Some of the team (me) will have to plan before starting.

David gave us his spin on Reflect & Revitalise.

Gerry said he would have a poem for us next week. This week he is planning to install a new shed.

Quizmaster Lynne had a quiz with a wide variety of questions

For example…

  • Who fell down the hill first – Jack or Jill?
  • What sort of a creature is a Mud Skipper?
  • Who wrote “Animal Farm”?.

Pearl’s best joke:

Pearl got us singing and dancing to “If I had a hammer” and “Right Said Fred”.

As we claimed we wanted to do more exercise – Gyda had us doing Chi Ball again.

David’s paintings

David has been using off-cuts from Gyda’s craft sessions to produce collages – then using them as a basis for paintings. A example is above on the right. We look forward to an art show from David when we eventually return to Shrewsbury House.

Gyda invited us to have more gratitude:

Next time – favourite songs from movies. My vote is for the king of rock and roll singing “The Young Ones” in the film of the same name.

Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives, Refresh & revitalise.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.

Carers Group: 11/01/21

The group were back for the first meeting of the new year.

Coping strategies for feelings of being overwhelmed

Peter spoke about the issue that affects many of us at the moment. A summary of the talk is here and a one page help-sheet here.

Dementia research

Janet talked through the possibly avoidable factors contributing to developing dementia.


A very popular topic. Several members of the group had taken their loved one for their first jab. Local surgeries and the Princess Royal hospital had provided a very safe and efficient service. Picking a quiet time was recommended.


Two members had contracted the virus. One had thought it was just a cold but, at Janet’s prompting, they had gone for a test – and came back positive. The other’s husband had gone into hospital, caught it, come out and given it to her. Both were able to pop along to the group for a short while – another success for Zooming. We wish thenm a speedy recovery.

Missing? Presumed dead?

Two very unfortunate stories.

One person had been in and out of hospital. On trying to trace them in hospital, their wife had to wait 48 hours before she was able to make contact. Other patients in the ward were eventually able to make calls to the carer – the hospital staff less successful.

Another carer was confused when she tried to get her mum’s prescription. Mum had been recently discharged from hospital. The hospital didn’t tell her GP that she had been discharged, they said she was dead! The pharmacist was, understandably, reluctant to issue a prescription for a dead person. The carer said “But I only spoke to her 10 minutes ago – she is at home!”. In the end, it was agreed she was alive [and came to our Friendship Group on the 12th January].

Visiting Care homes

More changes have come about with the latest lockdown. One carer is concerned that her relative is feeling isolated and depressed. Their home is understaffed (due to the virus) and is not providing the stimulation, activities, and other support that is needed. There has been a promise of an assessment visit from the mental health team.

Another carer was told she can visit her mum, by standing on a wooden plinth outside and speaking through a window. The home had arranged a special room for visitors, but this was not going to be used for the foreseeable future. Update: the day after this meeting the carer contacted the home, was assertive in setting out the reasons why the special room should be used – and the care home manager agreed. Success! Update2: the following day the home owner stated the home would not allow visitors to use the special room.

Location, location, location

We were told a Friendship Group regular was now reluctant to eat – in the kitchen. But, she would eat – in a favourite chair. Feeling safe, comfortable and relaxed made all the difference.

90 minute turn-around

Christmas had gone really well for a carer and her mum. In the evening the carer returned to her home, then 90 minutes later she had a call from her mum’s neighbour. Mum had come round asking questions in a confused state. The carer went back and found her mum’s mental state had radically changed. Just a temporary blip. Since then, mum has continued to be rather good at cooking vegetables, but forgets the meat and potatoes.

It was good to see the group members and hear how they were managing, even it these difficult times.

Next meeting the 8th February.

New Year’s resolutions – 5th January 2021

We welcomed everyone back for a New Year and a new start.

It looks like people are beginning the year on a positive note. We also discussed some interesting actions from previous years. These included:

  • Cycling from London to Brighton
  • Raising £1,500 for the Anthony Nolan charity
  • Agreeing to appear in GMTV only wearing black underwear

Gyda had us making a snowman. A craft which was very popular with out crafty group.

Gyda’s crafts

Gyda also suggested we could make a chart/snake to measure our mood on each day of the month.

Our top quizmaster – Lynne – gave us another tricky quiz. Perhaps it could have been a bit tougher – one person got 11/11 right.

Here is a sample of the questions…

  • In January 1877, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of which country?
  • Which company was incorporated in January 1977 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak?
  • In January 1959, this TV series premiered staring Clint Eastwood.

A New Year’s joke from Pearl:

Pearl got us to sing and dance with Cliff Richard and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Everyone was a little worn out after Pearl’s sessions. Gyda managed to calm us down with some thoughts about the New Year.

Gyda speaks to us all:

We were very pleased to hear that several member have vaccination appointments lined-up for the near future.

Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.

Christmas presents & Panto – 15th December 2020

Christmas is getting closer and presents are on our mind.

We dressed-up for the festivities..

The group told us they preferred personal presents, who doesn’t. But beware, tokens may be a good option, but they are not that popular.

I missed Judith introducing her friend, but Janet took a photo.

Here are a few of the presents group members received when they were young (you might spot Judith’s)…

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At last, the moment we had all been waiting for (oh no we hadn’t – oh yes we had!).

The Reflections Christmas Panto

Cinderella part 1

Waltz interlude

Cinderella part 2

Everyone joined-in with the panto, either as characters or the appreciative audience. There were too many stars to mention – thank you to everyone who participated, without any rehearsal. The costumes and make-up were excellent.

Pearl gave us some totally topical jokes:

I think Pearl excelled again herself this week.

Gyda introduced her mystery: Santa’s Treasure Map. There were 20 items to find on the map. You can play along with Gyda’s clues below…

Lynne managed to slip in a quiz – a slightly easier one this week – even I got some questions right!

Gyda’s read a “Partridge in a Pear Tree”:

That’s it for the 2020 group. We are back on 5th January 2021.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.

Carers Group: 14/12/20

Our last Carers Group of 2020. It has been a very difficult year for many reasons. We were pleased that this evening’s group had many positive comments and stories.

Janet’s report from the Greenwich Dementia Action Group (DAG)

The group had a very interesting insight into what the council have been doing to support and protect those in care homes. This information was correct at the time of the meeting, but subject to change afterwards.

  • Homes had allocated “staff wellbeing rooms” to allow staff (who are on 12 hour shifts) to have a space to take a beak from the stress of their work.
  • The council had made a commitment that no-one with a positive covid test would be discharged from hospital into a care home. Those waiting discharge would have a test 24 hours before leaving the hospital. If they were positive, then they would be placed in the Eltham Community Hospital, or remain in hospital, until they were clear.
  • Decisions on having visitors in care homes must be agreed by the local Director of Public Health, after appropriate safeguards have been put in place.
  • Visitors to care homes will need to be tested 24 hours before their visit. On arrival, they will need to change their clothes and wear a mask. They will be allowed to hug their relative, but not kiss them.
  • “Lateral-flow” 30 minus tests will be rolled-out, following a pilot. This test is very staff-time-intensive.
  • Visits will take place in bedrooms or visitor areas.
  • The vaccine is being rolled-out to residents and staff from 3 local hospitals: Kings, Guys and the Princess Royal. At the time of the meeting the vaccine was being distributed in packs of 975, which could not be split and needed to be used within 3 days.
  • Once vaccinated the usual hands/face/space rules still apply.
  • Testing for the virus will be once each week. If there is an outbreak, then an action meeting will be held within 24 hours.
  • Care home inspections have ben suspended for the time being.
  • Staff should not now work across multiple sites or multiple locations within one home.

Visiting care homes (carers’ experiences)

The arrangements are changing regularly, as the government policy twists, u-turns, and is re-interpreted.

One carer told us she had been told the Christmas arrangements at her mum’s care home would involve: A quick virus test (the 20 minute Lateral Flow Test), clean cloths, masks etc, chaperoning by staff = a 15 minute visit.

Another carer said her relative’s home would be ready for visits soon, using a perspex screen to divide the room. She couldn’t get an appointment until 28th December.

Reducing medication

A long standing member of our Friendship Group had benefitted from having her medication reduced, following a cautious plan. Her paranoia had resurfaced, but was forgotten after 30 seconds – an interesting trade-off.

A degree of stress

An unexpected discussion had come about for a carer when his sister became distressed about not getting a first class degree – 30 years ago. Other concerns were around mobile phones, flu jabs, virus jabs, and taking carbon as a supplement, to name a few.

Eating and drinking

A husband forgets to drink, which causes medical issues. A mum has decided she will only eat chops, which has not caused any problems. Carers need to go with the flow.

Covid vaccinations

We have one mum lined up for a vaccination on 11 January at Guy’s hospital and another at the Pru. It looks like the NHS is rapidly contacting people in the top category of those in need. Both of the mums’ carers were in a rather positive mood.

We hope the New Year brings more good news. We are back on 11th January 2021.

Christmas traditions & Getting ready for Christmas – 8th December 2020

Christmas is getting closer and it seemed like the right time to talk about Christmas traditions.

This week Emma returned for a Christmas sing-a-long in the second hour. But first…

The group likes their Christmases shared with family and friends. They are not keen on partying and eating and drinking too much. We managed to squeeze-in lots to talk about – and we all said we are looking forward to joining the Reflections Christmas pantomime next week!

Gyda showed us how to make a Father Christmas in her craft session.

Emma made a welcome return. She got us to limber-up, then it was straight into the singing. Emma, always one to engage the group, asked Janet to sing a few lines of the chorus. Unfortunately, then I was asked for a contribution – Emma described my voice a “as work in progress”. Luckily, Emma took it from there and raced through a wide selection of our Christmas favourites.

David read us his “Christmas Traditions”:

Everyone was getting into the Christmas spirit.

Pearl gave us two of her best jokes:

Time ws rushing along. We just had time for a Reflection piece from Gyda.

Gyda’s “Accepting our best”:

Suddenly it was 3pm and time to return to home.

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First cars – 1st December 2020

This week – our first cars – and there was a lot to choose from. Two had been missing part of their floors (!) and one had the handbrake welded into the wrong place (and therefore unusable!).

Judith shared us some interesting vehicles. Then we moved on to discus his and hers experiences with their first cars…

Gyda’s craft session was all about making a reindeer – and very springy it was too.

Lynne had more difficult quiz questions. I went for a cuppa as, this week, they were beyond me.

David read us a history of his cars:

Members popped in and out as usual as the session progressed. One popped out more than most, as his dishwasher had a leak!

Pearl warmed us up with a joke:

Pearl had us singing and dancing along to a medley of popular tunes.

Gyda’s wrapping paper reflection:

David was pleased to show his completed homework from Gyda’s craft sessions.

We kept chatting until it was time for tea and a break.

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Going out out – 24th November 2020

A group member had suggested this week’s theme and everyone was very keen to tell us about their youthful experiences.

The discussions were in full flow, so Janet prompted some more reminiscence.

We moved onto Gyda’s craft session. Today we joined-in making a Christmas fairy.

Our quiz host, Lynne, had some tricky questions today. The group were up to the challenge!

David told us about Entertainment:

David also showed us some more of his paintings and lino-cuts. Look out for photos in later blogs.

Pearl gave us a bumper joke fest:

Pearl had us singing and dancing as usual, with some top tunes.

Gerry told us about “A children’s party”:

Gyda put us through our paces again with a Chi-ball (or toilet roll) exercise session.

Our volunteers were fully engaged in the fun. Sharon, from The Carers Centre, was particularly thoughtful.

Gyda suggested we take a break:

The session just overran a bit, not much, this week.

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Sayings – 17th November 2020

Janet asked the group members if they had any sayings they remembered from their parents, friends and others. They did indeed. Here are a few of them.

Many of these will be familiar, some odd, but all sparked memories in those who said them.

Gyda continued with her Christmas paper decorations. Today, a Christmas tree.

Our quiz host, Lynne was on top form again with two sessions of brain teasers.

Pearl had a joke about a clock:

Pearl’s sing-a-long went well. When we reach the mid post of the session, we all enjoy an excuse to sing and, for some, to dance.

Gerry had some more sayings:

Gyda put us through our paces with another Chi-ball exercise session. Those who could’t put their hands on a ball were invited to use a toilet roll as a substitute – it worked.

Another of David’s paintings of the group – a work in progress. David has promised to bring in a selection of his paintings, when we all get back together again.

Gyda had a swift magical lesson:

We overran, as we always do. There is just so much to try and fit in.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.