For Balhousie Brookfield care home in Carnoustie, there was a happy upside to the Coronavirus lockdown: blossoming new friendships among residents.

Now the care home, part of the award-winning Balhousie Care Group, is encouraging the friendships to continue – and promoting independence too – through some good old-fashioned gatherings over coffee and tea.

Home Manager Laurie Easom has introduced weekly coffee mornings and afternoon tea dances, both with coffee and tea dispensers which encourage independence and conversation. Residents can serve themselves (although staff are on hand to assist) and the wipeable checked PVC tablecloths set on the tables have the added benefit of lowering infection risks.

Laurie says: “We deliberately invested in red checked wipeable tablecloths, and they are great as they distinguish the new coffee mornings and afternoon tea dances from our other mealtimes. We purchased the flasks to enable residents to push the button and pour tea or coffee for themselves and friends. We’ve found this increases natural conversation. It’s important for our residents not only to have as much independence as possible, but also to feel at home and to feel independent.

“It’s been beautiful to see the friendships that have blossomed because of lockdown. With no visits for so long from relatives and friends, our residents turned to each other and staff members and bonds were formed. Long may that continue.”