Reconnecting in Pitairlie!
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Pitairlie Service in Dundee. Some of the residents have been living here for a decade and say themselves that the other residents feel like family. During lockdown friends and family could not visit and the residents were not able to spend time together in the communal areas. Whilst there were socially distanced birthday parties and barbeques to lift spirits, the individuals were clearly feeling the effects of isolation.
When the lockdown regulations were relaxed, staff were asked to think about different support and activities which could engage all of the residents, and make them feel at home again. Like anyone, the restrictions had an impact on the residents and the staff wanted to encourage them to be social whilst keeping safe.
With the success from their garden project, the team had discussed holding a ‘Pitairlie Lunch’ using the vegetables which were ready for picking. A poster was put on the noticeboard about Sunday lunches to see if anyone was interested. One problem was that the Pitairlie Service did not have a communal kitchen but when the residents read about the meal they offered up their own kitchens, excited and wanting to help out!
Two menus were created, making sure everyone had a choice as well as keeping it simple to cook in a small kitchen. Everyone took part in the preparation of the food from picking, washing and preparing the vegetables to keeping a much needed eye on the cooking.
Sitting down to a home cooked meal, the conversation flowed between residents as they reconnected with each other in a relaxed setting. The meals were designed to be healthy and home cooked. All of the meals were made from scratch which meant that everyone could learn as they were cooking so that they can recreate their favourite meal another time.
The ‘Pitairlie Sunday Lunches’ have gone down a storm and were a great way to get everyone involved. From growing, picking and preparing the vegetables to cooking lessons, everyone has gained new skills and knowledge.
Before the residents had even finished their plates, they were making suggestions and asking for the next Sunday Lunch. These have now become a staple in Pitairlie. This special lunch now takes place once a month and always include fresh vegetables from the garden.
Everyone is already talking about what they could bake and cook for an extra special get together at Christmas.
The residents have enjoyed being so involved in the whole process and for staff, it has been rewarding to see how excited everyone has been about their new and innovative ideas of how to deliver support during such a different and difficult time.