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Dartford care home's four-legged friend provides happiness and connection
Dartford care home's four-legged friend provides happiness and connection
A DARTFORD care home's therapy dog is providing happiness and connection for residents amidst a third UK lockdown - gifting positive mental wellbeing in the height of the winter crisis. 
With next Monday (January 18) being 'Blue Monday', dubbed the most challenging day of the year from a mental wellbeing point, and exacerbated this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sonya Lodge Residential Care Centre has been bridging the gap of lost physical connections with loved ones through Roxi, its Pet As Therapy dog. 
The long-haired Jack Russell has been providing the home's residents with enriching mental stimulation through petting and reminiscing, as well as offering companionship during the ongoing restriction on visitors. 
A rescue dog who is now in the loving care of Sonya Lodge's business support officer Amanda Jones, Roxi can often be found roaming the home in search of cuddles and affection from the residents, who happily oblige. 
Resident Margaret 'Maggie' Newham is pictured with Roxi.

Need for vigilance as care home death rate rises
Need for vigilance as care home death rate rises
COVID-19 is still claiming lives in care and nursing homes and we must be even more vigilant, care providers have warned. 
The Independent Care Group is warning that the vaccine now being given to vulnerable people in care settings is not an overnight solution to the pandemic. 
Its warning came after latest figures showed that 560 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes in the week up to January 1, slightly up from 530 the previous week.  
Some 20,661 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes between December 28, 2019 and January 1. 
ICG chair Mike Padgham said: 'Today's figures show that Covid-19 hasn't gone away, and, despite the arrival of the vaccine, we cannot become complacent and let our guard drop. 
'The message has to be that care providers keep up the pressure on Covid-19 - avoid social contact, use PPE, maintain good hygiene and observe social distancing. 
'We haven't got this thing beat yet. It's an aggressive and easily-spread strain and we must fight with everything we have to keep our residents, our staff and our communities safe.' 
The ICG has praised the Government for stepping up its vaccination programme. 
'After a slow start we are seeing an acceleration in vaccines and credit to the Government for that,' Mike added. 'We have to keep up that pressure until every single vulnerable person has had their first vaccination.'

Fantasy cruising with Athena Healthcare Group
Fantasy cruising with Athena Healthcare Group
ATHENA Healthcare Group's latest initiative will help residents take a brief break from the icy British weather and the unprecedented times we are currently living in by taking them on a journey of culture, sun and imagination. 
Across its Lodges, residents will be boarding the 'Athena Liners' that will take them to a range of beautiful locations across the globe, from Cuba to Jamaica and Spain to Italy, to name but a few. 
As the 'liners' set sail, residents will enjoy a range of relaxing and engaging activities such as dining at the 'Captain's table', pamper sessions in their in-home salon, quizzes and games with fellow passengers and a spot of shopping in 'duty-free'.  
After the boat docks, residents will have the opportunity to try the local cuisine and learn more about the country's history and culture whilst also enjoying afternoons of music, song and dance. 
It is with the hope that transforming the Lodges into luxurious fantasy cruises will bring joy to all residents, sparking their imaginations and inspiring reminiscence of past holidays and trips abroad to share amongst friends.  
The activities scheduled during the cruise experience will provide a taster of what life is like aboard a ship while also encouraging residents to learn more about different countries and cultures.

Manager and 104-year-old resident first to be vaccinated at Hertfordshire care home
Manager and 104-year-old resident first to be vaccinated at Hertfordshire care home
THE home manager and the oldest resident at a Hertfordshire care home were the first to be vaccinated as part of the new roll-out programme - to the delight of everyone at the home. 
Usha Gandecha, home manager at Foxholes, a family-run residential home near the market town of Hitchin, was the first to receive the Pfizer vaccination alongside Joyce Birrell, the home's oldest resident at 104 - who was in good spirits throughout. 
Usha said: 'We're delighted about the roll-out of the vaccine at Foxholes. It feels like we finally have light at the end of the tunnel and can start being optimistic about the future again.  
'I put myself forward to be vaccinated first as a show of solidarity and unity with staff and residents alike, hoping to ease a few of the nerves some may have had and providing reassurance that, if I'm willing to have it, then it can't be too bad.'

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