Residents of two former Glasgow care homes are settling into a stunning new facility built as part of an £112.5million investment programme.
Victoria Gardens is a new 70 bed care home built on the site of the former Blawarthill Hospital in Knightswood.
Provided by Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership, it is one of five new care homes built across the city to replace old, outdated facilities.
Complete with its own cinema and hair salon, the home is a stylish, contemporary facility which sets the standard for residential care.
More than half the ground floor rooms have direct access to beautiful, level and secure gardens. Light floods into the building through double-glazed, floor-to-ceiling windows and residents’ rooms have underfloor heating, en-suite bathrooms with walk-in showers, fridges, safes, TVs, built-in storage, individual thermostats and landline phones with free local calls.
Entry to rooms is via swipe cards and, as well as a bed, each room also has a leather armchair which can recline fully flat if residents fancy a snooze. And, given the range of activities on offer, that wouldn’t be surprising!
Chair aerobics, bingo, choir, Tai Chi and an intergenerational project with youngsters from a local nursery all keep the residents, aged 70 to 101, busy. There’s internet access in the activity rooms and movies in the on- site cinema (which can also be viewed remotely if residents want to watch the film or enjoy a church service from the comfort of their own rooms.)
Many of the residents have dementia and the décor is designed to stimulate memories and spark conversation. The cinema walls are adorned with images of movie icons such as Humphrey Bogart, Carey Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Trendy watercolour railway posters depicting holiday destinations such as Skye and the Highlands are on display in the hallways and framed images of old Glasgow are everywhere.
Even the crockery has been chosen to make life easier for residents with dementia who can have problems with their sight and perception which makes recognising food on white plates difficult. Lockable memory boxes are sited outside each room where residents can display photos, ornaments and keepsakes to personalise their room’s entrance.
Residents were involved in choosing the home’s tasteful décor including the paint colours and types of furniture, carpets and curtains. The results resemble something from the pages of an interior design magazine. Duck egg blue, pale green, lilac and mauve abound.
Each of the five wings in the home are named after flowers – Rose, Crocus, Lily, Tulip and Azalea. A self-cleaning Jacuzzi bath is available if anyone wants a soak instead of a shower and there’s an overnight room where relatives can stay if their loved one is receiving palliative care or end of life care.
Victoria Gardens replaces outdated facilities at Rannoch House in Kelvindale and Drumry House in Drumchapel.
New resident, Ann O’Neill, aged 82 years, had her hair blow-dried in the on-site salon earlier today and is thrilled with her new “flat”.
It’s raining outside, but she jokes about wanting to play bowls in the gardens, and says: “I think my flat is terrific! I really like the curtains and the hairdresser is great.”
Robert Robertson aged 71, used to work at the Pavilion Theatre and still loves going to see a show with his aunt. The football fan likes his new room and also enjoys a singalong with other residents.
He said: “I love my new room, it’s bigger than the one I had at Rannoch House. I didn’t have an en-suite bathroom there, so I love my new shower room, because I can use it without help. It has helped me become more independent.
“My auntie says this place is so lovely, she wants to move in too! I’m looking forward to the summer when we can get out into the gardens.
“I like it here, because I can relax and watch TV in my room. The staff are great too, they take good care of you.”
Yvonne Scroggie, Operations Manager, said: “The residents and their families love it here. Relatives are delighted that their loved ones have such lovely surroundings. We’ve seen a transformation in some of the residents since they moved here.
“One person used to spend a lot of time in their room, but now they are mixing with the other residents and accessing all the communal areas. The move went really smoothly and the residents have really blossomed – I think it was because they were involved in planning the move and in decisions about the new facility.
“It is a lovely environment for residents and staff and when the better weather comes and we can make use of the gardens and balcony area, it will be great!”