A piece of Holland at Highfield

Category: Caring

Trish Dovestone, the Care Home Manager at Bupa Highfield, shares how one of her caregivers went the extra mile for a resident from Holland named Alf.

flower bulbs being planted

Bupa Highfield Care Home in Timaru South Canterbury is located in a quiet, sunny spot surrounded by beautiful gardens. At Highfield, Trish has made it a focus for her team to be more culturally aware. ‘We celebrate St Nicholas Day for Alf, she say., ‘That happens just before Christmas, so when Rachel (one of the senior caregivers at Highfield) mentioned Alf’s gardening and interest in tulips, I was supportive.’

Bupa Highfield has regular outings for the residents where they visit scenic countryside and the botanical gardens in the local area. Rachael Skudder took note when one the residents started talking with enthusiasm about seeing tulips whilst growing up in Holland.

Although Alf had a mobility scooter, he wasn’t confident to go out alone, so Rachael decided to take Alf along with her to one of her trips to the local garden centre and the pair came back with tulip bulbs. Alf was so happy he even persuaded Rachael to have an ice-cream on the way home.

Alf grew up in Holland where the countryside is a sea of colour when tulips are in season. He told Rachael that he’d like to ‘Bring Holland to Highfield.’ That sparked the visit to the garden centre and Alf embarked on a project that would bring joy to the care home staff, residents and family members.

Alf’s family got involved in the ‘bringing Holland to Highfield’ project. Alf’s daughter bought potting mix and his son made a stand for the tubs. Alf encouraged the other residents to get involved. Many were happy to just be outside and watch Alf do the gardening and planting.

The tulips, strawberries and other vegetables arrived in spring to a very proud Alf and group of residents. Alf’s ‘little piece of Holland’ had residents taking scenic ‘tourist’ shots with their families and staff.

Most days Alf gets into the garden to tend to his flowers, strawberries and vegetables. Alf will pick the flowers to give away. The intention is to get the strawberries to the kitchen, however several are eaten there and then, bringing enjoyment from the little harvest.


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