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Introducing the lovely Norma

We offer so many types of support at CrossReach that sometimes, it makes it quite hard to put into perspective all the individuals we help and support every single day. That is why this Spring we wanted to take the time to tell you a little more about some of those people; to show you just how much your support helps and the amazing differences we can make together

Norma smiling at the camera

Today we would like to introduce you to Norma and her story.

Norma lives with dementia. Currently, there are over 100,000 people living with dementia in Scotland and this figure increases by approximately 20,000 every year. An incredible 66% of residents in care homes are living with dementia, and they all require some sort of specialist care.

Norma is now living in a CrossReach care home at Whinnieknowe. Up until 2016 Norma was living in Helmsdale in Sutherland before moving to Inverness to live with her daughter, Kirsteen.

Stimulus and routine is essential to treat and engage people living with dementia and as much as her family wanted to be able to fulfil these needs themselves, as time went by they reached the point where they needed outside help to give Norma the support and care she deserved.

“The staff go out of their way to not only make every day special but also keep the family involved and updated. They are so humble about it though, you hear about the amazing events they hold and activities run for residents on the grapevine, not through them talking about it. On Mothers day, the staff arranged a pampering session, setting up the room like a salon so they could have their nails done, hair cut and even get a massage.”

 “We have so much peace of mind knowing how happy she is there.”

Sandy, Norma's son


As I am sure you can imagine having a long period over lockdown where no family were allowed to visit any of the residents was extremely difficult.

But the staff made sure that the families were kept up to date with how their loved ones were coping. The staff made sure that they had a full calendar of events that suit all their residents, so that everyone has something they can take part in, they then share photos and stories about these activities with the families.

Special occasions are celebrated and families are involved. Including a Burns’ Day lunch when the staff asked Norma’s son, Sandy, to pipe outside the dining room window!

Knowing that Norma was somewhere where she would feel safe, loved and watched over was of the utmost importance to them. This is such a difficult and upsetting situation for any family to be in. When they get to the stage of finding a care home for a loved one. However It is unfortunately something that so many of us have or will have to deal with

“We saw Whinnieknowe on the CrossReach website and went to visit one Sunday afternoon. The staff were so warm and friendly, reassuring us throughout the whole visit. They even showed us a room with a great view of the river which ended up being her room! She wasn’t happy about going at first, care homes tend to get bad press, but she settled in straight away and now loves it”

Sandy, Norma’s son

The staff knew that Norma had spent many happy years in the Strath of Kildonan, looking out over the River Helmsdale. Managing to place her in a room with a similar view went a long way towards reassuring the family that the staff had her best interests at heart, and wanted to make the transition as easy as possible for Norma. Knowing that they were already caring for her before she even got to Whinnieknowe was a huge relief. 

Norma on her 90th birthday

In July of 2020 Norma celebrated a milestone, her 90th birthday! The staff made sure that the day was one to remember making Norma feel loved and special.

Sandy said “We didn’t think we could be able to see Mum, except for a Skype call, given the Covid-19 restrictions.”

The staff didn’t let that get in their way and found creative and safe ways to mark the occasion. Norma was treated to some in-house pampering including a manicure and hairdressing session. She then had her favourite lunch of scampi and chips, and sat outside with her family to open her presents.

“She was so happy and quite overwhelmed by all of the VIP treatment!”

The staff at Whinnieknowe, and all care homes, have had a huge amount of extra work to do during lockdown and we are so proud of the extra efforts and dedication they have been showing as a result. Sandy went on to tell up how one staff member even pitched a tent outside the care home to make to minimise the risk of contracting covid and ensure the safety of the residents.

This dedication and devotion to those they care about is inspiring. We are blessed to have such incredible staff working throughout our services. And we are blessed to have such amazing supporters as you.

That is why we are reaching out to you, to ask you for a little extra help to get us through the ‘new normal’ that we find ourselves in, can you help make the new normal a safe normal, a fun normal for our care home residents. Are you able to make another donation to support our services?

A gift of £10 could help purchase art and craft supplies for our Heart for Art classes for people living with dementia, a class where they can draw on fond memories of the past, their childhood, their life and create something special and unique. Through art their memory can live forever.

God Bless and thank you!


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