"I was so happy when Aprill came to the home in her dress so I could see properly how beautiful she was, and it was a surprise when she gave me her bouquet."
Deborah Morris, care home resident
A Blaenau Gwentcare home resident who was unable to attend her granddaughter’s wedding in person got dressed up and watched the ceremony through the messaging and video calling service on Facebook messenger.
Staff at Red Rose Care Home arranged for Deborah Morris, 63, to attend the nuptials virtually, after becoming accustomed to using modern technology to help residents keep in touch with their families through the likes of FaceTime, Zoom and WhatsApp.
Because staff are now used to arranging virtual visits and residents attending special family occasions at the touch of a phone or tablet screen, they were able to arrange for Deborah to see her granddaughter, Aprill, marry Kieron Prothero.
Kerrie Davies, manager at Red Rose Care Home, said: “We’d been informed that Deborah’s granddaughter, Aprill, was getting married and we spoke to her daughter, Julie, to ask if we could do a call in to the wedding and it was arranged from there.
“We took Deborah to sit in a quieter room and she was able to watch the ceremony virtually; she was really happy that she was able to attend!”
Deborah said: “It was lovely for me to still be part of Aprill’s special day. I felt as if I was there, even though I wasn’t.
“I loved dressing up and celebrating with a glass of fizz!”
A few days later, Deborah’s granddaughter surprised her with a visit in her wedding dress, carrying a special gift for her grandmother - her bouquet.
“We made special arrangements for her granddaughter to visit, including getting her granddaughter tested for Covid,” said Kerrie.
“They were able to spend some time together after not seeing each other for more than a year. We didn’t tell Deborah she was coming in and it was a lovely surprise!”
Deborah said: “I was so happy when Aprill came to the home in her dress so I could see properly how beautiful she was, and it was a surprise when she gave me her bouquet.”
Kerrie adds the home is now accustomed to using technology during lockdown, to enable residents to keep in touch with their families, particularly on special occasions.
Kerrie says: “Predominantly, we use WhatsApp and sometimes FaceTime through Facebook.
“We do also have access to Zoom and Teams, but we mainly use WhatsApp for residents to call in to their families.
“Covid has made us look at ways we can keep in touch with people, and I don’t know that we would have come up with that idea as quickly, if it hadn’t been for the leaps and bounds we’ve made with technology due to Covid.”