RESIDENTS in a Bradford carehome have shared how they are coping in surreal times as the country enters its sixth week under lockdown.

Dementia careworker Shannon Palmer took the T&A on a virtual tour round Springfield Care Home in Buttershaw, which has been closed to visitors in a bid to protect the vulnerable from Covid-19.

And while these are difficult times, there's still plenty to smile about.

Shannon says it's "time to stick together as a community and spread the joy" and, following a successful newspaper appeal, residents have received hundreds of letters from strangers, family members and friends.

93-year-old Jean Muff, who lived in Wibsey, says she is "keeping positive" with all the letters and pictures from the children who write to her.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Retired BRI nurse and resident bookworm Carol Hebb, 73, said she likes to keep busy with books and letters, served up with a hot cup of tea.

She thanks everyone who has taken the time to send a letter - many from the district's youngsters who send her drawings of rainbows.

The 73-year-old looks forward to waking up to more letters every single day with her careworker, Shannon, saying Carol "thrives" off reading their messages.

Carol, who trained to be a full time staff nurse in Bradford, said she can't imagine how scared her nursing counterparts must be feeling.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

She told the Telegraph & Argus: "Everyone is so proud of all the key workers right now. If only I could put my uniform and my stripes back on and go out and help.

"I see it everyday on the news and it's so scary but we are so, so proud watching.

"We all do the 'clap for our carers' on a Thursday night from the windows not only for the NHS but our carers who are working so hard.

"I am so proud of all the nurses working on the frontline as I once did. I am so proud to have worked for the NHS. I'm so proud to have been a nurse."

Hobbies and community spirit in the home seem to be getting everyone through the pandemic when many miss hugs from relatives.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

77-year-old Fred Gregson, who lived in Wibsey with his wife and worked as a BT engineer, is now the home's resident artist.

He has been painting using an iPad app as well as listening to the radio.

Another resident, Ethel Brooke, has been keeping busy with some dancing.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The home has also taught residents how to use video chats to call family members as well as organising 'corridor quiz and bingo'.

Husband and wife Dennis and Pat Gilderdale have enjoyed social distancing chats in the garden.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

This is also where you'll spot Bill, who has turned to gardening to keep busy.

The home has also been gifted with magazines from Lidl, signed books from author Paige Toon (much to Carol's delight) and fresh pizza from Fender's takeaway.

Victoria Hemsworth, manager at Springfield Care Home, said: "We have had to think outside the box, with everyone's support we continue to come up with new ideas and initiatives to help residents keep in touch with their families, and ensure boredom in social isolation is kept at bay.

"We are using technology more than ever, iPad, tablets and mobiles for Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, proving age is but a number when it comes to learning new skills, even Facebook have donated a Portal to us.

"We are having individual room karaoke

"Janet and the ladies are having their pamper sessions. Bill has been watering the bedding plants, kindly donated from Tongue and Nord Green Garden centres.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

"We have introduced room service, personalised snack baskets, a drinks trolley on all floors with fruit cocktails, milkshakes, etc and now every afternoon a treat trolley with a daily menu. There is our mobile ice cream van, takeaway nights.

"We are trying to keep everyday a little bit different but interesting and something to look forward to all the while with the agenda to encourage residents to eat and drink, which we know can be more challenging when residents are not in a social setting."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Whether you're a child or love to write, the home's Shannon Palmer wants to hear from you.

All post should be sent direct to Shannon Palmer, Springfield Care Home,Western Way, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD6 2UB.

Shannon added: "Please think to send something to the elderly who are isolated at home. A quick letter would make their day."

"It's going to bring a bit of joy and happiness to our residents faces."