Meet George Greig – 98 years young and still learning. This popular resident of Balhousie Pitlochry care home is so busy he has even the Activities Coordinator at the home catching her breath.
George loves nothing better than a session on an exercise bike. When he’s not taking part in the home’s regular activity sessions he’s motivating others to do so. George’s latest new skill is sign language.
Said Activities Coordinator Pavlina Pajorova: “George is our star, he makes everyone smile and he is so helpful to others. He keeps active and loves the exercise regimes I do for residents.”
An army veteran as a member of the medical corps, George received a medal from the French government for his involvement in D-Day over 75 years ago. A former senior manager and board member with British Steel, George has been at the care home since 2018. He has been married to wife Jean for more than 60 years and moved into Balhousie Pitlochry in 2018.
Pavlina, a part-time yoga and Pilates teacher, decided to teach George to sign after seeing mother-and-baby sign language. George is only a little hard of hearing, but the fact that face masks are now compulsory for care home workers means it’s an extra way for him to ‘talk’ to carers.
Pavlina, who joined the Balhousie Pitlochry team last year, said: “He’s incredibly smart and a quick learner and I always like to do something different with him to keep him occupied. I have to keep him occupied daily. I just turned 30 last week so he is more than three times my age but keeps me on my toes!
She added: “I got this idea as I’ve seen a mother and baby signing ‘I love you’ and I thought it was very sweet and a nice way to send families messages.”
Since care homes locked down to all but essential visitors in March, Balhousie Care staff have been working hard to keep residents active and to find new ways for them to communicate with their loved ones. Balhousie Pitlochry has benefited from extra iPads for residents, as well as donations of laptops from the local community.
Balhousie Pitlochry is reopening this week for garden visits with a loved one, when George is looking forward to showing off his sign language skills in person.