By Lucy Notarantonio and Joe McFarlane


A group of elderly residents in a care home have tackled isolation boredom by playing a giant game of hungry hippo using washing baskets.

Laura McAllister, 36, who is the activities co-ordinator at Fir Villa residential home in Yeovil, Somerset, has shared videos of the elderly residents enjoying the great outdoors whilst playing a game they had ‘never heard’ of before.

She has shared a video of four elderly residents being pushed in wheelchairs with a washing basket as a net to sweep up the balls.

Resident Pat Devonshire, 86, enjoys the game so much that she asks to play every day.

Laura said: “None of the residents knew what Hungry Hippos or KerPlunk was before we started playing but they certainly enjoy it now.

“It is so nice to see them smile, laugh and cheer each other on – it really picks up their moods.

“Pat absolutely loved hungry hippos but we can only play that when it is nice outside but she also enjoys a game of KerPlunk.

“You can see the concentration on their faces when they are thinking what stick to pull out next which is great to know they are mentally stimulated.

“They really enjoyed playing the games and their happiness continues for the day – some of the residents have dementia so they may not remember why they are feeling happy and excited but they are still smiling which is good to see.

“It also makes our job easier when everyone is enjoying the day.

“I try and keep them as active as possible by not only playing games but doing daily uplifting exercises which is usually to old fun songs such as the YMCA.”

It is important for the residents to ‘have fun’ whilst in isolation as they are unable to see family.

The staff have ensured they are socially stimulated during this uncertain time.

Rebecca Elford, Quality and Compliance Director, said: “We are so proud of our home and we have a wonderful team who are dedicated to the residents.

“All our activities are in place to provided social stimulation which is as important as the hands on care support

“It is important that residents feel included and have a purpose in their lives and by carrying out all these sorts of activities, aids us in reducing social isolation, gives purpose, and therefore improves the residents overall well being.

“The residents enjoy the activities we provide, it raises spirits, it raises communication and therefore a sense of belonging. It provides some fun for the Residents and an escape from what is going on outside our walls.

“We are lucky so far not to have the virus in the home, however are fully aware of other homes who do have the virus, and our hearts break for them and how this must be impacting them.”