As the leaves fall from the trees and we head into the colder weather, we brace ourselves for the unwelcome return of nasty colds and viruses such as flu. Unfortunately flu can be more severe in people aged 65 and over, especially if they have pre-existing conditions. The flu vaccination is therefore available every year on the NHS to help protect those at risk from complications such as pneumonia.

Here at Octagon we had several residents who needed the jab, so rather than try to arrange individual appointments at the GP for them all, we asked the district nurses to visit and perform a mass inoculation in the convenience of our home. The nurses were happy to oblige and after administering the injections, they enjoyed a cup of tea and chat in the lounge.

Other winter preparations have been more festive, as we visited the Thurrock Garden Centre to admire their Christmas displays. The community transport arrived after lunch and ferried eight of us to Thurrock, where the residents spent an hour and half browsing the various departments. Many of them started their Christmas shopping in earnest, returning home with several gifts for friends and family.