Category: News


18 Sep 19

Buchan House residents show off their flower arranging skills

After the great success of Buchan House Care Home’s one-to-one flower arranging sessions, hosted by Lifestyle Coordinator, Debbie, it was decided that it would be good fun to get the whole home involved with one big group flower arranging activity. Lots of the people living at Buchan House were keen gardeners, and have a love of all things botanical, so the opportunity of having some creative, flower arranging time was popular.

For this activity, brightly-coloured roses, carnations and gerberas were trimmed, collated and placed in tall glass vases, over cups of tea and chat. Debbie said, “Everyone really enjoyed working as a team to create something beautiful to keep in their units and to be enjoyed by those who live, work and visit them.”

At Buchan House, activities are personalised to residents’ interests and encourage group interaction, helping to improve communication skills and strengthen the relationships between individuals. This activity was particularly enjoyable, as multiple senses; sight, smell and touch were all stimulated during the session. Research has proven that there are many benefits of flower arranging for people. As well as enabling residents to be creative and use their imagination, it also encourages use of the fingers and hands and is a great stress reliever, promoting a calm atmosphere.

The finished arrangements were beautiful and the joy of the session was continued, as residents positioned them around the care home for everyone to admire. It’ll certainly be a regular group activity as it has been so well received.

13 Sep 19

Fred’s Story: A Life Fulfilled

Fred was born in 1982 and grew up with his family in Whittlesey, Cambridge, where he attended Whittlesey Senior Boys School. He was a keen sportsman and enjoyed playing in many of the school teams.

Fred got his first job as an errand boy, delivering groceries to different stores around the area. It was during this time that Fred met his wife-to-be, Betty, at a Perkins weekly dance. They both enjoyed dancing a lot, so when they met and spent some time with each, they realised there was a connection and never looked back. Fred was so happy and felt lucky to have met her as she was originally from Leeds, but moved to Whittlesey with work to help the farmers milk the cows and maintain the land.

After some years together, the couple happily married at Low Church in Whittlesey. Fred wore a grey, pinstriped suit whilst Betty wore a beautiful, long white dress and he still recalls how pretty she looked to this day.

Fred and Betty went on to have two children together named Stuart and Chris. After both were born, Fred spent his days working for Kings Dyke Brick Yard whilst Betty would stay at home and look after the kids.

His job at this time involved removing bricks from the press, but after changing positions and the company being taken over, Fred left to join the British Armed Forces. He was stationed in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Division in Suffolk and remembers the ‘extreme amount of marching’ he had to do. During his time in service, Fred went to serve in Belgium and had to sleep in a tent for weeks on end as they made their way from Belgium to Germany. He remembers having to fight the whole way and got into some close encounters with enemy bombs.

Outside of the Army, Fred had a passion for pigeon racing. He once owned 40 Belgium Pigeons, as they were the fastest, and received a large trophy after winning competitions at the Peterborough and Woodston flying club for three years in a row. The trophy still makes him proud and has pride of place in his room at Aliwal Manor.

Now 92 and proud, Fred spends his days reading cowboy books and enjoys watching TV, especially ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. His passion for dance has stayed with him throughout his life and still influences his hobbies and interests at Aliwal Manor. Another of Fred’s favourite activities is heading to the local fish and chip shop with a team member, to pick up some fresh cod for dinner.

12 Sep 19

Residents of Lime Court get crafty for national day

Lime Court Care Home have been busy working on an arts project throughout August and September with arts and crafts organisation, Creative Mojo.

A group of people that live at Lime Court are rolling up their sleeves, taking out their paintbrushes and creating some colourful pieces of art. The hard work is all for the lead up to National Arts in Care Homes Day, which falls on 24th September each year. The day is organised by the National Activity Provider Association (NAPA) and Creative Mojo are working with many care providers to make the day a success. It’s a collaborative project with residents of care homes right across the country.

This year’s theme is Gardens Around The World, and over the weeks has been broken down into four different gardens across the globe. Most recently the people at Lime Court painted plants, flowers and vases with a Moroccan vibe. The home’s Lifestyle Coordinator, Sarah Meachen, said, ‘We really love our sessions with Creative Mojo. As everyone can join in, however big or small their contribution, they are always part of the finished piece.”

“It’s very much a casual social occasion, where we can gather together to have a chat, and it’s such a therapeutic feeling for people using paint strokes to create something beautiful.”

Alongside Lime Court, three other Excelcare Homes are busy in the background creating their own masterpieces ready for showcasing on the national day. Watch this space for more news on the event! In the meantime, you can read more about the Arts in Care Homes here.

12 Sep 19

Keen gardeners at Aliwal Manor propagate African violets

Many people living at Aliwal Manor Care Home are keen gardeners; they love caring for plants and watching things grow. A small group took the opportunity to work on a green-fingered project, in propagating some beautiful African violet plants. They have taken cuttings from some of the leaves, planted in damp soil and covered to create a mini greenhouse. Over the next few weeks they will be watering the cuttings and in the next 2-3 months will hopefully see the beginnings of a new plant beginning to grow.

Pat, who lives at Aliwal Manor, used to work at a plant nursery called Delamore, in Wisbech, and told us that they used to pay her and the other workers on a piece-rate pay, which made them work very fast. Pat said, “It was a huge place and the water sprinklers would come on automatically, so you’d have to move out of the way very quickly if you didn’t want to get wet!”

The team at Aliwal Manor encourage everyone to continue their hobbies and support them doing what they love and this has been a popular task all round. Everyone is looking forward to seeing how the cuttings progress and eventually sharing the plants with others as gifts. If you want to follow their lead, have a go yourself by following this helpful ‘how to propagate African violets’ article.

11 Sep 19

Ce Ce the dog meets residents of Park Avenue

Carly, who has been leading the recent renovations work, as Interior Designer at Park Avenue Care Home, brought her adorable pet dog, Ce Ce, into work with her to meet the people who live there.

Many studies have shown that stroking a pet provides excellent health benefits, such as a lowering of blood pressure and heart rate, along with a reduction in stress hormones, and Ce Ce was no exception; bringing a lot of joy on her first day at Park Avenue.  Carly said,”She’s clearly a massive hit with the residents and the team. She’s been given lots of love from everyone!”

“Pets hold a special place in many people’s hearts and lives, and there is compelling evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that interacting with pets can be beneficial to the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of humans,” says Lori Palley, DVM, of the MGH Center for Comparative Medicine.

“Several previous studies have found that levels of neurohormones like oxytocin – which is involved in pair-bonding and maternal attachment – rise after interaction with pets, and new brain imaging technologies are helping us begin to understand the neurobiological basis of the relationship.”

Proving that pets can play a valuable role in care homes, either in the form of a visiting therapy or as permanent residents. Ce Ce will definitely be welcome back to Park Avenue Care Home anytime!

10 Sep 19

Buchan House get crafty with Creative Mojo

Every month, Jenny from craft experience organisation, Creative Mojo, visits Buchan House Care Home for an all inclusive, hands-on, artistic session for anyone that wants to join in. Everyone is encouraged to have a go, as it’s fun, therapeutic, is a great way to socialise, and there’s a sense of achievement when something wonderful is produced at the end. Creative Mojo say, “With our workshops, there are no limitations, everyone can be creative. Our focus is on helping individuals’ ideas come to life.”

This time, to see off the end of summer, the group painted beautiful birds, flowers, beach huts and starfish to create a brightly-coloured beach scene. The pieces of art created are put up on display for all to see and enjoy afterwards.

Kathryn Adams, Administrator at Buchan House says, “We enjoy Jenny’s visits; it’s a great way for people to practice fine motor skills and gives them a chance to step out of their day-to-day lives. Everyone enjoys the chance to get messy and it’s lovely to see the outcome of their hard work.”

There are numerous published studies which have found that the cathartic and interactive nature of art therapy offers many benefits, both physical and psychological, including: promoting self-awareness, facilitating intellectual stimulation, improving cognitive skills and coordination and reducing anxiety and stress.

10 Sep 19

Primrose Croft’s story behind the song tree

Rita and Barbara, residents of Primrose Croft Care Home, helped create a Story behind the Song tree to display in their reception.

Excelcare’s Lifestyle and Innovation Team, launched a ‘Stories behind the Songs’ movement for the whole group on 1st August, with a view to finding out about team members, residents and their families’ favourite or special songs that hold a meaning for them. Primrose Croft found that people had so many interesting and personal stories relating to songs and their lyrics, that they created a ‘tree’ to display publicly to remember them and play them during social occasions.

Ursula, who lives at Primrose Croft, explained to Home Manager, Ruby, that her favourite song is Here I am Lord, and she could remember the title but not the words to the song. The team searched for the song online, and played it for her. Ursula was thrilled to hear the hymn again and said it makes her feel closer to God. She was presented with a copy of the words to the song, so she’ll always remember them and she responded to say they had made her day!

In 2018, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia and the Deputy Chief Allied Health Professions Officer looked at how music can trigger golden memories and benefit people with dementia.  They found that music and memory have a powerful connector. Music lights up emotional memories, we can recall the music that was playing during childhood; the song at a wedding, or other happy occasion. Music can have many benefits in particular for those living with dementia. It can help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, enhances quality of life and also has a positive impact on carers.

6 Sep 19

Sensory experience at Buchan House transports residents to the beach

The team at Buchan House regularly host interactive sessions that help the residents to reminisce and relive fond memories from the past. The team from Unilever UK recently gifted the care home with a Scentscapes set by Active Minds, which is aimed to stimulate senses and bring help to bring back memories for people living with Dementia.

Debbie is a Lifestyle Coordinator at the care home and enjoys doing group reminiscence sessions using these wonderful sets, which include: 3 scents, 3 ‘smelling jars’ and a 20 minutes CD with sounds of the chosen theme; all linking to create a portable sensory experience. This particular set was all about the seaside and included vanilla ice cream and sun cream scented smelling jars. This was a fitting theme for the residents at Buchan House as they all love the seaside views, sights and sounds.

Hosting reminiscence activities with this kit was very effective at bringing back memories but also allowed residents to feel like they were at the seaside which made for a very calming afternoon.

A spokesperson from Active Minds said: “Active Minds noticed that later into somebody’s journey with dementia, certain activities which may have been both important to a routine and comforting become less accessible.

Scentscapes® products were designed to offer somebody both sound and scents of various popular experiences. Our research showed these to be powerful tools to help transport people to a time or place, stimulating memories and conversation and helping to access memories that would otherwise have been difficult to reach.”

The session was popular amongst all and immediately had people engaged, improving their communication and social skills. It was also lots of fun and everyone looks forward to trying out the other Scentscapes sets.

4 Sep 19

Buchan House celebrates Christiane’s 97th Birthday

Christiane is a resident at Buchan House Care Home in Cambridge and this week, celebrated her 97th birthday.

The team and other people living at the care home all gathered in the morning to wish her a happy birthday. Christiane likes spending time in her room, so the team had decorated it with birthday-themed banners and balloons to make her feel special.

Buchan House operates an open-door policy, meaning family and friends are free to visit any time of the day. This meant Christiane could spend the day surrounded by her nearest and dearest without limitations. They all had a great time meeting each other and sharing stories about the special memories they share with Christiane. There was lots of reminiscing and laughter throughout and everyone had a great time in each other’s company.

To make the day even more special, the kitchen team made Christiane’s favourite cake and decorated it with icing and buttercream. Christiane had a big smile on her face as people entered her room with the cake singing traditional birthday songs. As she blew out the candles and made a wish, she had a big smile on her face and thanked the team for a delightful cake.

Everyone had a great day celebrating with Christiane and we look forward to celebrating her 98th birthday next year!

22 Aug 19

Kirsty enters Scottish Half Marathon to raise money for Sherrell House

Kirsty is a Care Assistant at Sherrell House Care Home and recently entered the Scottish Half Marathon. She is a keen and talented runner who usually takes part for fun, but this race will help to raise money for the residents’ comfort fund.

Kirsty is a very dedicated member of the team and has some great friends who live at the care home. Kath (pictured) is one of these residents and feels special knowing the tough training she is going through to provide new equipment and exciting days out for the people living at Sherrell House.

Kirsty will be taking part in the half marathon on the 22nd September, so please join us in wishing her the best of luck via the Sherrell House Facebook page.

If you would like to sponsor Kirsty and support the residents of Sherrell House Care Home, donations can be made through her Just Giving page.