14 Oct 19

Windmill Lodge residents provide the percussion during musical afternoon

It’s no secret that the residents at Windmill Lodge love musical activities. They help to spread joy around the care home and everyone loves singing and dancing along together.

Windmill Lodge is a very culturally diverse care home and is currently celebrating black history month, so Grace combined the two and decided to host a play-along reggae percussion session. Bob Marley was the chosen artist as his music is very popular at Windmill and helps people to reminiscence from past events and family parties.

Residents gathered in a communal lounge and with Grace conducting, they began playing along to the reggae rhythms with the shakers, tambourines and small drums provided. It was enjoyable hearing everyone playing together and remixing some of their favourite songs. Stephen lives at Windmill Lodge and provided the comedy when he began playing the air-guitar, which encouraged others to join in and share a laugh.

Malcolm was one of the residents who took part and said, “It was nice just relaxing, enjoying the music and letting it wash over you.”

This multi-sensory session didn’t just encourage engagement but allowed the residents to be creative and improvise their own percussion. Everyone enjoyed celebrating black history month in this exciting, musical way and are looking forward to other celebratory activities throughout the month.

14 Oct 19

March and District Model Railway Club visit Glennfield Care Home

It was full steam ahead at Glennfield Care Home this week when the March and District Model Railway Club came to show off their trucks and engines. Many of the residents enjoy looking at vintage trains due to their interesting colour schemes and the memories they bring back.

Lifestyle Coordinator, Katie works at Glennfield Care Home and made it her mission to find a more accessible way for the residents to enjoy their hobby. Inviting this local model railway group in, meant people could not only enjoy and engage with the activity from the comfort of their own home but develop relationships with others who share their passion

Residents met the group in the lounge, said hello and were excited to see the detailed track they had set up on the table, which even had small bits of gravel under the lines just like in real life. Each resident then had time with members of the club, where they were shown all the different types of carriages, their functions and how to drive them. Before getting behind the controls, residents enjoyed looking at the old fashioned branding on the side of each cart and how accurate the models were.

It was then the opportunity for the people of Glennfield to control the trains; they each had a great time driving the different carriages along the track and back. The models also made true to life sounds, giving residents a full sensory experience.

The people who live at Glennfield loved this session. It introduced them to something they have not tried before and everyone had only positive things to say. It was lovely seeing the joy this brought, with one resident saying, “Look at that one go, how fabulous!”, as the instructors took the models up and down the track.

It was a very fulfilling session for everyone and we are excited for the club to return later this year.

11 Oct 19

Queens Oak residents participate in music therapy morning

Every Tuesday morning, residents at Queens Oak Care Home participate in a music therapy class with Sophie, a visiting Music Therapist. The people who live at Queens Oak love listening to live music, so rather than putting on a CD, Sophie plays songs from the piano which everyone enjoys. This also encourages the residents to keep coming along and reaping the benefits that music therapy offers.

People from all areas of the care come together to take part in one of the large, communal lounges. They all take a seat around the edge of the room, relax and listen to the songs played by Sophie. Throughout the session, residents are also encouraged to sing or dance along to the music, providing a boost in concentration and confidence.

To help connect with the residents and make the session familiar, Sophie plays a mix of songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s, eras that are memorable for the residents. This not only encourages reminiscence but means people are much more likely to engage with the class.

Studies about the benefits of music therapy highlight the positive impacts it has on the mind and body, as well as a person’s wellbeing. This is because classes encourage movement and thought, whilst enhancing mood through rhythm and melody.

All of the residents love taking part in this class and look forward to Sophie returning each week. Thanks for brightening our Tuesday morning and keeping the residents physically and cognitively active!

11 Oct 19

Okeley Care Home help to raise awareness of Dyslexia

Okeley Care Home in Chelmsford, is happy to assist all of their team members and make any reasonable adjustments, to ensure everyone can deliver the best care possible for the residents. To help highlight this, team members wore green clothing for a week to support World Dyslexia Awareness Day, on 4 October, and encouraged people to have conversations about the challenges they face as well as the help they receive.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that affects 1 in 10 people in the UK. It makes reading, spelling and writing a challenge and many who have Dyslexia said it has affected job prospects and caused other conditions to manifest, such as anxiety.

The Home Manager at Okeley Care Home, Shoenagh, has Dyslexia, so ensures that all team members, affected or not, feel supported not only in their career but outside of work too. Another team member, Kieran, also has Dyslexia and has been supported to develop into a senior role. With a couple of staff members affected by the learning difficulty, raising awareness about it means that other colleagues and residents can understand the challenges they still face.

The week not only encouraged the staff to discuss their life’s trials, but team members also had conversations with the residents to hear about the factors that they have to overcome in life. Sparking conversations about often misunderstood topics mean team members can constantly improve the care they provide. It also helps to highlight other small adjustments that could be made around the care home to better the lives of the people who live and work there.

After a week of raising awareness and open conversation, Kieran said, “I am so pleased to have a manager that supports me with this. It’s made a huge difference to my day at work and I’ve changed dramatically which my loved ones have all confirmed.”

11 Oct 19

Team Members at Glennfield ask residents ‘what makes you smile?’

Team members at Glennfield Care home provide person-centred care to the residents, ensuring the things they do are exciting and beneficial too. This week, the residents of Glennfield were asked, ‘what makes you smile?’, when a smile jar was introduced at the care home.

Team members have asked everyone to write the things down that make them grin on a piece of paper and in a couple of weeks, they will be able to read all of the things that make the people living there smile.

Not only could this be used to create a homely piece of art, but will be informative for the Lifestyle Coordinators as they will be able to further tailor their schedule and activities towards the things that bring people joy.

Those who work at Glennfield know that smiling has a range of benefits to a person’s wellbeing and can be enough to brighten someone’s day. Equally, this jar will provide valuable information that can form interesting conversations with the residents about the things that make them happy.

It’s already helping to spread happiness around the care home and the team have found that just mentioning the smile jar is enough to crack a smile. As the weeks go on, we hope to fill the jar with the positivity that flows around Glennfield each day and encourage everyone to keep smiling.

10 Oct 19

When Archie came to help at Castlemead Court

Team members at Excelcare, always encourage locals or people who have some free time in the week to come and visit the residents, whether it’s for a quick chat or take part in activities, it gives them a warm feeling knowing people in the community not only recognise they are there but want to come and see them too.

During the summer holidays this year, Archie came to offer his support to Castlemead Court. Most school children wouldn’t give up their summer holiday to volunteer, but Archie asked his mum, who works at Castlemead, if he could come and help out. Home Manager, Tracy was delighted that he had offered to help and welcomed him with open arms.

Upon arriving at Castlemead, Archie fitted himself right in, speaking to the residents, team members and touring the care home to learn about the different areas. This reflected in his attitude to helping out too, as he didn’t shy away from anything and came with a can-do attitude that we didn’t expect. He was joining in with activities, handing out drinks to the residents and helping to move bedsheets and small boxes around the care home, all with a smile on his face.

The people who live at Castlemead loved his company too and was refreshing for them to mix with the younger generations. For all his hard work, residents shared sweets and other treats with him which he certainly enjoyed.

Over the course of the 4 weeks, Archie showed real dedication to the people at Castlemead Court and his mum even said he was up and ready before she was. He embedded himself into life at Castlemead very well and by the end of his time, he knew everyone who lived and worked here. His enthusiasm and kindness have certainly had a lasting impact on everyone here and we truly miss having him around.

To thank Archie for all of his hard work and dedication to Castlemead Court, the whole team grouped together to pay him his first wage packet. His hard work was also noticed by Chief Operating Officer, Sam Manning, who sent him a thank you card and voucher for helping out.

Thanks again Archie, you’re a star!

10 Oct 19

Residents enjoy flower arranging session at Buchan House Care Home

Due to the growing popularity of flower activities at Buchan House Care Home, Lifestyle Coordinator Debbie hosted another one-to-one flower arranging session. These activities mean whether the residents are physically mobile or not, they are still able to take part in the session.

Wini is a resident at Buchan House who is especially talented when it comes to flower arranging. She used to arrange all of the flowers displays at her local church, so this activity allowed her to engage with a passion whilst reminiscing. As she has limited mobility, Debbie went along to her bedroom and hosted the activity from there.

A selection of Pink and White flowers, which are Wini’s favourites, were handed to her and she had a great time looking, smelling and picking out the prettiest ones. As she took time arranging flowers in the vase, the discussion moved on to Wini’s past helping the church and even gave Debbie some flower arranging tips.

The bouquet looked beautiful when Wini was finished and you could see she still has the skills that she developed when helping at church.

Activities like this are a great, inclusive way of allowing residents of all capabilities to engage outside of their usual day-to-day lives, whilst supporting them with one-on-one time with team members.

Because she enjoyed the session so much, Wini has kindly offered to arrange the care home’s flowers in the future which will not only increase her sense of self-purpose but also provide more regular opportunities to practice her hobby!

10 Oct 19

Evelyn’s surprise birthday party at Goldenley Care Home

A big part of providing person-centred care is celebrating things that are important for the residents, including birthdays, life achievements and overcoming any challenges they face.

Lifestyle Coordinator Faith, always ensures when residents reach these momentous stages in their life, they are properly celebrated. The most recent resident to receive one of these special celebrations was Evelyn, who had a birthday approaching. Since arriving at Goldenley, Evelyn has made some close friends, who can usually be found chatting and laughing together in the communal spaces. Faith wanted both Joan and Maureen to be part of her special day and so decided to host a surprise afternoon tea party in their cosy, on-site tea room.

Faith started preparations by decorating the room with banners and balloons, before letting Joan and Maureen in on her surprise plans. They were delighted to be invited and promised to keep it a secret.

On Evelyn’s birthday, she had a great morning with the residents, relatives and team members all wishing her a happy birthday and giving her cards, gifts and messages. As the afternoon approached, Faith asked Evelyn to come along to the tea room to help her with something. As she entered, Joan and Maureen shouted ‘surprise!’ which brought a big smile to her face. She had no idea that this was being arranged and was very grateful to Faith and her friends for putting it on.

They enjoyed cream teas together whilst having a chat and a good laugh. As Evelyn was born in Dublin, Faith sang her an Irish song and before long, everyone had joined in.

We hope you had a great day celebrating with us Evelyn and we look forward to celebrating together again next year!

9 Oct 19

Sherrell House residents go to tea with the Mad Hatter

The residents, friends and relatives of Sherrell House Care Home celebrated Silver Sunday in style this week by hosting a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Excited for the day ahead, residents helped team members to decorate the pub lounge with balloons and sparkly items. With everyone helping out, the lounge was looking tea party-ready in no time!

To fit the theme of ‘Silver Sunday’, the tea party had a silver dress code meaning residents could fully immerse themselves in the activity. Music, games and a buffet had been set-up with special guest, Mrs Hatter, to provide a twist to the usual tea party which everyone enjoyed. The whole group were impressed with Mrs Hatter’s outfit and you could really see the effort the team and residents had put in to make this a success.

As the music played, residents began taking part in different activities with their friends. Some people opted for a more relaxed afternoon, playing board games as the music played, while others were on their feet dancing with Mrs Hatter. As the day progressed, team members brought around a wireless microphone, encouraging each resident to sing along to the music and engage with the environment around them. With all this exciting activity, there was a new wave of energy which swept the care home and had everyone in a positive mood.

After the tea party had ended, residents like Kath, pictured, took the opportunity to get a snap with Mrs Hatter, helping to encapsulate their happy memories at Sherrell House.

9 Oct 19

The Sign Shop provides helpful environments for Excelcare Homes

In care homes across the Excelcare group, it’s important that the residents feel safe, secure and are encouraged to maintain their independence. Whether it’s washing up their own plate or choosing an activity for the day, these little things help to better the lives of people in our care.

However, residents who live with dementia can sometimes feel confused, disorientated or see the world differently. Team members are trained to help these residents find their way around, calm anxiety and enable them to live well, but it’s also important to encourage them to maintain their independence where possible.

To help people find their way around, we have implemented a helpful environment in each care home. One of the ways in which this has been done is through installing clear and effective types of signage, depending on its purpose.

To help deliver this accurately and consistently in Excelcare care homes, we have partnered with The Sign Shop.

The Sign Shop is a company that offer professional signage solutions to care homes and other organisations. Their approach is grounded in research and they know the best and most effective ways of communicating to people and those who live with different conditions.

They have recently launched a brand new division, specifically targeted at providing unique and interesting signage options to care homes in the UK. To discuss the new opportunities and offerings this has opened up, we spoke to Jamie, Owner and Managing Director at The Sign Shop.

“We first started the sign company in 1997, so have been operating for over 20 years. We cover a range of different types of commercial signage, office branding, vehicle signwriting and much more.


Most recently, we have launched a new, dedicated strand of our company that specifically aims at delivering effective signage displays to care home in the UK. We have a number of years’ experience creating and installing signage in care homes and wanted to have a separate focus on this as it’s so important and we recognise the correct signage can change a person’s life.


Our signage displays are also backed with research and case studies so we know they work. Our standard signs for care homes are round in shape and have a yellow background with black text laid on top. This type of sign has been proven to be most effective when communicating to people living with dementia.


We also produce encapsulating room and door themes, creating a more engaging and colourful display. This type of signage uses familiar pictures, icons and simple wording – meaning it serves a very clear purpose, whilst also making the wall brighter and more vibrant. This really help to transform a space and eases wayfinding, whilst enabling independence.”

The Sign Company has increased the independence of residents in our care, but also helped to transform and re-invent spaces within our care homes. We’ve seen the resident’s reactions when they see and instantly understand the function of each room – making their lives and the lives of team members just that little bit easier.

The Sign Shop has recently supported us with the interior refurbishment at our Park Avenue Care Home in Bromley and both the Manager and our interior project coordinator feedback on the professionalism and support provided by Jamie and his team. They helped to ensure the changes happened smoothly and without disturbance to the residents.

If you, or any organisation you may know could benefit from some updated and effective signage options, we recommend getting in touch with jamie@thesign-shop.co.uk .