16 Aug 19

Help us to brighten someone’s day by sending a Postcard of Kindness!

Here at Excelcare we love learning about people; the people we care for, their loved ones, our own team members and even new people… Everyone has a story to tell and unique experiences to share, and we love hearing about them!

A number of our care homes are already part of the international scheme, Postcards of Kindness, which welcomes postcards from all over the world to be sent to care homes for residents to read and reply to. Our Chief Operating Officer, Sam Manning, who is enjoying a holiday in Rhodes, Greece, took time to send her own postcards to each of the Excelcare care homes this week!

We would love to receive more postcards from across the world and use these to bring smiles to the faces of the people living with us. These postcards are helping residents to reminisce about holidays they have taken in the past, prompting many entertaining and insightful conversations around their life history.

Click here for a list of our care homes and their addresses, we would love to hear from you about your travels, or even from children about their summer holidays!

16 Aug 19

A morning of music and composing at Goldenley Care Home

Faith is a Lifestyle Coordinator at Goldenley Care Home and this week, hosted a music morning for the people living there. Faith tries to incorporate music into the daily activity schedule as it helps to keep everyone calm and maintains a good atmosphere around the care home.

Some of the people living at Goldenley are talented musicians, so Faith decided to host a composing session, allowing the residents to write a song together and use their musical talents to create a background melody.

The session started by asking the group to pick a word to feature in the first line of the song. One of the residents chose the word ‘storm’, so other members of the group tried to think of an opening line that featured the word. After this had been decided, each person took it in turns to come up with the next line in the song. As they made their way around the circle, each person was trying to think of words that rhymed and helping each other out when they had ideas. The whole group was engaged and there was a great sense of team spirit in the room.

After everyone had the chance to input and the song had been written, Faith handed out instruments and asked the group to play together, creating a melody from scratch. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but everyone seemed to be naturals and the music sounded great. Elsie lives at Goldenley Care Home and during the session told Faith that she used to play the Piano. The care home is lucky enough to have one in the communal area, so she sat at the stool and started to play along with the rest of the group.

The whole group, including Faith, were very happy with they had achieved. Margaret, a friend of Helen who lives at the care home, said she had never seen her friend so happy and left Goldenley with many happy memories from the day.

16 Aug 19

International students from Melchior College arrive at Buchan House

Intergenerational schemes are proven to have a positive effect on people living in care homes across the UK. Buchan House in Cambridge champions these types of schemes and recently invited international students from Cambridge University’s Melchior College to come and meet with the residents.

Mixing different age groups in a care home environment helps the residents to feel connected to the local community and up to date with other events happening further afield. It also allows them to get an insight into the lives of others and learn about their different backgrounds.

As the students arrived at Buchan House, they were given a warm welcome by a group of residents and team members who were waiting in reception. After introducing themselves to each other, they were given a short tour around the care home and had the opportunity to learn about the different areas and types of care provided by the team. This was a completely new experience for some of the students who hadn’t been inside a care home before, so they enjoyed learning about life at Buchan House.

The group of students then gathered in the lounge and had the opportunity to sit down with the residents and have a chat. They enjoyed sharing stories and everyone had a great time learning about each other’s lives. After some time spent catching-up, the students treated the residents to a selection of performances and poems they had prepared before the visit. Everyone was really impressed and especially enjoyed hearing all the different types of poetry.

After the performances had finished, the group handed out gifts for the residents and thanked everyone for making them feel so welcome.

A big thank you to Rebecca and the students from Cambridge Melchior College for spending the afternoon with the people at Buchan House and we hope to see you again soon.





16 Aug 19

Multi-talented gardener puts on a performance at Glennfield

Glennfield Care Home is lucky to have a gardener that visits the home on a weekly basis and ensures the plants and ground is maintained and looking full of life for the residents. As well as her green-fingered skills, Amanda (aka The Singing Gardener) is also a talented singer and this week, put on a musical performance for everyone at Glennfield.

As the residents know and love her for keeping their spacious garden maintained, they were all very comfortable and excited about hearing her sing.

Amanda enjoys singing songs from 1980s musicals which is a perfect fit for the residents as they know most of the songs from the era. As the background music started to play, the residents couldn’t help but tap their feet and sing along to the tuneful melodies.

As the 1980s is a familiar time for all of the people living at Glennfield, the music helped to bring back memories from trips to the theatre with their families and loved ones. With the upbeat tempos and catchy chords, the music brought a smile to everyone’s face and heightened the mood around the care home.

During the performance, Amanda went around the room and sung parts of the songs to each of the residents. This helped them to feel involved and added a personal touch which they all enjoyed.

After the final song had been performed, the people living at Glennfield gave her a huge round of applause and began cheering for more. Involving members of the team with entertainment sessions, helps the residents to get a glance into their personal life and creates stronger connections within the care home.

Everyone had a great day listening to the sounds of The Singing Gardener and very much look forward to the next show!


15 Aug 19

Designed with care; Lavender Suite unveiled at Park Avenue Care Home

As part of an ongoing renovation project, Park Avenue is proud to have opened the Lavender Suite, which occupies the first floor of the care home. This follows the recent opening of the Peony Suite on the second floor. The renovations project is creating a brighter, more modern environment for the people who live at Park Avenue, which is located in Bromley, Kent, featuring beautiful colour schemes which encapsulate a theme in each area.

One relative expressed how well-managed the renovations had been, and commented how “It all looks very good, mum was given a choice of room colours, which I liked!”

Changes to each floor have been decided in partnership with the people living at Park Avenue Care Home, along with their loved ones to ensure their needs and preferences are being recognised and met. With their input, the first floor has been transformed into a luxurious, modern space with plenty of additional features that will improve the quality of life for everyone.

The renovations also aim to improve quality of life for the residents, with Dementia-friendly decor and accessories included. Baskets, hangers and shelves fill the walls which contain sensory items and clothing accessories as a form of ‘rummage box’ for a homely feel.  Such boxes have proven to be a comforting and inspiring resource for those who live with Dementia; providing a means of reminiscence, helping people to feel empowered and secure in familiarity. Having these boxes in such accessible locations throughout the care home means that people can hold on to items they are fond of and take them away to other rooms. An additional benefit of these baskets is that they also act as a reference point to help people to locate their room if they are ever unsure. To support this, the names of each resident have been displayed on their bedroom door, which also helps them to find their friends.

Other beneficial features of the first floor include Dementia-friendly signage featuring bright colours, large text and easily recognisable symbols; which can also have a significant benefit for people living with Dementia, supporting their independence.

We look forward to sharing more stories relating to the ongoing renovations at Park Avenue Care Home.

15 Aug 19

Resident of the Day Maureen enjoys trip to the park

There are lots of options throughout the month for residents to engage in activities outside of the often busy and loud group sessions. One of these options is a ‘Resident of the Day’ scheme run by the Lifestyle Coordinators, which gives each person living at Buchan House the opportunity to choose what they would like to do on their special day each month.

The resident of the day scheme aims to make sure each resident feels valued on a personal level and ensure their wishes are continually being met.

During each resident’s focus day, Lifestyle Co-ordinator Debbie will ask if there is anything they would particularly like to do; this could be to joining in with the scheduled activities or doing something entirely different.

Maureen is a resident at Buchan House and loves meeting with Debbie. She enjoys spending time in the outdoors, so walking to the local park is a frequent request on her special day. As you can see from the pictures, they both had a brilliant afternoon venturing out to the park behind Buchan House and playing on the equipment. It’s only a short walk but it really helps Maureen to clear her head and share any worries or anxieties she may have.

After any adventure together, they both sit back, have a cup of tea with each other and enjoy discussing their favourite parts of the day.

If you have any suggestions of activities that may benefit your relative or if you wish to attend your relative’s ‘Resident of the Day’, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

15 Aug 19

Lime Court residents receive ‘Postcards of Kindness’

Lime Court Care Home is feeling the love after joining the ‘Postcards of Kindness‘ Facebook group. The group aims to encourage people to send kind words written on postcards to care homes who have shared their address in the group. The page is already becoming popular and people from all around the world are starting to participate.

Everyone at Lime Court was very excited this week when some postcards came through their letterbox. The first was from Debbie in Long Melford and had a lovely picture of the stain glass window from the local church. The second came all the way from Tracey in Paris, with a picture of the Eiffel Tower on. This definitely surprised the residents but they were so happy to receive a special, handwritten note from someone so far away. The final was from Woodstock Care Home, who sent in a lovely postcard with a collection of historic images from Gressenhall Farm.

This group not only helps to create connections between care homes but also with individuals living all around the world. This gives residents the opportunity to write back to people and create friendships that otherwise may not have been possible.

The images on the front of each postcard help to remind the residents of special places and countries they have visited with their family. This immediately encourages people to share their stories with the other residents and create stronger bonds between the people living at Lime Court.

Encouraging the residents to write back, gives them something to focus on and helps to improve their written communication skills. As well as all the benefits, the page helps everyone to feel good and brings a smile to people’s face as they walk past and read the postcards.

If you would like to get involved and send a postcard to the residents living at Lime Court, please address them to:
Lime Court Care Home, Lime Ave, Harwich CO12 4DE

14 Aug 19

John heads to Saint Ives for a shopping trip with the team

John is a resident at Rheola Care Home in Cambridge and recently headed the historic town of St Ives for a shopping trip with the team. John enjoys being out in the open and meeting new people so he was very excited about visiting.

Saint Ives is a market town and is home to some famous landmarks including the Houghton Mill and popular Norris Museum. The town also hosts a farmers market every Thursday, so the residents enjoy going along when they are able to.

As the group arrived at Saint Ives, they began making their way around the shops and enjoyed the variety it had to offer. The town is home to some traditional shops too, which helped to bring back fond memories for John.

As they were walking around, John asked to find a clothes shop as he wanted some new shoes and trousers. Luckily, Saint Ives has plenty to offer and after walking around a few, he found some smart shoes and trousers that fitted perfectly.

When everyone had finished shopping, the team took John down to the river to look at birds and boats as they floated by. It’s a calming atmosphere and a great place to sit back and enjoy the scenery.

The group then headed back to Rheola Care Home to share news from the trip and show everyone their new purchases.


14 Aug 19

‘Fruity Friday’ fun at Lime Court Care Home

Lime Court Care Home regularly hosts ‘Fruity Friday’s to keep the residents healthy and stimulate their senses.

The session aims to encourage people to guess the fruit without looking at it, by tasting, touching and smelling. The team at Lime Court introduce exotic fruits that residents may not be familiar with, to make it a little more challenging and inspire them to try something new. Activities like this also help to maintain the resident’s cognitive function and combines a beneficial activity with something that’s fun for all.

After everyone has had a chance to guess the different fruits, the residents have the opportunity to make their own fruit cocktails using their favourites.

Everyone thoroughly enjoys these interactive sessions and look forward to trying new something new each week.

14 Aug 19

Debbie hosts Love to Move session for residents at Buchan House

Debbie is a Lifestyle Coordinator based at Buchan House and helps to look after all of the activities and events that take place at the care home. Debbie recently went above and beyond her role and trained as a Love to Move coach so she could deliver chair-based exercise classes for the residents. External companies are usually invited in to host these sessions, but the team at Buchan House decided to train a friendly face at the care home so they can be hosted more regularly.

Love to Move sessions were initially introduced by the British Gymnastic Foundation to help lessen the effects of Dementia. It has since been used more widely and been proved to help those who aren’t living with Dementia too. The benefits of these sessions have already been enjoyed by many living in care homes, saying it’s helped to restore their independence and cognitive (brain) function.

This week, Debbie hosted her first class with people from all different areas of the care home and to great success. Everyone living at Buchan House enjoys moving in time with the music and partaking in an activity that has positive benefits to their health and wellbeing. With Debbie hosting the session, the team saw an increase in the resident’s engagement and noticed people that weren’t taking part before, now getting involved and enjoying themselves.

With a friendly face hosting the session, it’s helped the residents to feel more comfortable and motivated to take part. The team will now be hosting monthly classes and hope the residents feel an improvement in their mobility and overall health.