21 Feb 20

Cheese tasting with a tipple at Aliwal Manor Care Home

Sarah has recently joined the team at Aliwal Manor as a Lifestyle Coordinator, to help with activities and find new things to keep the residents entertained. In the short time that she’s been there, she’s already made friends and imbedded herself into the family so the residents know and like her well.

Sarah wanted to find out more about her new found friends and the things the like to do, so on her way around the home this week, she stopped to ask the residents what their favourite activities were and if there was anything they would like to do.

After speaking with them, Sarah decided to host a cheese and wine tasting activity. Her idea was to educate the residents too and share facts about each of the cheeses they would be tasting. With her plan in place, Sarah began buying the cheese and finding information to share with the residents.

The residents were really excited and offered to help Sarah lay the chunks of cheese out. While doing so, they were commenting on the look and weird smell that some gave off but were looking forward to tasting them.

To start the activity, Sarah selected a cheese and passed the plate for each person to take a piece. While they were trying it, Sarah read out the information she had gathered about their origin and how they were made which intrigued the residents.

With a wide variety available, the residents tasted and learnt a lot about cheese during the session including some of the facts below.

  • Red Leicester is an English cheese, made in a similar manner to Cheddar Cheese, although it is crumbly in texture and typically sold at 6 – 12 months of age.
  • Stilton is an English cheese produced in two varieties: Blue, which has had Penicillium roqueforti (a type of edible fungus) added to generate a characteristic smell & taste, and white, which has not.
  • Wensleydale is a style of cheese originally produced in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, but is now mostly made in large commercial creameries throughout the UK. The term “Yorkshire Wensleydale” can only be used for cheese that is made in the village of Wensleydale.

After tasting the cheese, residents were given a glass of Lambrini to wash it down and enjoy as they spoke with their friends about their favourites from the tasting session. Information about the origin of Lambrini was also shared to round off an enjoyable and informative activity.

As the activity was so successful, team members will be introducing more tasting sessions so the residents can experience flavours from around the world and learn a bit about them too!

21 Feb 20

Valerie and Ellie visit the Goldenley residents for World Animal Day

The residents at Goldenley Care Home in Essex were visited by Valerie and her Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog, Ellie, this week.

Valerie has been adopting rescue dogs for many years, training and bringing them to Goldenley to spend time with the residents. Most of the people living there enjoy spending time with them, stroking and talking to them. It’s proven to have many benefits too, including increased self-esteem, improved social skills and reduced anxiety levels.

Although pouring with rain, Valerie put the residents first and took Ellie for her weekly visit to Goldenley. This wasn’t an ordinary visit though, as the residents were celebrating World Animal Day, so what better way to spend it than with a real animal!

The residents were really excited to see them both and admired them for coming out in the torrential rain. She took Ellie on a tour of the home and stopped to speak to residents as they passed. They all gave Ellie a stroke and commented on how soft she was.

Ellie is a very gentle and friendly German Shepherd. She’s patient with the residents and enjoys all the fuss and attention she gets. Over time she has been visiting, she has built up friendships with many people so she is always comfortable and relaxed. She does like going for walks though, so residents who are able to, enjoy walking her down the corridor with Valerie.

Jean is a resident at Goldenley who shares a special connection with Ellie. Jean has owned many dogs in her lifetime and told people how she used to enjoy taking them for walks in her local woodland. These visits from Ellie allow Jean to reconnect with moments from her past and continue engaging with an animal she loves.

We look forward to seeing Valerie and the wonderful Ellie again next week!

20 Feb 20

Pizza and praise for domestic team appreciation day at Limetree

Here at Excelcare, we celebrate each of the teams working in the care homes and offices because we understand how important each role is in the day to day runnings of the homes. From the cleaners, right through to senior management, everyone deserves recognition for the brilliant work they do.

This week, we celebrated Domestic Team Appreciation Day across the group, to thank them for keeping the care homes neat, tidy and safe for all the residents. They often go unnoticed, but after every activity, event or mealtime, the domestic team are in soon after to reset the room and have it gleaming again.

London-based, Limetree Care Home, had a very special day celebrating with their domestic team. Each staff member was given a thank-you note from CEO, Ozzie and COO, Sam Manning as well as praise from Home Manager, Jonathan.

As a special thank you for their hard-work, Jonathan ordered their favourite pizzas and put on some music, so they could enjoy their lunch breaks together and celebrate with their colleagues.

After their lunch, Jamie, the Housekeeper at Limetree, shared a special message with her colleagues, “Thanks on behalf of the domestic team and myself for our treats today, we are feeling very grateful for the recognition of our work and also very full from all the pizza. It was very much appreciated and a lovely gesture.”

A big thank you to all of the Domestic Teams keeping Excelcare homes a clean and welcoming place to be. We hope you had a great day celebrating together!

20 Feb 20

Park Avenue residents stretch and smile in movement class with Sabeel

Sabeel is a physiotherapist that visits the residents at Park Avenue Care Home regularly, to asses their needs and host beneficial therapy classes. Her sessions are so successful at the care home, as she finds entertaining ways for residents to feel the benefits of exercise, without it being the focus.

This week, Sabeel came to host a lively movement to music class with residents. As well as promoting physical activity and the benefits it has, the music plays an important part in encouraging reminiscence and bringing back fond life memories. This makes the session fun, fulfilling and beneficial for all!

During this week’s session, Sabeel played some familiar music from their Amazon Alexa device and began with some light warm-up movements. As the session progressed, residents were given different props to compliment the different exercises. For example, large elastic bands added light tension to the stretching exercises and small balls were used to throw to each, as it takes the focus away from the arm movement and more on the activity, whilst still providing the same benefits.

Sabeel also explored activity from seated and standing positions, to help with balance and in turn, improve personal independence. This has long term gain for the residents and the team members, as it helps to reduce falls and accidents happening at the home.

Sabeel is a well-liked instructor and after the session, identified that more balance focussed exercises would help the residents, so she plans to implement this into her next class. Residents came away from the session feeling positive, in good form and ready for the next!

Thanks, Sabeel, you’re making a real difference to the resident’s lives and they come away from each session feeling refreshed and fulfilled.

20 Feb 20

Living Sport course shows team members the importance of daily activity

Lifestyle Coordinators from Aliwal Manor and Fitzwilliam House, alongside Pearl, the Lifestyle and Wellbeing Lead in Cambridge, attended a workshop by Living Sport this week called, ‘Coaching Older people’.

Living Sport is a charity that works across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, delivering courses that aim to improve peoples health and wellbeing by supporting them to get active. Their classes focus on teaching techniques to help increase participation in sport and physical activity for the elderly. Their courses explore different areas of accessible exercise, showing how people with complex needs can participate safely in sport.

The need for this type of training was addressed in the UK Chief Medical Officer’s September guideline, where she was quoted “If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to the great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat.”

With this in mind, team members wanted to learn more about the benefits of exercise and some of the science behind it.

During the course, the instructor gave in-depth information about different types of exercise and the effects they have on the body. They also highlighted exercises that people with disabilities can do to stop their conditions from deteriorating. It was an eye-opening course for all and the new tips and techniques they have learnt will be implemented at the care homes to increase physical activity and maintain fitness levels.

Some of their key take-outs from the course included:

  • Weight-bearing activities that create an impact through the body help to maintain bone health
  • Older people should break up prolonged periods of rest with light activity when possible
  • Older adults should take part in physical exercise every day, even if it’s light activity
  • “Sit less do more” and “Anything is better than nothing” were themes that ran throughout the training

All of these takeouts will have positive health and wellbeing benefits for the residents when implemented back at the care home. Although residents already take part in daily activity, the course helped to highlight the ways team members can tailor these activities to help those who are less mobile.

This was put into practice the very next day when Sarah (Lifestyle Coordinator), gathered residents in the lounge and spent five minutes encouraging them to do basic arm and leg movements. Those who were able were asked to stand up and sit down, as even this five-minute break can provide health benefits. She then shared information with the residents about why daily activity is so important and they agreed it helped with their health, balance and overall mood.

Exercise can be a daunting term for people living with dementia or complex needs, so team members will be introducing more physical activity sessions that focus on movement and fun!

19 Feb 20

Carol delights the Winifred Dell residents with a tuneful piano performance

The residents at Winifred Dell were singing and dancing this week as volunteer Carol, came to play some live music for the residents.

Carol has a unique story behind her decision to do this. One of her relatives used to live at the home so she would regularly visit and whilst there, would play the piano for her. As an ex-pianist herself, she loved the acoustic, natural sound of the keys. It got the room rocking and made everyone smile, so Carol decided to continue her monthly visits and play for the residents now living there, so they can experience live music on a regular basis.

During her recent visit, Carol played a selection of the resident’s favourite songs to keep everyone pleased, but her favourite tunes are from musicals and the classical genre. She’s a skilled pianist though, so no matter what she decides to play, the residents always enjoy listening.

When Carol played a song the residents recognised, they began singing along, whilst others tapped and clapped to the rhythm. Everyone had a great time and after a lively session, team member Claire went to ask the residents for their thoughts. The feedback was all really positive, with one person saying, “She is a lovely lady, to give up her time and perform for us really shows you how much she loves what she does. Her performance was magical and we really enjoyed the afternoon’s entertainment”

Not only do these sessions encourage group engagement and movement, but also reminiscence, as the nostalgic music she plays brings back happy memories for many. It’s heartwarming to hear the special moments they recall and to see first hand just how powerful live music can be.

A big thank you to Carol for hosting these regular sessions with the residents, as you can see, they have a very positive and personal impact.

19 Feb 20

Maureen returns to Buchan House to host ‘Prayer and Praise’

Over the past few months, Maureen has been visiting the residents at Buchan House Care Home to volunteer her time. Maureen’s father, Bill, was a popular resident at the care home and was loved by the residents and team members alike. So Maureen decided to give back to the home who cared for her father and support the people living there today.

Across the Excelcare group, we actively welcome relatives of our past, present and even future residents to spend as much time in the home as they wish- we like to promote our family-orientated atmosphere and think it’s important for relatives and friends to feel welcomed at any time.

During her early visits, Maureen would go around the home and spend time with residents and team members, in particularly Lifestyle Coordinator, Debbie. She helped with activities and really enjoyed engaging with the residents, so much so, that she’s become a permanent volunteer!

Maureen decided that with her time, she wanted to host a Prayer and Praise session with the residents on the second Wednesday of every month. The residents at Buchan House enjoy faith led activities, as they allow people to express themselves and maintain their identities.

During these prayer and praise sessions, Maureen reads bible stories, says prayers and sings hymns. The variety keeps everyone entertained and allows them to celebrate the different areas of their faith. It’s been really popular at the care home, with residents filling the room each month. Maureen really enjoys hosting these sessions too, which shows in her passionate approach to each and every visit.

She’s kind, caring and considerate and after each session, goes round to the residents in their rooms to offer a one-to-one prayer and praise experience. Not many people ever decline which keeps her busy but said it’s rewarding to see the joy and fulfilment on their faces after.

This is a really successful activity and one that’s in high demand each month. A big thank you to Maureen for dedicating her time to the residents of Buchan House and supporting them to continue practising their religious beliefs.

If you would like to join Maureen and volunteer at an Exclecare home, please email: info@Excelcareholdings.com

18 Feb 20

Piano performance and afternoon tea for Valentine’s Day at Castlebar

Valentine’s Day celebrations were in full swing at Castlebar Care Home last week as they celebrated love and friendships at the care home. Although this is done on a daily basis, it was the focus of their valentines celebrations, showing the residents no matter your age, ability or the conditions you live with, everyone deserves someone to love and be loved by.

To do this, team members gave the dinner tables a romantic makeover with colourful flowers as the centrepiece. They had planned a tea party with the residents and to set the mood, invited a pianist along to play some slow songs in the background.

The residents then took their seats at the table to see what was on the menu. They didn’t have to wait long to find out though, as the kitchen team brought out a selection of cakes and baked treats, alongside their favourite hot-drinks. The residents enjoy afternoon tea sessions as they give everyone time to collect their thoughts, relax and enjoy the company of their friends. The warm and cosy environment that team members created certainly had an impact and there was a loving mood in the air as the piano played and people ate their cakes.

This experience brought back fond memories for many of the residents from times with their loved ones. It was rewarding to hear all of the connected stories and heartwarming to see how precious these memories were. It was a really fun and fulling afternoon for all where love, friendships and precious life moments were celebrated.

Before the end of the session, team members from the kitchen brought out an additional treat, which was a bag of the resident’s favourite sweets. The residents were delighted and thanked them for the thoughtful gift!

Although Valentine’s Day is now over, we will continue to celebrate love and friendships at Castlebar and enjoy the benefits of time spent together.

18 Feb 20

Ladybug delivers the love at Ashlyn Care Home

Residents at Ashlyn Care Home received a special visitor this week who came armed with love-themed treats for Valentine’s Day. Lifestyle Coordinator, Camelia, was behind the Ladybug costume and made her way around Ashlyn, spreading the love and tasty treats.

In preparation for the day, the team had set up a ‘Memories tree’ in reception, that when completed, would hold loving moments from the resident’s lives.

As Camelia made her way around the care home, she handed out heart-shaped chocolates and had a chat with each of the residents about their Valentine’s day memories. It was rewarding to hear all the heart-warming stories that people had, about how they met their life partners and the special moments they shared together. Residents then wrote these short stories down on heart-shaped pieces of paper which would then be placed on the tree in reception.

For those living with dementia, this was a very rewarding experience as personal memories from their pasts were brought forward and able to be shared. When Camelia entered each bedroom, the residents were surprised with her outfit but they all found it very entertaining and appreciated the effort. Camelia also took props and dress-up items with her so each person could style themselves for a picture before she moved on.

It was a rewarding day at Ashlyn, celebrating life partners and meaningful memories from the past. Our now full memory tree is in reception so relatives, friends and visitors can read the resident’s precious life moments as they pass.

18 Feb 20

Dave’s one man band delights the residents at Winifred Dell

Residents at Winifred Dell Care Home welcomed back Dave and his one-man-band this week for an all-singing-all-dancing performance. Dave is a very talented entertainer with musical skills that excite the residents, whilst bringing back memories through the nostalgic songs he plays. He’s been visiting for over 3 years, so all the residents know and love him well!

He’s very considerate too and always ensures his equipment is tucked out the way so no-one trips up or gets hurt. After setting up his solo band, he got right into playing, impressing the residents as he played different instruments and sung at the same time. This is brilliant for everyone at the care home, as residents get a full live band experience without the large set-up and space a group would need.

In this session, as well as playing some resident favourites from the 70s and 80s, he also trialled some different songs to see the reception they got. Using different instruments to compliment different tracks, Dave continued to impress with his musical skills. The instruments he played during his set included a harmonica, drums, a banjo, a guitar and a ukulele.

Throughout his energetic performance, Dave took residents on a musical journey, with some Rock and Roll, Pop and broadway, from artists including Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Norman Wisdom. This got everyone in a lively mood and residents began singing and dancing along to his music, while others moved along from their chairs. One of the residents got so excited, that she got a team member on to the dance floor to have a boogie with her.

It was inspiring to watch as the music brought back memories and filled people with joy and energy, just what we want to see from a musical session. Thanks for another incredible performance Dave, we look forward to your next gig at Winifred Dell.