24 Oct 19

Residents at Hunters Down get a visit from PAT dog Henry

PAT (Pets as Therapy) dogs, visit many of the care homes in the Excelcare group and provide residents with lots of comfort. These dogs help to enhance the lives of people who live with physical or cognitive disabilities. Their company is also very beneficial for people receiving dementia care, as they provide a level of companionship and affection that cannot be matched.

This week, the residents at Hunters Down Care Home were excited for their fortnightly visit from PAT dog, Henry. Henry is a Great Dane, one of the largest dog breeds, so he gets lots of attention when he stops by. The residents all feel comfortable in his company and his gentle, patient and caring nature certainly rubs off on the residents after his visit.

As Henry arrived with his owner Denise, he was given a warm welcome by the team, residents and visitors that were gathered in reception. After saying hello, Denise took Henry around the different areas of the care home, accompanied by a member of the team, to greet people individually and allow time for them to interact with him. Everyone who takes the time to sit with Henry enjoys stroking him and popping him the occasional treat. He’s a big conversation starter too and many people like to know what he gets up to at home and when out in the community. After touring the communal areas and giving everyone a chance to spend time with him, Denise took Henry into the rooms of people who are less mobile. These people especially like spending time with visiting dogs and the connection they share is always heart-warming to see.

After lots of chatting and many a head stroke, Denise and Henry headed off to make some more friends at other local institutions. Residents always have a smile on their face after a visit from Henry and we are all looking forward to when they both return next month.

24 Oct 19

Primrose Croft residents get festive at Scotsdales Garden Centre

The residents of Primrose Croft Care Home got in the festive spirit this week after a trip to Scotsdales Garden Centre. The residents love visiting the garden centre, as they sell a large variety of different goods and usually have some interesting displays to look at.

The residents arrived at the garden centre via taxi and were overwhelmed to see all the colourful Christmas decorations lighting up the entrance. As the group walked around, they enjoyed looking at the festive displays and all different types of impressive decorations.

After a quick wander round it was time for lunch, so everyone met in the on-site cafe for a bite to eat. As the residents were looking through the menu, Mary, who lives at Primrose Croft, spotted a waitress that she knew. They had a lovely catch-up and Mary smiled as she introduced her to all of her friends and team members.

With full stomachs, residents then had some more time to explore the rest of the garden centre. Some of the group headed over to the Christmas section again to look at more of the lights and exciting displays. While doing so, they were pointing and discussing which ones would look nice on display back at home.

Meanwhile, Peggy was taking the opportunity to look at the variety of homeware, kitchen and clothing items they sell. The section that most excited her was the jewellery department, as they had lots of pretty and sparkly items. Being an avid jewellery fan, Peggy couldn’t resist and bought a bracelet that she fell in love with.

Before heading back to Primrose Croft, residents stopped at the café for a cup of tea and slice of cake, making for a cosy end to a Christmassy day.

Trips like this not only encourage the residents to be independent, they also allow people to connect with others living locally and friends from the past, providing a boost in mood and wellbeing!

23 Oct 19

Park Avenue residents get an introduction to mosaic art

Residents at Park Avenue Care Home love arts and craft activities. They enjoy getting hands-on with different materials and creating colourful pieces they can display around the care home or keep in their room.

Last week, Lifestyle Coordinator Gladys received a call from a lady who hosts mosaic sessions and was interested to come and teach the residents at Park Avenue. Knowing how much the residents love getting creative and learning new artistic techniques, Gladys happily accepted.

Carmela, the mosaic instructor, arrived at the care home this week to conduct a taster session with the residents. After introducing herself and learning a bit about each of the group, she handed out some stones in which mosaic tiles are made from. While the residents took a close look and passed them around the circle, Carmela shared details about each of them including their origin and what makes them unique. The group enjoyed being able to see, feel and hear all the interesting things about the stones, creating a multi-sensory experience for all.

After the introduction, residents were given the opportunity to make some of their own mosaic creations with Carmela’s guidance. They were handed small, colourful titles which they stuck to the base with PVA glue. Carmela then spent time with each resident individually, helping with the technique and showing different ways to achieve intricate patterns.

From the introduction to the actual activity, residents were engaged throughout and really enjoyed learning more about this craft form. With the positive feedback from residents, Carmela has been invited back to host more multi-sensory mosaic sessions at the care home.

23 Oct 19

Kids become Lifestyle Coordinators for ‘Excelzania’

Here at Excelcare, we encourage intergenerational engagement between residents and people of all ages. This helps to keep them feeling fulfilled and connected with those living locally. We also adapt ideas and see how we can bring them to life within each care home, with the aim of enriching the resident’s lives.

Excelcare’s Chief Operating Officer, Sam Manning, recently took inspiration from a trip to Kidzania in London. This large indoor activity centre is a place where kids are given the opportunity to test out adult jobs and run their own city. Her kids had a great time, which sparked an idea about bringing this experience to residents in each of the care homes.

This week, the idea came to life and team members from care homes across the group brought their children to work with them, to act as Lifestyle Coordinators for the day, which involves keeping the residents entertained through interesting and enjoyable activities.

Team members enjoyed inviting their little ones into their place of work and seeing the joy on the resident’s faces as they arrived. They love spending time with children and were excited to be left in their hands for the day (with support from the real Lifestyle Coordinators).

The acting Lifestyle Coordinators certainly kept the residents busy with a series activities including mask painting, pumpkin carving and other Halloween themed tasks. It was rewarding seeing the children and residents connect so quickly and watching as they helped each other to make the best masks, pumpkins and pictures.

After a very busy and enjoyable day, residents told the team members how much fun they had and have requested for another session later in the year. For all their efforts, the visiting children were handed certificates and thanked for keeping the residents entertained.

With all the positive feedback, Excelzania has been scheduled to return closer to Christmas with an exciting festive theme – watch this space!

22 Oct 19

Excelcare celebrate Kitchen Team Appreciation Day

On Monday 21st October, we celebrated the teams working in kitchens across the Excelcare group. Their day-to-day role is pivotal in keeping everyone healthy and active but can go unnoticed behind the four walls of the kitchen, so we decided to host an appreciation day to show these members of staff just how valued they are.

Care Homes across the group joined in to celebrate the roles of the Chefs and how they help to enrich the lives of residents. Not only do they provide fresh meals throughout the day, but they also make and bake all different types of cakes, biscuits and other treats to celebrate birthdays, special occasions and support the Lifestyle Coordinators with cooking activities.

When these teams aren’t behind a stove, they are chatting with the residents or passing on recipe tips. Their role extends far beyond the kitchen and we are so thankful for all the hard work they do every day.

To show their value, thankyou cards from Ozzie (CEO at Excelcare) and Sam Manning (Chief Operating Officer at Excelcare) were given to all of the catering teams and a selection of sweet treats too.

Thank you to all members of the catering team throughout the group and we hope you had an enjoyable day.

22 Oct 19

Winifred Dell host 65th anniversary celebration for Beryl and John

Beryl is a resident at Winifred Dell Care Home and had an exciting day celebrating her 65th anniversary this week. Her husband, John doesn’t live at the care home, but is a regular visitor and came to join Beryl on the day to celebrate together at Winifred Dell.

In preparation for the celebrations, team members put up banners and balloons around the care home, making everyone aware of their special day. As John arrived, looking very smart, he was pleased to see the effort that had been put in and was delighted that he could celebrate with Beryl. 65 years of marriage is also known as a ‘Blue Sapphire’ anniversary, so shades of blue featured in the decorations and helped to signify the important occasion.

After seeing and hearing all the cheering and laughing, residents gathered to pass on their love, good wishes and congratulate the happy couple for a long and loving marriage.

To bring some more energy and excitement, team members organised for a live entertainer to play some familiar music. Family and Friends came along too and it was great seeing the different generations celebrating important life achievements together.

As the music played, Beryl and John shared a dance together which was a very special moment for friends, family and everyone else at the care home. It was a heart-warming and enjoyable day, seeing people celebrate their life-long love for each other in a place where they feel comfortable and supported.

Thanks for sharing your special day with us Beryl & John and we hope you both had an enjoyable and memorable day!

21 Oct 19

Goldenley resident, Phyllis gets a surprise family visit!

Care homes across the Excelcare group operate an open-door policy, meaning friends and relatives are free to visit at any-time without providing notice. This means visits aren’t limited and team members actively encourage families to stop by and be involved with their loved ones care.

This week, Phyllis, who lives at Goldenley Care Home, was treated to a surprise visit from her grandchild, Julie and her two children, Harry and Ruby. The group stopped by unannounced which was a massive surprise for Phyllis and one that brought lots of smiles to the care home. As they arrived, Phyllis was sitting in a communal area with some of her friends, whose eyes lit up when her great-grandchildren walked through the door.

Some of the residents living at Goldenley don’t have grandchildren, so spending time with young people isn’t something they do too frequently. When children do visit, residents all thoroughly enjoy engaging with them and keeping them entertained.

While Phyllis spent time chatting with Julie, other residents enjoyed playing ‘Hide & Seek’ and singing some nursery rhymes with Harry and Ruby. It was like the whole group were one big family and it was great seeing them so full of joy as they played childhood games. This also helped residents to reminisce, as visits like this often bring back fond memories from their childhood.

It was a lovely afternoon spent chatting and playing games, highlighting the special moments that the open-door policy allows. We welcome all friends and family to stop by at any-time and create happy memories with loved ones and others in our care.

21 Oct 19

Ashlyn residents relax during the recently introduced ‘Imagination Gym’

Team members based at care homes in the Excelcare group are always looking for ways to improve and new activities they can introduce for the residents. Inviting third party entertainers and activity hosts is enjoyable, but training staff members to host certain activities can be more beneficial as it means sessions can be hosted frequently and flexibly. Some people also find it more comfortable having someone they know host the session, leading to better and more meaningful group engagement.

Lifestyle Coordinator Camelia is a team member at Ashlyn Care Home and recently trained to host ‘Imagination Gym’ sessions for the residents.

‘The Imagination Gym’ is an activity that aims to promote wellbeing by combining music therapy and light touch therapy to better residents’ communication skills, decision making, concentration skills and much more.

After successfully passing the course, Camelia hosted an introductory session at the care home earlier in the month and said it was a huge success. The session was followed up with another class featuring other residents, which also received positive remarks, so the activity has been integrated into the weekly schedule with sessions taking place every Tuesday and Wednesday.

During the classes, residents are encouraged to relax and enjoy the sounds of the music – with some light massage therapy if they would like. This gives each the time to destress and simply enjoy the calming environment around them.

The residents who took part in each of the two sessions have given only positive feedback, with one relative saying, “I came into the room when mum had almost finished. She was very engrossed in it and very calm after feeling agitated in the morning.”

Seeing and hearing the positive effects after just two sessions is brilliant and we hope to see this continue at future Imagination Gym classes.

18 Oct 19

Sweyne Court care home residents create some culinary delights

It was National Chocolate Week this week, and the Chef, residents and team at Sweyne Court Care Home decided to make a culinary spectacular for everyone to enjoy!

Chocolate Week, occurred for the 15th year in a row, this week and aims to promote fine flavour chocolate, the independent artisan chocolatiers and the chocolate companies who work in direct partnership with cocoa farmers, encouraging consumers to pay a fairer price for their chocolate. The Sweyne Court team noted everyone’s favourite chocolates and sweets and collated them from the sweet shop. The chef and a few residents set about creating and baking two enormous New York style cheesecakes and topping them with kitkats, mini eggs, smarties, sweets and chocolate sauce.

Lifestyle Coordinator, Benjamin Conway, said, “We thought it would be a really fun idea to get creative and task ourselves with our own Bake Off style challenge. It’s an absolute pleasure when the people who live at Sweyne Court want to get involved in the kitchen, as it means they can retain their independence, feel part of the Sweyne Court family and have a sense of achievement.”

He went on to say, “Everyone had a brilliant time during this activity, chatting and laughing, whilst eating a few sweets in the process!” whilst one of the residents, commented “It’s so pretty, I’m excited to eat this!”

Sweyne Court prides itself in delivering first-rate care, and part of that involves making meal times a social and special time of the day. This enticing dessert was a real treat, especially as the cheesecake is highly fortified, meaning residents who have less of an appetite benefited from the calories and energy. We look forward to seeing more culinary creations from Sweyne Court in the future!

18 Oct 19

A very musical morning for Limetree Care Home residents

Sadie Wades, from The Entertainment Providers, visited Limetree Care Home, in London, recently to present a quick change musical routine whilst singing showtime songs.

The Entertainment Providers are an established production company that has over 25 years experience in corporate and commercial entertainment. They say, “The unique thing about The Entertainment Providers is that we can transport first class entertainment to almost any space, offering first class standards at all times”.

Sadie performed her show to a variety of musical hits, from My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, Oliver and The Sound of Music, to name but a few. Vanessa Beaton, one of the Lifestyle Coordinators at Limetree said, “Sadie wore a variety of costumes throughout the routine – they were the quickest changes we’d ever seen! We were very impressed. She got everyone up and dancing and circulated the room to make sure everyone was included.”

The showtime morning was a hit with residents, their relatives and team members, and was not only fun, but it helped residents to reminisce about the songs featured in films and musicals from their younger years. An article from Age UK earlier in the year stated that, “The power of music, especially singing, to unlock memories and kickstart the grey matter is an increasingly key feature of dementia care. It seems to reach parts of the damaged brain in ways other forms of communication cannot”, showing the vital importance of bringing music to care homes for the wellbeing of residents.

Vanessa concluded, “This was such a popular event for everyone that we are already booking Sadie back in for Christmas!”