2 Dec 19

Sweyne Court residents enjoy some indoor gardening

The residents and their relatives at Sweyne Court Care Home have recently requested to take part in more gardening activities. With Winter in full swing and the weather getting colder, team members have been looking for ways to bring the activity inside and give residents something to be responsible for.

During their search, they stumbled across an indoor flower pack. This ticked all the boxes as it initially engages residents by asking them to build the garden, before planting the seeds provided. The garden set is small and manageable, making it perfect for the residents to keep in their rooms and look after.

Residents love gardening as it’s a calming activity that always boosts wellbeing. It’s also rewarding as after planting the seeds and spending time looking after them, they’re left with a beautiful and colourful display.

Pauline is one of the residents at Sweyne Court who is taking part in this activity and said she had great fun building the set with team members. She also enjoyed planting seeds and alongside others, has been encouraged to look after it in her room. Pauline was happy that she had something new to take care of and has left it growing on her window sill alongside some other treasured possessions.

This has been really enjoyable for the residents and very self-fulfilling, as they now have something they can personally look after on a daily basis. This will also give individuals something they can do from the comfort of their bedroom when they want some time to themselves.

We look forward to watching the seeds grow and witnessing the positive impact this has on the people of Sweyne Court.

2 Dec 19

Ashlyn Care Home welcomes an ‘Activity Champion’ for the festive period

With Christmas rapidly approaching and lots of fun things planned for the residents, team members at Ashlyn Care Home thought some extra support may be helpful over the festive period.  The successful ‘Activity Champion’ will help to lift spirits and introduce a variety of entertaining things for the residents to see and do over the course of the month.

Interviews were held at the care home on Friday, but no-one was able to successfully demonstrate the experience needed to fulfil the fun and festive timetable. This was until the final candidate walked in. Home Manager Matt and his deputy, Sheila, were very impressed with the plans they had prepared and the experience the candidate had in the field, so Mr Elf was offered the role!

He will help to bring new and exciting activities to the residents throughout December and may even cause some mischief along the way.

Most of the people living at Ashlyn love celebrating Christmas as the home gets a makeover and there is a lovely family atmosphere. Christmas also helps with reminiscence, bringing back many fond memories from their childhood and special events with their families.

With the care home starting to take shape and Mr Elf now an official team member, residents are excited to get going with the festive celebrations. We look forward to seeing what Mr Elf gets up to and the activities he brings to the residents at Ashlyn.

29 Nov 19

Rupert Procter reads to the residents at Primrose Croft

Well-known actor and author Rupert Procter, visited the residents at Primrose Croft Care Home recently to read them a story.

Rupert has previously starred in hit films including, “Notting Hill” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” but more recently dedicated his time to writing a fiction novel for his daughter.

‘The Legend of the Goose Girl’ is a new folk story, set a long, long time ago. The sweet but unfortunate protagonist, Khalia, a feral four-year-old child, finds herself having to protect her beloved Geese from being captured and eaten by the despicable, Count Badomen; the man responsible for her father’s death. “Will magical rhyme be enough to fight a powerful source of evil?”

Although a fiction story, a moment from Rupert’s life inspired him to write it. He said it was down to his daughter specifically, as he went out to hunt pheasants locally and after returning with two, his daughter realised what he had been doing and looked at him in shock. He said he would never forget the look she gave him and it was enough to put him off hunting again. So, Rupert used this moment to inspire a new venture and started to write ‘The Legend of the Goose Girl.’

In his early years, Rupert attended Ampleforth College before joining the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol. He was trained by acclaimed teacher, Rudi Shelly, who taught film stars Peter O’Toole and Sir Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Rudi once told Rupert the key to being a good actor is that of story-telling, a comment that has stayed with him until this day.

With the book now finished, Rupert has been able to get it stocked in some large retailers and is also doing a tour of care homes and other institutions to read his story to them, get opinions and sell copies along the way. Primrose Croft was one of the lucky homes to get a visit and residents gathered around while he read his book. Rupert read the book with such enthusiasm and the residents really enjoyed the different voices he used for the characters.

It was great a day hearing about Rupert’s book and interesting life, the residents all felt honoured to meet him. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your stories with us; we wish you the best of luck with your book tour and hope it’s a huge success.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Rupert’s book, please click here.

29 Nov 19

Postcards for Kindness scheme brings joy to residents at Aliwal

Care homes across the Excelcare group signed up to the Postcards for Kindness scheme earlier this year. The scheme encourages people from all over the world to send postcards containing stories and messages to people living in care homes across the UK.

Residents at Aliwal Manor were particularly excited about this scheme and were eager to see what they would receive. Postcards for Kindness is incredibly beneficial for the residents as it provides a boost in wellbeing and helps to create connections with people from all over the world.

Within a week of signing up, the care home had already received three postcards from Middlesex, Yorkshire and Torquay. The people at Aliwal were very excited and gathered together in a group to read each postcard out-loud.

The postcard from Torquay was all about visiting the seaside and the sights and smells associated. Aliwal residents love visiting the seaside, so this sparked familiar discussion about coastal holidays they have been on in the past. For other people in the group, reading the postcard brought back memories from their group summer trip to the seaside. Everyone enjoyed reminiscing and sharing these fond memories with their friends.

The postcard from Yorkshire was about cleaning up leaves in the garden. The card also mentioned how the individual was happy that they did not live too deep in the countryside, as the recent floods have had a big impact on people living in the more rural areas of Yorkshire. This got residents thinking about their own garden and what jobs needed to be done before Christmas. They enjoyed talking about their plans to add some festive decorations outside and said this time of years brings back memories from when they decorated their own houses.

The other postcard from Middlesex was from a lady who spoke about her dad and how he taught her to knit. She went on to say that she is putting this into practice now and knitting her first pram blanket for the newest family member. This got the group talking about the important people in their lives that taught them to knit and many happy memories were recalled.

Reading these postcards brought so many smiles and encouraged people to think about special moments from their past. It was a very enjoyable session and one we hope to repeat soon!

Residents are now thinking of how to respond to each postcard and look forward to receiving more in the future.

29 Nov 19

Night shift activities at Ashlyn Care Home

Providing person-centred care is at the heart of what we do at Excelcare. This ensures that the needs of each individual are met and they are living a fun and fulfilling life.

Team members at Ashlyn Care Home take pride in delivering this type of care to all the people living there. With a number of residents living with conditions that affect their sleep, team members developed a quiet night activity program to engage these people.

Much like day-time activities, team members keep the schedule varied and adapt them to ensure other residents who are able to sleep are not disturbed. Some of these activities include dominos, card games, socialising sessions with hot drinks and film evenings to name a few.

This helps to keep people feeling calm and avoids restless nights in bed. Taking residents away for a chat or a cup of tea helps to limit feelings of confusion and can aid with a more peaceful sleep when they go back to bed. For those who live with dementia, this night activity programme can be really beneficial as the condition can confuse a persons body clock, meaning they wake up much earlier than others or may not sleep at all.

Night activity sessions at Ashlyn have proven to be helpful for many of the residents and they thoroughly enjoy some quiet time with like-minded people in the evening.

Those who have taken part in night activity classes have had a great time and felt the benefits of being up when they are awake. The team are constantly developing the programme and introducing other suitable activities they can take part in.

28 Nov 19

Ark Farm visits Glennfield to host animal experience with the residents

The residents at Glennfield Care Home had a fun-filled day with some furry friends when Ark Farm came to visit.

Ark Farm specialise in delivering animal experiences to nurseries, primary schools and those living with assistance. Their sessions aren’t only entertaining but educational too, as team members share interesting facts about each animal during the class.

The people living at Glennfield were really excited about this activity as it offered the opportunity for some one-to-one interaction with a variety of different animals. This all-inclusive experience also meant that the residents could take part in the comfort of their own home, meaning everyone had the opportunity to get involved.

Ark Farm brought along a selection of different animals when they visited which included chickens, rabbits, hedgehogs and barn owls to name a few. The residents were really excited to meet them all and after a short safety chat, they could!

All of the group members initially enjoyed watching the animals as they roamed around and got used to the environment. Team members from Ark Farm then assisted and showed the residents how to handle each animal safely. After a short time, all of the residents were interacting with the different animals and especially enjoyed feeling the different textures of their fur/feathers.

This activity helped to spark conversation amongst the group about pets they owned in the past. Everyone enjoyed sharing fond memories and it was touching to hear about the bonds that they each shared with their animals.

The Glennfield residents had a great afternoon meeting, patting and stroking the animals from Ark Farm, we look forward to seeing them again soon!

28 Nov 19

Moses the Chihuahua boosts wellbeing at Brook House

Christine is a resident at Brook House Care Home in Cambridge and is lucky to have a supportive family that are very involved with her care. Her daughter and son-in-law visit her every week to see how she is getting on and always bring a special guest with them, Moses the Chihuahua.

Moses has not only helped to bring Christine joy, but also many of the other residents at Brook House. His approachable and caring nature always rubs off on them and they can’t resist giving him a cuddle. One of the residents took an instant shine to Moses and offered to take him for a walk around the garden. This particular resident hadn’t been in the garden before, so team members were happy to see the positive impact he had on the individual.

Time with dogs and other animals is very beneficial for the residents, as it encourages them to keep active and provides them with a unique sense of companionship. Even sitting and stoking them has positive benefits, as it temporarily gives them something to look after, providing a boost in wellbeing and sense of self-purpose.

At Brook House, they’re lucky to have a number of families that are involved in their loved ones care and own a dog, so residents regularly enjoy and benefit from their company. This often sparks conversations about dogs and residents enjoy reminiscing as they share stories about animals they have owned in the past.

All of the residents really enjoy the company of animals, so team members have arranged for a Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog to come and visit the residents on a weekly basis. Their previous PAT dog, Mitzie has now retired, so Labrador, Buddy has been assigned as their new furry friend. Everyone is really excited to meet him and watch new friendships form at Brook House!

28 Nov 19

Goldenley residents enjoy afternoon tea with a view of the sea

Residents and team members from Goldenley Care Home enjoyed a trip to The Cliffs Pavillion, a theatre in Southend-on-sea with stunning views over the harbour. They weren’t there to watch a performance though, as team members had organised for an afternoon tea in one of their luxury suites.

Everyone was particularly excited about this trip, as their previous plans to visit had been spoiled by the wet weather. So, Faith found an indoor venue meaning the rain couldn’t put off their plans again!

With the sun shining over Southend and a minibus full of excited residents, it was bound to be a great day. As the group were travelling through the town, they enjoyed singing some of their favourite songs, including some Christmas anthems! There was lots of energy and excitement during the journey which got everyone in good spirits.

After arriving at the Cliffs Pavillion, residents headed up to one of the suites where their afternoon tea would be served. They immediately commented on the views of the surrounding harbour and sea, saying how beautiful it looked. Some of the group also shared their compliments to the staff for so being welcoming and friendly.

The service was brilliant too and as a selection of cakes and sandwiches were brought out, the residents said what a great spread they had put together. It all looked very professional and the presentation of the food went down well!

As the group sat and ate, talk to turned to the food and how nice it all was. This spurred a conversation about war-time rations, as some of the residents remember how rare it was to get sweets back then. It was great hearing stories from their past which also highlighted how much times have changed.

After a very fun and filling afternoon, the residents headed off to tell their friends back at the care home about their day. On the way down, Faith met two members of staff who told her about a dementia-friendly storytelling event they hold called, “Telling Tales at the Theatre”. With many residents living with dementia at Goldenley, Faith thought it would be great to get involved with and said she will do some research into it back at the care home.

It was a very special day and one we all want to repeat again soon!

28 Nov 19

St Fillans Care Home residents pet Pygmy Goats

The residents at St Fillans Care Home, Essex, had an exciting day recently when a group of pygmy goats came to visit.

Pygmy goats are surprisingly calm animals and like to be stroked, so the residents always enjoy their company and calming nature. This helps to boost wellbeing too, as it gives them a chance to interact with animals and enjoy some quiet, controlled time with them. For people living with dementia, this is especially beneficial as they can sit, chat and reminisce with their friends, whilst enjoying the feel of the goat’s soft fur.

Blackwater Alpacas and Goats were behind the trip and brought along their pygmy goats to spend some time with the residents. The goats were only two weeks old so the residents were surprised at how small they were. Knowing they were only babies was more impactful for some of the residents, as not only did they want to stroke them, but mother them too!

As they sat in their chairs, team members from the company put a goat on each of the resident’s laps and ensured they were comfortable before starting the session. Residents were then free to stroke them, speak to them if they wished, or engage in group conversation whilst petting their animal.

The people at St Fillans love this type of relaxed animal interaction as it’s accessible for all and makes for a very personal experience. It’s not often that the residents can get so close to these animals and engage with them, so they savour and make the most of every moment.

All of the residents came away from the session with a smile on their face and talk of the visit spanned into the evening around the dinner, a sign that this was very much enjoyed!

Thanks to Blackwater Alpacas and Goats for coming by to host this experience with the residents, the boost in well-being and mood was noticed by all the team members. We look forward to seeing you all again soon!

27 Nov 19

Longfield celebrate win at The Prosper Awards

Every year, Essex County Council invite nominations from Care Providers, volunteers, residents and relatives for their prestigious care awards, The Prospers. They receive hundreds of nominations from around the county. This year, two nominations made by a regular visitor and supporter of our Longfield Care Home, Anne Jenkins, were shortlisted.

The kitchen team were shortlisted in the category of Outstanding Diet, Nutrition and Hydration and Margaret Leach was shortlisted for the very special award of Outstanding Carer/Support Worker.

The team were invited to attend The Prospers awards ceremony for a 3 course meal at Chelmsford City Racecourse; a beautiful venue with a fantastic atmosphere. Home Manager, Gina Copsey, said “We were very proud to be shortlisted and even more proud when the winners were announced!”

Margaret achieved a commendation in the Outstanding Carer category for consistently putting others first. “She is kind, caring, and a wonderful mentor to new staff. Plus she regularly goes over and above and gives her own time to make the lives of our residents better.” Gina commented.

Longfield Kitchen Team were the overall winners of the diet, Nutrition, and Hydration category. Head Chef Anna Selfversparra, has worked at Longfield for 10 years and alongside her colleagues Nick Holland, Nina Tullett and Peter Tullett always goes the extra mile for residents. Every member of the kitchen team makes a huge effort to get to know residents and makes note of preferences and special requests, tailoring the menu to include special dishes requested by them. Their tasty international cuisine, including Mediterranean, Indian, Caribbean and Chinese dishes is very popular! However, it is the kitchen teams’ commitment to combatting the common risks in older people of weight loss and dehydration that really stood out to the judges. The team have made sure they are well educated in MUST scores, food textures and fortification and make sure they always know if a resident is at risk or has lost weight. They work closely with the senior team, the residents and their families to find the right, person-centred approach for each individual.

Gina concluded, “This is the second year in a row Longfield has received awards at The Prospers. What will 2020 bring? Third time lucky we hope!” Congratulations from everyone at Excelcare to the team at Longfield. The awards are well deserved!