13 Aug 19

Park Avenue residents take a tour of Ruxley Manor

The team and residents from Park Avenue Care Home headed to Ruxley Manor Garden Centre for a tour of the pots and plants this week. Many of the people living at Park Avenue enjoy sitting in the garden and looking at the brightly coloured flowers so they were all excited for the trip.

When the group arrived, they headed to the outdoor space so they could take a look at all of the exotic plants and flowers. As they walked around, residents were pointing out their favourite plants as well as ones they used to have in their own gardens. There were lots of happy conversations and everyone enjoyed interacting with each other out in the open.

This was a highly stimulating experience for the residents as not only could they look at the plants, but smell and touch them too. For those receiving dementia care, this means they are more likely to remember the trip or at least have other cues to spark a memory.

The group then made their away around the rest of the garden centre, stopping to look at the furniture and some of the colourful fish they had on display. They had a great time seeing all the different species as well as some of the larger pond fish outside.

After touring most of the garden centre, they stopped at the on-site café for a hot drink and a slice of cake before heading back to Park Avenue.

Everyone had an excellent day at Ruxley Manor and the residents look forward to their next visit.

13 Aug 19

Primrose Croft residents enjoy sunny trip to Hunstanton Beach

Residents from Primrose Croft were beaming with excitement this week for their trip to Hunstanton Beach. The sun was shining and everyone was looking forward to the coastal atmosphere and fish and chips for lunch!

With the minibus ready and waiting, the group headed out to start the journey to Hunstanton Beach. The drive was filled with laughter and lots of singing which added to the excitement for the day ahead. Lynda, who organises the day trips, had brought along her brother Cliff, to help the team and meet some of the residents living at Primrose Croft.

Derek is a resident at the care home and took an instant liking to Cliff as they had lots in common. They shared some interesting stories and connected over their mutual friends who live in Cambridge. After becoming friends in a short space of time, Cliff said he will come to visit Derek so they can catch-up frequently and find out what else they have in common.

After all the singing and chatting in the minibus, everyone had worked up an appetite so lunch was the first stop of the day. The group bought fish and chips and sat with a view of the sea as they enjoyed their much-anticipated meal. Ice-cream was for dessert which made everyone feel full, so a walk along the seafront was due.

During the walk, the group stopped occasionally to admire the stunning sea views and look at the other families having fun together. This brought back fond memories for some of the residents from days out at the beach with their family, making sandcastles and splashing in the water. As they walked along the front and the crowds started to grow, they stopped in some of the souvenir shops to look for something to take home with them. Lynda spotted some nice fridge magnets and decided to take them back to the care home for the people who couldn’t make it on the trip.

As the day drew to a close, everyone seemed tired from a busy day at the seaside and a quiet journey home was expected. However, when the group boarded the bus there was even more singing and conversation than there had been in the morning. Everyone was talking about their favourite moments from the day and singing along to the radio. The bus driver said that it had been the most entertaining drive out of all the outings she had done.

All of the residents said they had the most perfect day; they felt very special and honoured the way that Lynda and her team had looked after them all.

13 Aug 19

Eileen and Christiane flourish during flower arranging session

Care homes across the Excelcare group host a range of different activities to match the individual needs of the residents. For those who are independently mobile, group activities in communal areas are possible, but each of the care homes have a selection of people with physical limitations and those who prefer to stay in their room. To accommodate the needs of these residents, Lifestyle Coordinators host one-to-one activity sessions that are less physical and can be done from the comfort of their own space.

Debbie is a Lifestyle Coordinator at Buchan House and this week, held a one to one flower arranging session with Christiane and Eileen. One to one visits with people that are based in their room has a very positive effect as it helps them to feel valued and gives them some important alone time with the team members to talk about how they are feeling, any specific wants or needs or just catch-up and get to know each other better.

In preparation for the flower arranging session, Debbie asked Christiane and Eileen what their favourite flowers and colours were to ensure the activity was personal to them. Debbie then headed out and bought some flowers that she knew they would love.

After returning to the care home, Debbie went to each of their rooms, helping them to position the flowers and giving them tips about which ones would look nice next to each other. The residents had the final say though and they both enjoyed getting creative and trying out different designs.

Christiane and Eileen had a great time arranging flowers in their rooms and have created something that will serve as a reminder of their special day with Debbie.

12 Aug 19

Residents complete garden makeover at Longfield Care Home

The team and residents at Longfield Care Home have been working hard to transform their garden into a beautiful outdoor space. They planted some vegetable seeds earlier in the year and with all the recent sun and rain, the first batch of tomatoes were ready to pick this week. Many of the people living at Longfield used to own their own garden so they enjoy keeping it looking fresh and full.

After picking the tomatoes, a group from the care home headed to the local garden centre to do some shopping. Longfield has also installed a sensory garden at the care home, so a range of bright and interesting plants were on the shopping list.

As the group made their way around the garden centre, they were pointing out their favourite plants and making suggestions about what would look good in the garden. After lots of conversation, the residents picked out a selection of flowers to take back with them.

Arriving back at the care home, every one helped to plant the new flowers in the garden with the assistance of Tony, the sensory garden manager. As you can see, it’s looking more colourful than ever with a range of different plants filling the space. Everyone was incredibly pleased with the way it turned out and Tony has pledged to keep it looking great.

As well as all the other outdoor fun, each different area in the care home has planted their own sunflower seed in the garden and have set up a friendly competition to see which one grows the biggest.

Everyone at Longfield is having great fun spending more time in the garden and caring for the plants. It provides a boost to their overall sense of wellbeing and gives them a stimulating space they can go to relax.

12 Aug 19

Glennfield residents get moving with Extend Chair Exercise

This week, Extend Chair Exercise came back to Glennfield to host a session with people living at the care home. Extend Chair Exercise is a group that provide inclusive training classes that help to improve the symptoms of age-related conditions. Their classes offer low intensity, chair-based exercise that helps to improve the physical and mental health of those living in care homes across the UK.

After many successful sessions at Glennfield, instructor Shelly returned to host the class. The residents love the energy she brings and the way it is set-up like a party, rather than a workout. Shelly always ensures the residents have fun during the sessions as it keeps them motivated to return. She introduces everyday objects that help to increase the difficulty of the exercises and keep everyone engaged. Using easy to access objects also means that the group can practice in their spare time and maintain a healthy schedule.

During the class, residents took part in a range of movement and stretch based exercises that help to increase mobility levels. One of the residents (pictured) was handed a soft foam ball, which was used as a light tension tool to strengthen hand and wrist movement.

As Shelly drew the session to a close, the group thanked her for coming back and making the class so fun.

Thanks for another successful session at Glennfield, we all look forward to welcoming you back.

12 Aug 19

Dorothy gets fulfilling voluntary role at Hunters Down

Some of the people living at care homes across the Excelcare group volunteer to take on a role within the place they live to help support team members. For example, Derek, who lives at Primrose Croft, welcomes people as they arrive and ensures they sign in and out when visiting. A simple job, but one that he enjoys doing and also helps the team to keep track of who has been in and out.

For the residents that have a desire to help and are able to, a role often heightens their sense of self-purpose and gives them something meaningful they can accomplish regularly. It helps them to feel valued and provides them with a routine to stick to. Other positive effects include a boost in confidence and improved communication skills so we always try to find a role for residents when they ask.

Dorothy, a resident at Hunters Down Care Home, has been looking for a role within the care home or something she can do to help out. As she sat down to have a chat with Pearl, the Regional Lifestyle & Well-Being Lead, she learnt about Pearl’s new position within the marketing team, writing short stories that head office edit and share on a daily basis. Dorothy was interested in this and said she would enjoy reading the stories and learning about some of the other residents’ lives. Pearl was keen to make her a part of the process and so now, Dorothy proof-reads each story before it is sent to head office.

Since taking on her role, Dorothy said it’s been interesting to read the stories from other residents and care homes in Cambridge. She thoroughly enjoys having something new to read every day and learning about other people’s exciting lives.

12 Aug 19

The Banjo Man arrives at Buchan House for acoustic performance

Sean Moyses, better known as ‘The Banjo Man’, travelled to Buchan House last week to perform for the residents. Sean plays a range of well known, upbeat songs that never fail to get the group up on their feet and encourages interaction throughout the show. He plays songs that help to bring back memories from the past and ensures that everyone is feeling entertained.

Residents gathered in the Snowdrop lounge waiting for The Banjo Man to arrive. Sean is one of the favourite musical performance acts that visit Buchan House, so the people living there are always excited to hear him play.

For this particular visit, Sean had a special acoustic set planned with some interactive moments that everyone could get involved with. As he started to play, he worked his way around the room, sitting with each individual for a special one on one performance. Residents sang along and there were lots of feet tapping to the rhythm of the music. For those who weren’t singing, Sean encouraged them to get involved and after some persuasion, everyone was taking part!

Sean’s music really helps to brighten our residents’ day and has a positive impact on everyone’s wellbeing. The performance was thoroughly enjoyed by all and we look forward to welcoming Sean back to Buchan House very soon!

9 Aug 19

Excelcare trains team members in Mental Health First Aid

Team members from across the Excelcare Group completed their Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE) training this week. Representatives from different departments attended a two-day course to equip them to support colleagues who may be facing challenges with their mental health.

The training forms part of a wellbeing strategy that’s being introduced throughout the company to ensure that team members facing difficult times at work, or at home, can seek early support from their colleagues within the business.

The training course was broken down into four half-day sessions, with each targeting a different form of mental illness, how to recognise the symptoms and how to assist from that point. It was delivered through a mix of theory-driven exercises and practical activities that helped to provide an understanding of each condition and in some cases, experience what it feels likes for the people it affects.

One of the exercises that left an impression on the team members was an activity used to educate about psychosis. Attendees were split into groups of three with person ‘A’, instructed to have a conversation with person ‘B’, whilst person ‘C’ whispered a selection of unrelated phrases in person ‘B’s ear. The aim was to experience how it felt to live with psychosis and how challenging day to day life with the condition can be.

Lesley Blower, Learning and Development Manager at Excelcare attended the course and had this to say, “Becoming qualified in mental health first aid has helped to give me a greater awareness of the challenges some people face on a daily basis. We’re now looking at how we can expand this initiative throughout the company to effectively support any of our staff during a time of need.”

One thing the course highlighted is that mental health conditions can be just as debilitating as physical disabilities and the importance of seeking help early.

Every member of the team that attended the MHFAE training passed the course and are now qualified and confident to provide initial help. There are plans in place to train other teams across the business and ensure that everyone has someone they can turn to.

If you or anyone you know may be facing challenges with mental health, speak to a close friend, family member or call your local crisis team.


9 Aug 19

Winifred Dell residents take seaside trip to Southend

Residents of  Winifred Dell Care Home had fun in the sun this week during a trip the Southend-on-Sea. The day was organised by Lifestyle Coordinators Clare and Jean, as they know all the residents love visiting the seaside and benefit from the fresh sea air and tranquil views.

When everyone arrived at Southend, they headed straight to the beach. They enjoyed seeing families playing together and the happy memories it brought back from summer days out with their families.

The next stop of the day was the Sea Life Centre, which everyone was very excited about. The group loved seeing all the different types of colourful fish and learning about where they come from. Whilst walking around the aquarium, they had the opportunity to put their hand in some of the tanks and feel the fish as they swam by. Being able to interact with them was certainly a highlight of the day and everyone commented on their weird, slimy texture!

After exploring the aquarium, the group headed to a local cafe and had Fish and Chips for lunch to round off the full seaside experience. There were lots of conversations about the different types of fish they had seen and they each took turns naming their favourites.

Days out to local attractions really help people to experience new things and gives them the chance to speak to others in the community, creating connections between wider society and the people living at Winifred Dell.

9 Aug 19

Primrose Croft residents get creative with hat art activity

Whilst in the lounge this week, Maggie, who lives at Primrose Croft, was reading a magazine and spotted an image of a woman with an assortment of pictures on top of her head. She liked the design and after telling one of the Lifestyle Coordinators at the home, they decided to turn it into a fun activity for the residents.

The team started by taking headshots of everyone that wanted to take part and printing them out onto A4 paper. A selection of pictures was then placed on the table and residents were asked to create themselves a hat, using images that mean something to them.

During the activity, residents were selecting pictures and sharing stories about why that particular item was special to them. This helped to bring back memories from the past and everyone enjoyed hearing the different reasons behind the images their friends had chosen. This also encouraged residents to tap into their creative side and make art with real meaning behind it.

After everyone had finished creating their hats, they swapped designs so they could see what others had made. There was lots of conversation and they all enjoyed looking at the different images that held personal meanings to their friends at the care home.

Maggie was thrilled that she had the opportunity to create something that she had spotted in a magazine and took pleasure in seeing other residents enjoying the activity too.