11 Oct 19

Team Members at Glennfield ask residents ‘what makes you smile?’

Team members at Glennfield Care home provide person-centred care to the residents, ensuring the things they do are exciting and beneficial too. This week, the residents of Glennfield were asked, ‘what makes you smile?’, when a smile jar was introduced at the care home.

Team members have asked everyone to write the things down that make them grin on a piece of paper and in a couple of weeks, they will be able to read all of the things that make the people living there smile.

Not only could this be used to create a homely piece of art, but will be informative for the Lifestyle Coordinators as they will be able to further tailor their schedule and activities towards the things that bring people joy.

Those who work at Glennfield know that smiling has a range of benefits to a person’s wellbeing and can be enough to brighten someone’s day. Equally, this jar will provide valuable information that can form interesting conversations with the residents about the things that make them happy.

It’s already helping to spread happiness around the care home and the team have found that just mentioning the smile jar is enough to crack a smile. As the weeks go on, we hope to fill the jar with the positivity that flows around Glennfield each day and encourage everyone to keep smiling.

10 Oct 19

When Archie came to help at Castlemead Court

Team members at Excelcare, always encourage locals or people who have some free time in the week to come and visit the residents, whether it’s for a quick chat or take part in activities, it gives them a warm feeling knowing people in the community not only recognise they are there but want to come and see them too.

During the summer holidays this year, Archie came to offer his support to Castlemead Court. Most school children wouldn’t give up their summer holiday to volunteer, but Archie asked his mum, who works at Castlemead, if he could come and help out. Home Manager, Tracy was delighted that he had offered to help and welcomed him with open arms.

Upon arriving at Castlemead, Archie fitted himself right in, speaking to the residents, team members and touring the care home to learn about the different areas. This reflected in his attitude to helping out too, as he didn’t shy away from anything and came with a can-do attitude that we didn’t expect. He was joining in with activities, handing out drinks to the residents and helping to move bedsheets and small boxes around the care home, all with a smile on his face.

The people who live at Castlemead loved his company too and was refreshing for them to mix with the younger generations. For all his hard work, residents shared sweets and other treats with him which he certainly enjoyed.

Over the course of the 4 weeks, Archie showed real dedication to the people at Castlemead Court and his mum even said he was up and ready before she was. He embedded himself into life at Castlemead very well and by the end of his time, he knew everyone who lived and worked here. His enthusiasm and kindness have certainly had a lasting impact on everyone here and we truly miss having him around.

To thank Archie for all of his hard work and dedication to Castlemead Court, the whole team grouped together to pay him his first wage packet. His hard work was also noticed by Chief Operating Officer, Sam Manning, who sent him a thank you card and voucher for helping out.

Thanks again Archie, you’re a star!

10 Oct 19

Residents enjoy flower arranging session at Buchan House Care Home

Due to the growing popularity of flower activities at Buchan House Care Home, Lifestyle Coordinator Debbie hosted another one-to-one flower arranging session. These activities mean whether the residents are physically mobile or not, they are still able to take part in the session.

Wini is a resident at Buchan House who is especially talented when it comes to flower arranging. She used to arrange all of the flowers displays at her local church, so this activity allowed her to engage with a passion whilst reminiscing. As she has limited mobility, Debbie went along to her bedroom and hosted the activity from there.

A selection of Pink and White flowers, which are Wini’s favourites, were handed to her and she had a great time looking, smelling and picking out the prettiest ones. As she took time arranging flowers in the vase, the discussion moved on to Wini’s past helping the church and even gave Debbie some flower arranging tips.

The bouquet looked beautiful when Wini was finished and you could see she still has the skills that she developed when helping at church.

Activities like this are a great, inclusive way of allowing residents of all capabilities to engage outside of their usual day-to-day lives, whilst supporting them with one-on-one time with team members.

Because she enjoyed the session so much, Wini has kindly offered to arrange the care home’s flowers in the future which will not only increase her sense of self-purpose but also provide more regular opportunities to practice her hobby!

10 Oct 19

Evelyn’s surprise birthday party at Goldenley Care Home

A big part of providing person-centred care is celebrating things that are important for the residents, including birthdays, life achievements and overcoming any challenges they face.

Lifestyle Coordinator Faith, always ensures when residents reach these momentous stages in their life, they are properly celebrated. The most recent resident to receive one of these special celebrations was Evelyn, who had a birthday approaching. Since arriving at Goldenley, Evelyn has made some close friends, who can usually be found chatting and laughing together in the communal spaces. Faith wanted both Joan and Maureen to be part of her special day and so decided to host a surprise afternoon tea party in their cosy, on-site tea room.

Faith started preparations by decorating the room with banners and balloons, before letting Joan and Maureen in on her surprise plans. They were delighted to be invited and promised to keep it a secret.

On Evelyn’s birthday, she had a great morning with the residents, relatives and team members all wishing her a happy birthday and giving her cards, gifts and messages. As the afternoon approached, Faith asked Evelyn to come along to the tea room to help her with something. As she entered, Joan and Maureen shouted ‘surprise!’ which brought a big smile to her face. She had no idea that this was being arranged and was very grateful to Faith and her friends for putting it on.

They enjoyed cream teas together whilst having a chat and a good laugh. As Evelyn was born in Dublin, Faith sang her an Irish song and before long, everyone had joined in.

We hope you had a great day celebrating with us Evelyn and we look forward to celebrating together again next year!

9 Oct 19

Sherrell House residents go to tea with the Mad Hatter

The residents, friends and relatives of Sherrell House Care Home celebrated Silver Sunday in style this week by hosting a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Excited for the day ahead, residents helped team members to decorate the pub lounge with balloons and sparkly items. With everyone helping out, the lounge was looking tea party-ready in no time!

To fit the theme of ‘Silver Sunday’, the tea party had a silver dress code meaning residents could fully immerse themselves in the activity. Music, games and a buffet had been set-up with special guest, Mrs Hatter, to provide a twist to the usual tea party which everyone enjoyed. The whole group were impressed with Mrs Hatter’s outfit and you could really see the effort the team and residents had put in to make this a success.

As the music played, residents began taking part in different activities with their friends. Some people opted for a more relaxed afternoon, playing board games as the music played, while others were on their feet dancing with Mrs Hatter. As the day progressed, team members brought around a wireless microphone, encouraging each resident to sing along to the music and engage with the environment around them. With all this exciting activity, there was a new wave of energy which swept the care home and had everyone in a positive mood.

After the tea party had ended, residents like Kath, pictured, took the opportunity to get a snap with Mrs Hatter, helping to encapsulate their happy memories at Sherrell House.

9 Oct 19

The Sign Shop provides helpful environments for Excelcare Homes

In care homes across the Excelcare group, it’s important that the residents feel safe, secure and are encouraged to maintain their independence. Whether it’s washing up their own plate or choosing an activity for the day, these little things help to better the lives of people in our care.

However, residents who live with dementia can sometimes feel confused, disorientated or see the world differently. Team members are trained to help these residents find their way around, calm anxiety and enable them to live well, but it’s also important to encourage them to maintain their independence where possible.

To help people find their way around, we have implemented a helpful environment in each care home. One of the ways in which this has been done is through installing clear and effective types of signage, depending on its purpose.

To help deliver this accurately and consistently in Excelcare care homes, we have partnered with The Sign Shop.

The Sign Shop is a company that offer professional signage solutions to care homes and other organisations. Their approach is grounded in research and they know the best and most effective ways of communicating to people and those who live with different conditions.

They have recently launched a brand new division, specifically targeted at providing unique and interesting signage options to care homes in the UK. To discuss the new opportunities and offerings this has opened up, we spoke to Jamie, Owner and Managing Director at The Sign Shop.

“We first started the sign company in 1997, so have been operating for over 20 years. We cover a range of different types of commercial signage, office branding, vehicle signwriting and much more.


Most recently, we have launched a new, dedicated strand of our company that specifically aims at delivering effective signage displays to care home in the UK. We have a number of years’ experience creating and installing signage in care homes and wanted to have a separate focus on this as it’s so important and we recognise the correct signage can change a person’s life.


Our signage displays are also backed with research and case studies so we know they work. Our standard signs for care homes are round in shape and have a yellow background with black text laid on top. This type of sign has been proven to be most effective when communicating to people living with dementia.


We also produce encapsulating room and door themes, creating a more engaging and colourful display. This type of signage uses familiar pictures, icons and simple wording – meaning it serves a very clear purpose, whilst also making the wall brighter and more vibrant. This really help to transform a space and eases wayfinding, whilst enabling independence.”

The Sign Company has increased the independence of residents in our care, but also helped to transform and re-invent spaces within our care homes. We’ve seen the resident’s reactions when they see and instantly understand the function of each room – making their lives and the lives of team members just that little bit easier.

The Sign Shop has recently supported us with the interior refurbishment at our Park Avenue Care Home in Bromley and both the Manager and our interior project coordinator feedback on the professionalism and support provided by Jamie and his team. They helped to ensure the changes happened smoothly and without disturbance to the residents.

If you, or any organisation you may know could benefit from some updated and effective signage options, we recommend getting in touch with jamie@thesign-shop.co.uk .

9 Oct 19

Autumn inspired arts and crafts at Aliwal Manor Care Home

The change of seasons throughout the year brings delight to each of the residents here at Aliwal Manor. They enjoy watching the outside environment slowly change and seeing the new wildlife and plants that appear.

The transition into autumn is the resident’s favourite seasonal change, as colourful leaves drop from the trees and transform the garden floor. Lifestyle Coordinator, Deborah, decided to use these leaves to inspire an arts activity with an autumnal-theme. She used leaves from the garden and recycled some old jigsaw pieces, meaning all materials in the craft session were reused. If you look around, Deborah said, you can always find something to reuse and turn into a unique craft decoration.

During the session, residents were tasked with creating a picture of an autumn tree, using the recycled materials available. Residents loved the fact they were using real leaves from trees outside and helped to immerse them in the task. It was great seeing people focussed on the activity and connecting with the changes in the outside world. This is really important for people who live with dementia as it helps to keep them living in the moment.

This was a really great session and one that encouraged the residents to show their creative side. Proud of what they created, the artwork has now been hung on the walls around Aliwal Manor for some home-made, autumn décor!

8 Oct 19

Residents at Goldenley Care Home celebrate World Animal Day

Faith is a Lifestyle Coordinator at Goldenley Care Home and this week, hosted an ‘African Animal Quiz’ to celebrate World Animal Day. Africa is home to a wide variety of big cats, reptiles and other interesting animals, making for an exciting quiz topic.

In preparation, Faith printed off some images of the different animals that live in Africa with some facts below each. This helped to provide residents with a visual prompt and the opportunity to learn more about each animal after the session.

As the quiz started, residents enjoyed naming the animals that live in Africa as well as a few that are now unfortunately extinct. Other questions followed that tested the resident’s knowledge of the biggest animals in Africa and which were considered the most dangerous. It was great hearing how much they knew and stories of times they have been face to face with these animals, from family days at the zoo to safari trips abroad.

After the quiz had finished, Faith began showing the residents some pictures of different animals and sharing interesting facts about each. Connie was one of the residents who took part and was shocked when she saw the size of the Hippo in the photo, as she didn’t realise how big they were. Leopards and Lions were also discussed and the group were impressed to learn that Leopards can run at speeds of up 60 km/h.

We all had a great time celebrating World Animal Day as they are such an important and loved part of our planet. Residents enjoyed testing their knowledge and learning some new facts too, which they said will be helpful during future quiz sessions with their family and friends.

8 Oct 19

Residents from Buchan House go on personal shopping trip

Team members at Buchan House regularly host one-to-one meetings with the residents to hear their thoughts, feelings and any concerns they may be having. These meetings also provide the opportunity for people to make activity requests too, which team members do their best to accommodate.

During recent meetings with the residents at the care home, a number of people requested to go on a personal shopping trip, so they could get some health and beauty items and maybe treat themselves to some new clothes too.

Some of the people living at the care home have restricted mobility, meaning they aren’t able to go into town as frequently. To help solve this, team members decided to take smaller groups of residents more regularly, so each had more time, attention and would be able to visit all the shops they wanted to.

This week, residents Hazel and Joan headed into town with Lifestyle Coordinator Debbie. As they arrived, Hazel’s daughter Chrissie joined the group to help out and do a bit of shopping herself. This brought a huge smile to Hazel’s face as not only was she able to have a browse around the shops, but also spend some quality time with her daughter too.

The group had a great afternoon wandering the shops and picking up the items they needed. This also provided the opportunity for residents to speak to some of the local people too, helping them to stay connected to others in the community.

After walking around the shops and buying the things they needed, the group had time to stop at a local café for some tea and cake before heading back home.

8 Oct 19

Queens Oak residents celebrate National Smile Day

Residents at Queens Oak Care Home were grinning from ear to ear as they celebrated National Smile Day last week. The national day is recognised on the first Friday of November and encourages people to do kind actions and share a smile with the people they love.

Team members always encourage residents to take part in activities that provide a boost to their wellbeing. Whether it’s reading a book or playing a board game with a friend, maintaining a positive mood can help overcome other life challenges too.

To celebrate the day, the catering team had prepared a selection of cupcakes and hot drinks, while Lifestyle Coordinator, Marilyn booked MJ Sounds to come in and perform. Residents not only love socialising with their friends in communal spaces but also the experience of live music, so this was sure to bring a few smiles around the care home.

As the residents took their seats and chose a cake, MJ Sounds began playing some familiar songs from years gone by. Residents loved the mix of tunes they played and soon had people up on their feet dancing away. The whole group enjoyed the energy that MJ Sounds brought to Queens Oak and the residents had a great time singing and tapping along.

In between songs, residents took the opportunity to chat with their friends and share stories connected to the music they were hearing. It was great fun and the mix of afternoon tea with some live music provided the perfect balance for residents to engage however they liked;  whether it was dancing away to the music or enjoying a conversation with their friends.

As the afternoon drew to a close, people thanked MJ Sounds for providing the music and had a big smile on their face while doing so. It’s safe to say National Smile Day was a huge success and will be a day we continue to celebrate here at Queens Oak.