11 Sep 19

Rheola care home celebrates Peggy’s 100th Birthday

Peggy, a resident at Rheola Care Home, reached an important milestone this week as she celebrated her 100th birthday. In order to make the day special, the team had invited her close family and friends to join in with the celebrations.

In preparation for Peggy’s Birthday, the team decorated the care home and it’s garden with different birthday-themed items. A picture of Peggy with a ‘100th Birthday’ caption had been placed in reception so every visitor knew it was Peggy’s special day. In the garden, balloons and banners decorated the space making it a colourful and vibrant area.

Peggy had a big smile on her face as her family and friends arrived. She has a large family and 4 grandchildren, so she was excited to see them and find out what they had been up to. They enjoyed a catch-up over tea and coffee whilst sharing stories from the past with the rest of the group. Peggy’s grandchildren then handed her some unique, hand-made cards that included personal messages and pictures. This made her smile and they all got a big hug and kiss to say thank you.

At lunchtime, the kitchen team brought out a selection of different foods they had prepared for Peggy and her guests. Everyone began helping themselves and they enjoyed a nice chat over lunch with the team and other residents.

More surprises followed in the afternoon as Peggy was presented with a card from the Queen, wishing her a happy 100th birthday. The Chef used this moment to bring out the cake and they all sung Happy Birthday whilst Peggy enjoyed the limelight. As the day drew to a close, you could tell Peggy had enjoyed every minute.

10 Sep 19

Windmill residents head to Limetree Care Home for a carnival themed BBQ

Special occasions like carnival weekend call for special celebrations, so the team at Limetree Care Home invited the residents from Windmill to join their activity day. The team planned a carnival-themed BBQ so the groups could come together, make new friends and experience a refreshing change of scenery in the summer sunshine.

The team at Limetree Care Home had prepped for their arrival, by decorating the garden with brightly coloured objects and tropical-themed items. Garlands and other clothing accessories had been placed on the tables, so residents could immerse themselves in the theme and feel the carnival spirit.

As the residents, relatives and friends of Windmill arrived at Limetree, they were greeted with open arms and upbeat music. They all spent time meeting each other, reconnecting and catching up before taking their seats at the tables and helping themselves to drinks. Food was served in a buffet-style format, so was available for people whenever they wanted it, meaning they could fill the rest of their time dancing, singing and making happy memories with each other.

Encouraging care homes to take part in group activities, helps the residents to make new friends and gives them someone else to stay in touch with in their free time. You could certainly see this happening at the BBQ, as people were introducing themselves to each other and enjoying moments of laughter throughout the day.

The event was filled with positivity, dancing, singing and storytelling, so everyone had a great time in each other’s company.

After a thoroughly enjoyable day in the sun, the residents headed back to their care home for a much-needed rest. During the journey back, they each spent time reflecting on the day and sharing their favourite moments, making for an enjoyable trip.

10 Sep 19

Buchan House get crafty with Creative Mojo

Every month, Jenny from craft experience organisation, Creative Mojo, visits Buchan House Care Home for an all inclusive, hands-on, artistic session for anyone that wants to join in. Everyone is encouraged to have a go, as it’s fun, therapeutic, is a great way to socialise, and there’s a sense of achievement when something wonderful is produced at the end. Creative Mojo say, “With our workshops, there are no limitations, everyone can be creative. Our focus is on helping individuals’ ideas come to life.”

This time, to see off the end of summer, the group painted beautiful birds, flowers, beach huts and starfish to create a brightly-coloured beach scene. The pieces of art created are put up on display for all to see and enjoy afterwards.

Kathryn Adams, Administrator at Buchan House says, “We enjoy Jenny’s visits; it’s a great way for people to practice fine motor skills and gives them a chance to step out of their day-to-day lives. Everyone enjoys the chance to get messy and it’s lovely to see the outcome of their hard work.”

There are numerous published studies which have found that the cathartic and interactive nature of art therapy offers many benefits, both physical and psychological, including: promoting self-awareness, facilitating intellectual stimulation, improving cognitive skills and coordination and reducing anxiety and stress.

10 Sep 19

Care Homes in Cambridge celebrate National Teddy Bear Day

On September 9th, care homes in the Cambridge region celebrated national teddy bear day with the residents. Comforting items like teddy bears and dolls help people receiving dementia care by encouraging communication, helping them to keep calm and provide them with an outlet to care for something.

Each care home in the region did something different to get involved and celebrate with the residents. Buchan House, for example, hosted a Teddy Bear picnic in the afternoon, where people gathered in the lounge and told stories about the bears they brought with them. Some had travelled thousands of miles from where they were bought, others had been made by the residents but all had huge sentimental value. This session really helped people to connect and speak about forgotten memories using their teddy bears as a prompt.

As well as residents celebrating their special items, the regional team did too and each took the time to pose with their bears and tell the story behind each. Pearl is the Regional Lifestyle Coordinator in Cambridge and told a story of how she caught her favourite teddy at an Elvis Tribute concert in Portsmouth, while he was singing the song ‘Teddy Bear’.

As you can see, these items hold important memories for residents and team members, giving each of them something to cherish and special memories to hold on to.

10 Sep 19

Primrose Croft’s story behind the song tree

Rita and Barbara, residents of Primrose Croft Care Home, helped create a Story behind the Song tree to display in their reception.

Excelcare’s Lifestyle and Innovation Team, launched a ‘Stories behind the Songs’ movement for the whole group on 1st August, with a view to finding out about team members, residents and their families’ favourite or special songs that hold a meaning for them. Primrose Croft found that people had so many interesting and personal stories relating to songs and their lyrics, that they created a ‘tree’ to display publicly to remember them and play them during social occasions.

Ursula, who lives at Primrose Croft, explained to Home Manager, Ruby, that her favourite song is Here I am Lord, and she could remember the title but not the words to the song. The team searched for the song online, and played it for her. Ursula was thrilled to hear the hymn again and said it makes her feel closer to God. She was presented with a copy of the words to the song, so she’ll always remember them and she responded to say they had made her day!

In 2018, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia and the Deputy Chief Allied Health Professions Officer looked at how music can trigger golden memories and benefit people with dementia.  They found that music and memory have a powerful connector. Music lights up emotional memories, we can recall the music that was playing during childhood; the song at a wedding, or other happy occasion. Music can have many benefits in particular for those living with dementia. It can help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, enhances quality of life and also has a positive impact on carers.

10 Sep 19

Ice cream provides some heat relief for the residents at Glennfield

During the recent hot weather around the UK, Glennfield Care Home has been beating the heat by hosting ice cream decorating sessions with the residents. Most of the residents love ice-cream and arts and crafts, so the Lifestyle Coordinators combined the activities together, allowing people to have fun whilst cooling off.

A selection of cones, ice creams, sprinkles and sauces were set out for residents to customise their ice-creams with. Each took it in turns to choose their favourite flavour, scoop it into a cone and finish it off with their favourite toppings. Some of the residents got creative and added multiple toppings, whilst others decided to keep theirs plain. This helped to keep everyone cool and allowed them to flex their creative muscles whilst doing so.

Residents enjoyed eating their ice-creams in the lounge with one saying, “I hadn’t enjoyed an ice-cream cone since some years ago whilst at the seaside, so this was a lovely treat”. It was great hearing that this activity helped to bring back memories from the past and re-introduce a treat that some haven’t enjoyed for a while.

Combining activities that are fun and beneficial is great way of encouraging residents to take part and allows them to enjoy the activity, whilst reaping the benefits.


9 Sep 19

Residents gather for communal coffee morning at Buchan House

Day trips, events and visits to local attractions are a regular occurrence for the residents at Buchan House. Organised by the Lifestyle Coordinators, they help to bring variety and entertainment to everyone’s schedule. However, sometimes they arrange activities within the care home that allow residents to simply enjoy each others company and focus on building relationships and new connections.

A recent coffee morning allowed residents to do just that and congregate in the communal courtyard. Buchan House has separate areas for people that require different types of care, so this gave everyone an opportunity to see each other and spend some time catching up.

The sun was shining as the groups arrived and it was great to see people connecting with new residents and others they hadn’t met before. As everyone took their seats, the group enjoyed a hot drink and some biscuits whilst telling stories about their week. You could hear talks of recent days out, birthdays and special achievements in their families. It was great to see everyone smiling and just enjoying each other’s company.

Buchan House has a range of different outdoor spaces that friends, families and relatives can use at their leisure. It helps to encourage physical activity and in turn, betters the overall health of the people living in the care home.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the coffee morning, socialising with others and making new friendships for the future. It had a really positive effect on the group’s wellbeing and has helped to build stronger connections between the team and residents of Buchan House.



9 Sep 19

Ashlyn residents visit the River Stort for a scenic boat trip

Residents from Ashlyn Care home recently visited the River Stort, which runs through Harlow, for a special trip on a riverboat. The residents love being out in the open and especially enjoy scenic views of the countryside, so this was a much-anticipated trip and one that not many have done before.

The spacious riverboat had room for residents to relax inside and enjoy views from the window or standing space above for those who wanted a closer look. As the journey started, the group enjoyed looking at the changing scenery from each side of the boat. Swans were floating by and birds flying over the surrounding fields, so they each took turns trying to name the birds and other animals they spotted during the trip.

The team and residents were occupied by skilled crew members who guided the boat during the journey but halfway through the trip, they offered Robert a chance to steer the boat. Robert is an outgoing, independent resident at Ashlyn and always involves himself in the activities, so jumped at the opportunity to take control. With the help of the captain, Robert navigated the boat down the river to a mooring point, where the group stopped off for a picnic. Surrounded by views of nature and tranquil sounds of the river, it was a very enjoyable yet calming lunch for all.

The group then re-boarded the boat and headed back up the river to where they had started, taking in views they had missed on the way down. As the boat pulled in at the dock, everyone was commenting on how much they enjoyed the trip and thanked the captain (and Robert) for such a smooth ride.

It was an enjoyable day in the tranquil countryside and one that will definitely be repeated in the future!

9 Sep 19

The sun arrives for ‘Summer Funday’ at Lime Court

The annual ‘Summer Funday’ at Lime Court Care Home is attended by residents, friends, relatives and others from the local community. It gives everyone the opportunity catch-up, meet new people and have fun in each other’s company, creating many happy memories for the future.

On the morning of the fun day, the team were happy to see blue skies and sunshine as they began adding the finishing touches to their outdoor space. Large umbrellas had been put up for those who prefer to sit in the shade and stalls containing raffle items had been placed around the garden.

As the guests were arriving, residents enjoyed greeting everyone and meeting up with their family members. There was lots of chat and laughter amongst the group as they began sharing stories and catching up. Some of the residents don’t get to see some of their family members that often, so this is a special occasion for them and one they like to spend reconnecting and learning about their loved one’s latest achievements.

To add more excitement to the day, the Lifestyle Coordinators invited Dennis Maisey in to perform. Dennis specialises in George Formby songs and plays the Ukelele along to each, which impressed everyone at the fun day and created a nice atmosphere around the care home.

Following a busy and enjoyable morning, the team from the kitchen brought out lunch in a buffet-style format. This was a welcoming sign for all and everyone enjoyed a lunch in the sun, surrounded by their nearest and dearest.

After a bite to eat and the morning’s entertainment, the team started to draw the summer raffle results. A range of beauty items, drinks and other home comforts were up for grabs, so people were waiting with their tickets, ready to get up and select their prize if they won.

After announcing the winners and congratulating each, visitors began to say their good-byes and let their relatives have a well-deserved rest. Everyone had a great time at the Lime Court ‘Summer Funday’ and we look forward to welcoming you all back next year.


9 Sep 19

Glennfield residents enjoy interactive performance from vocal duo ‘PRIDE’

The residents of Glennfield Care Home had an exciting, music-filled day when vocal duo, ‘PRIDE’ came in to perform. The group are well known throughout Cambridge and sing a variety of songs, mostly from the 70s, 80s and 90s; musical eras that are familiar amongst the people who live at Glennfield. Performing music from these time periods helps to bring back old memories and encourages residents to share their interesting stories with each other.

Residents gathered in the lounge ready to hear the vocal talents of ‘PRIDE’. They wasted no time, getting straight into some well-known songs, encouraging everyone to get involved and sing-along. Bob Marley’s popular song, “Don’t worry about a thing”, got some of the group up on their feet dancing, whilst others joined in by singing-along from their chairs.

After some group singing at the start of the session, the duo went around and gave each resident the opportunity to sing a solo into the microphone. This excited the whole group and everyone enjoyed hearing the different sections being sung by their friends.

Encouraging residents to take part in these sessions is beneficial for them as it helps to improve their confidence levels, social skills and lifts the mood around the care home.

After lots of singing, dancing, tapping and clapping along, the duo left the care home and said it was a very enjoyable and engaging session. The feeling was mutual amongst the team and residents and we look forward to welcoming them again for another energetic performance.