14 Jan 20

Brook House residents catch up on the news

The people living at Brook House Care Home like to stay on top of the news and in touch with whats going on in society. It helps them to feel part of the community and gives them something to debate about during the week.

This week when watching the news, the residents heard about Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back from their royal duties. The Royal family were very prominent in the resident’s lives and played a big role in society, so people at the home began sharing their views with each other.

The resident’s opinions were quite split, with some saying it’s the family they have been born into and need to handle their responsibilities, while others thought they should be able to make their own life decisions. It created some meaningful conversation and evoked opinion amongst the residents – it was wonderful watching them talk so passionately about a subject.

On the day there was also a ‘crisis summit’ taking place, so residents were eagerly awaiting the outcome of that. Meanwhile, they began sharing stories about times they’ve met members of the royal family.

John served in the Navy when he was younger, and recalled the time the Duke of Gloucestershire came on the ship that he was on, which was called a hunt-class destroyer.

Jean remembered meeting the Queen when she was a student at the Domestic Science College in Glasgow, a memory she treasures to this day.

Everyone had an enjoyable time discussing the news and sharing their connected stories. Residents are keeping their eye on the outcome and will no doubt continue their conversations as things progress.

14 Jan 20

Goldenley’s new resident: Smokey the interactive cat

Residents at Goldenley Care Home find comfort in spending time with animals. The residents enjoy cuddling and stroking animals as it provides a boost to their wellbeing and a companion for daily life.

Goldenley is home to one pet cat already and although she is friendly, the majority of her time is spent outside exploring. Many of the people living at Goldenley were pet owners throughout their lives and miss having an animal around, so Home Manager Christine purchased an interactive pet to help fill the gap. They evoke the same positive emotions as live pets and are much more tolerant to long cuddles and being carried around the home.

One of the residents at Goldenley was especially excited about the news. Marjarie has a life-long love of animals and took pride in naming him ‘Smokey’. Smokey responds to interaction through movements and sounds and Majarie enjoyed welcoming him with a cuddle on the sofa! When team members went into the lounge, she was laying down with the cat and said “this is the life”.

Dolls and other interactive items are really beneficial, especially for people living with dementia, as it gives them something to care for and can help a person ‘find a purpose’.

Smokey’s had a good first week at the home and has been popular with the residents. As a result, animal experiences will feature heavily in our activity plan for the year, so residents can keep living their lives to the fullest with plenty of furry friends around!

13 Jan 20

Park Avenue residents enjoy afternoon tea with friends

The residents at Park Avenue in  Bromley, enjoyed an afternoon tea at the care home this week. Some of the residents had made cookies in the morning, so team members brought them along for people to dip in their hot drinks!

Ahead of the tea party, team members pushed the tables together so people to communicate easier. The residents commented on this as they entered the room and liked that they could all see each other. While some went and collected the cookies baked in the morning, staff from the kitchen brought out a selection of other cakes and treats for people to enjoy.

Open sessions like this that encourage group conversation and engagement are really beneficial for the residents, as they help with confidence levels and friendships. The afternoon tea also helped to bring back memories from the past for some residents.

One person in the group shared a story from her past, about when she would go for afternoon tea and how it was considered to be a special event. She spoke about the occasion as if it happened yesterday which was impressive but also was heart-warming to watch her remember special moments from the past.

Not only did the residents have a great afternoon with friends, but also got to experience a traditional tea-party away from the distractions of modern life. This kept it focussed on the people that were there and the conversations they were having.

We are hoping to host afternoon teas more regularly at the care home to promote face to face conversation and further develop the bonds between people living at Park Avenue.

13 Jan 20

Andreea hosts calming yoga session at Brook House Care Home

Andreea is a night team leader at Brook House Care Home. As well as her team management skills, Andreea recently qualified as a yoga instructor and so offered to host a session for the residents this week, to practice her skills and introduce them to something new.

Practising yoga has many physical and cognitive benefits. It helps to improve balance, strength and mood through the use of breathing exercises and controlled body positions. It can also help with posture problems and its effects have been known to improve sleep. All of these benefits can better life at the care home by helping to reduce falls and disturbances during the night.

For this introductory session, Andreea showed the residents some simple standing and seated positions that they could practice at the care home. The residents really enjoyed the session – they said it was a calming and enjoyable way to spend time with friends. Two of the residents in the class were 99 years old, but that didn’t stop them and they took pride in showing Andreea how flexible they still were.

Yoga has a range of benefits for the people living at Brook House and with the first session finishing a success, Andreea plans to host classes more regularly so people can really feel the difference!

13 Jan 20

Interactive Table transforms life at Ashlyn Care Home

Residents at Ashlyn Care Home have been making the most of their new activity equipment this week, a Sharps interactive table. This is a form of sensory equipment that projects interactive games and activities onto the screen that residents can play individually or with friends.

This new equipment is the result of ongoing fundraising efforts by team members at the home, with support from relatives, friends and people in the community. Home Manager Matt had his leg waxed alongside Deputy Manager, Sheila who shaved her head, all to raise money for this life-changing equipment.

Since being delivered at the home, the residents have loved exploring the different puzzles and activities available. One of their favourite features was the armchair travel activity, which takes people on virtual tours of places or well-known attractions. This provides a change of scenery for the people of Ashlyn and allows them to explore new places. It can also act as a powerful reminiscence tool too, taking people back to their favourite towns to relive moments from the past.

This week, the residents took it in turns to visit the places that are meaningful to them, which included Essex, Edinburgh and Bilston Town. One of the residents decided to take a trip to Harlow in the 1960s, which she said at the time, was known as ‘Pram town’. When watching the virtual tour, she spotted one of the prams and told the group that she used to own one! Whilst on the tour, they went to other familiar sites like the market and church, places they used to visit frequently.

This particular activity really engaged the residents. It was magical watching as they toured their favourite places and pointed out familiar sights from the past.

Without the hard work of team members and help from our supporters this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you to everyone who donated towards our fundraising efforts, you’ve really helped to better the lives of the residents.

10 Jan 20

Team members refresh the activity schedule at Aliwal Manor

Not only are the residents at Aliwal Manor celebrating the start of a new year but also a new decade, so team members wanted to give their activity schedule a personalised refresh.

It’s important to ensure there are a range of activities available to meet the needs and interests of the individuals at Aliwal, so team members called a meeting with the residents so they could share their input.

Residents were encouraged to talk about their hobbies and interests so team members could find a way to adapt it into an activity. One of the residents started off the meeting by saying they enjoy doing the gardening. After hearing all the different things that people enjoy about gardening, team members decided a gardening club would be good, so residents can regularly engage in their hobby. During the colder months, the gardening club will plant pots and herbs inside, to be used as decoration and in home-cooked meals. Team members are also going to get in touch with Whittlesey in bloom, a local group of volunteers that plant flowers across the town, to see if the residents can take part.

Another popular activity at Aliwal Manor is cooking. This is a great activity for the residents to be involved with as familiar tastes can help to bring back memories from the past. It’s also a calming activity, so team members have scheduled regular cooking activities starting from  Monday 13th January.

The people living at Aliwal Manor also love to sing and dance along to music. Team members host regular musical activities, from therapy and special performances to group sing-alongs in the lounge. These activities provide a boost in wellbeing, so they will also feature as part of the new schedule.

Some of the residents said they enjoy writing, so team members have planned in some creative writing sessions as well as poetry writing classes.

This new activity schedule will provide more personalised experiences for the residents which we hope will impact each of them positively. We look forward to sharing the outcome of these exciting activities with you throughout the year.

10 Jan 20

Residents bowl strikes at Hunters Down Care Home

Team members at Hunters Down Care Home hosted an indoor activity afternoon with the residents this week. There were a variety of individual and group games that people could play, giving them the option of some quiet time on their own or a larger activity with their friends.

One of the most popular games in the afternoon was a ten-pin bowling set. Some of the residents in the session were less mobile than others, so the activity was adapted so people could take part while seated. Team members set up the pins in front of each of the resident’s chairs, who would then try to knock them all down.

Although it wasn’t the same as traditional bowling, everyone had a great time taking part together and quickly perfected the art of getting a strike. Team members were laughing as after collecting the pins and setting them back up, the residents would knock them all back down straight away. They certainly had the staff working hard but all in the name of good fun! There was cheering and chanting as people knocked down all the pins which was enjoyable to watch.

Although the weather limited the activity options, residents and team members still had a great time playing games together and engaging in physical play. After the session there was a noticeable lift in the mood and people were asking when the next group bowling afternoon would be.

10 Jan 20

Annie celebrates her 100th birthday at Castlemead Court

It was a day of celebrations at Castlemead Court Care Home this week, when Annie celebrated her 100th birthday! Team members always ensure that birthdays and other important milestones are celebrated properly, so they organised for a big party with her family.

In the morning, Annie spent some time getting ready and making sure she looked her best,  before heading downstairs to see her friends. All the other residents and team members wished her a happy birthday and spent time chatting with her about the special memories they share.

Annie’s family then arrived at the care home to join in with the celebrations. She was so excited to see them all and enjoyed catching up and taking some pictures together.

Her family weren’t the only special guests that attended on the day, as the local major stopped by to congratulate her and present her with a card from the Queen. Annie was overwhelmed that everyone had come to celebrate with her and felt honoured to receive such a special message from the royal family.

The rest of the party was spent socialising together and admiring Annie’s wonderful cake! Everyone had a great time and were delighted that they could celebrate together!

After the day’s excitement, team members sat with Annie to find out a bit more about her life.

“I was born in Norfolk on the 7th of January 1920. My mum sadly passed away when I was only five, so I grew up with my father and grandmother.

“My first job was working as a housewife which wasn’t much fun, so I changed roles and started working in a hospital serving the meals. I loved this job but I had to leave when the war started to work in an ammunition factory.”

Annie then told us a bit about her children, who had attended the party in the afternoon and finished by sharing her life advice, “Don’t be rude to your parents and make sure you offer them a cup of tea.”

9 Jan 20

Intergenerational scheme at Longfield Care Home makes the national news

Team members at Longfield Care Home in Essex, work with local schools and groups to encourage intergenerational engagement with the residents.

One of the schemes they were heavily involved with was the ‘Maldon UP project’. This involved a group of children from All Saints Church of England primary school visiting the care home on a regular basis over a two year period. During their visits, the children and residents would play board games, do arts and crafts and take part in touchscreen-based activities. This gave both groups a chance to engage freely with each other and establish mutually beneficial friendships. The children would bring energy, excitement and help to lift the mood, while residents could play a more parental role, offer advice and learn different skills from each other.

Research was undertaken during the period where they found the children grew in confidence, developed greater emotional awareness and demonstrated more empathy towards older people. The research highlighted that residents at the home were ‘uniquely transformed’, through memories that the interactions brought back as well as a noticeable uplift in mood.

The project was very successful and all of the residents involved gave positive reviews of the experience. This ground-breaking scheme and research were recently praised in a national news article by the Guardian, highlighting the benefits that intergenerational sessions can have.

Click here to read the article and find out more about this life-changing scheme.

9 Jan 20

Primrose Croft residents get in tune for Excelcare’s Got Talent

Residents at Primrose Croft Care Home have been busy practising their singing skills this week ahead of the auditions for Excelcare’s Got Talent.

The talent show has been welcomed back in 2020 after the success and positive feedback from last year’s event. Residents at Primrose Croft heard about the show this week and were excited about its return, but weren’t sure what they could do. They sat down with team members to discuss some of their talents and the things they enjoy. One of the residents in the group said,’But we have no talent’. Everyone found it really funny, but the team members knew this wasn’t true and began talking about something they all enjoyed, music!

The residents at Primrose Croft love singing and dancing along to music, it brings happiness and is something that everyone has in common! Residents quickly realised that this was in fact a talent and agreed they would sing something together for the audition. Residents then began discussing their favourite songs and team members printed out the words, so they could begin practising. The performances were recorded in groups and individually so everyone had a chance to show off their skills. Each practice was recorded and played back to them so they could hear what they sounded like. They were all quite shocked with how good they sounded, providing a boost in confidence for everyone!

June and Joan live at Primrose Croft and are really great friends. They have great chemistry and people have commented on how funny they are together, so team members suggested they do their own comedy act. They loved the idea and looked online to get some inspiration for their set.

The residents have really enjoyed testing their talents and practising ahead of the auditions. Although they initially doubted themselves, they soon realised that they all have something to offer, helping to decrease self-doubt and improve their levels of self-esteem.

Click here to watch one of the residents practising her talents. More videos from the day can be found here.