3 Oct 19

Queen’s Oak Care Home host Macmillan Coffee Morning

To help fundraise for life-changing cancer research, the team at Queen’s Oak Care Home signed up to host a Macmillan Coffee Morning with the residents, team members, relatives and others in the local community.

In preparation for the event, team members wanted to find out more about Macmillan Coffee Mornings and did some research, learning the first ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ was hosted in the UK back in 1991, with 2,600 people taking part in total. This helped the team to understand more about the aims of the coffee morning and ensure theirs was the best it could be. To help make space stand out, Lifestyle Coordinator, Marilyn, made some decorations to put up around the room.

With the ground floor lounge all set-up, the team started to welcome guests and residents into the coffee morning. The cakes on display, which were made by the catering team, were very popular and people were commenting on how professional they looked. It was great having a mix of people from all different backgrounds and age groups in the room, engaging with each other and enjoying the company. This is refreshing for the residents too and helps them to stay connected with the local community which is important here at Queen’s Oak.

The coffee morning turned out to be a huge success and it allowed the residents to have an enjoyable morning, chatting and sharing stories, whilst raising money for a great cause. Thanks to the hard work from the team and the people who live at Queens Oak, they managed to raise £51.36 for Macmillan Cancer Support, which everyone at the care home was very proud of!

After such a succesful and enjoyable morning, team members have decided to make this an annual event and look forward to making next years, bigger and better!

If you would like to sign-up for a Macmillan Coffee Morning or help with their fundraising efforts, visit: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/

3 Oct 19

Lion Learners visit the residents at Glennfield Care Home

Residents at Glennfield Care Home in Wisbech are huge animal fans. The care home has a chicken coop in the garden and has welcomed a variety of different pets over the years, so they enjoy being in the company of animals and interacting with them.

To ensure the residents are feeling fulfilled and content, the Lifestyle Coordinators tailor the activity schedule to include things they know the residents like, so they invited the Lion Learners to come and introduce the residents to some of their exotic animals. This would not only allow them to interact with animals but get hands-on with pets they may not have gotten close to before.

Lion Learners is a company that bring animal experiences to nurseries, care homes and other educational institutes. Their aims are to provide educational enrichment through hands-on experiences, not only teaching people about the animals but letting them see and hold them too. They have since found this is very beneficial and everyone enjoys the variety of animals and learning experiences in the session.

In a recent visit to Glennfield Care Home, Lion Learners brought snakes, rabbits and other reptiles along for the residents to see. The group from the care home had mixed emotions when they saw the animals, some were very interested and wanted a closer look, while others were happy to observe and share encouraging words from the side.

Richard was one of the residents who took part and loved engaging with the different animals and feeling the difference between the rabbit’s fur and the snake’s scaley skin.

Overall it was a very enjoyable day and the visit really excited the residents. We look forward to welcoming the Lion Learners back to Glennfield Care Home in the near future for another exciting animal experience!

2 Oct 19

Park Avenue residents enjoy calming Tai Chi session

Residents at Park Avenue Care Home are always being introduced to new and exciting forms of exercise or activities that provide a range of benefits to their quality of life.

This week, Lifestyle Coordinators started a bi-weekly Tai Chi class for the people living at the care home. Evidence shows that Tai Chi helps to improve balance, increase flexibility and even decrease the chances of having a fall. Due to the perks of these classes, team members invited instructor, Magi to come and host bi-weekly sessions at the care home.

Peggy, June and John all gathered in the Lavender Suite lounge for the Tai Chi session with Magi, who has been instructing similar classes for over 10 years. Magi is also a supporting team member at Park Avenue, so residents feel comfortable and safe in her company.

Throughout the session, residents are played relaxing music, asked to focus on their breathing and copy the movements that Magi makes. The residents really enjoy Tai Chi as it helps them to relax and provides them with stimulating movement and breathing techniques that they can practice outside of the class. Magi is also a very engaging instructor and always encourages the residents to give everything a try, with her help if needed, so they can feel the full benefits that Tai Chi offers.

Due to the success and enjoyment of the class, Lifestyle Coordinator, Gladys, has added the activity to the monthly schedule so residents can continue to experience the physical and cognitive benefits.

2 Oct 19

Gladys makes a new friend at St Georges Court Care Home

In care homes across the Excelcare group, residents, relatives and team members sometimes experience the loss of a loved one. This has a big impact on daily life, so we always offer support, compassion and an open-door policy that allows people to come and seek advice at any time of the day.

After a recent passing at St Georges’s Care Home, residents received a visit from the residents’ friend, who lives locally and visited the home frequently. In order to thank the team at St Georges and honour her friend’s time at the care home, she stopped by to donate her most loved teddies and dolls to help comfort the residents living in the care home and hopefully, bring someone lots of joy. The team thanked her for such a kind donation and spread out the gifts amongst the different care suites at St Georges.

Later in the day, team member, Kayleigh, picked up one of the dolls and brought it through to the dementia care suite, for Gladys, who lives at St Georges. As Kayleigh brought it over, her eyes lit up and she asked to name the baby doll Pearly.  Kayleigh knew the positive effects that alone time with the doll could have, so asked Gladys if she could look after Pearly while she went to do some work. Gladys kindly accepted and kissed the doll on the head as Kayleigh walked away.

Studies on doll therapy are limited, but some research has shown it can reduce the need for medication, diminish anxiety and improve communication, as well as giving the person living with dementia, a feeling of purpose and connection.

Some-time later, Kayleigh returned to see how Gladys and her new friend were getting on. As she walked into the lounge, she saw Gladys cradling the baby, whispering “It’s okay Pearly” – it was a lovely moment to be a part of.

Gladys continued to look after Pearly all night and has continued to spend time with her since. It was heart-warming to see how the donation of these dolls not only helped to mark a resident’s time at St Georges, but also provide happiness and comfort to others in the process.


2 Oct 19

Primrose Croft residents celebrate BBC Music Day

Residents at Primrose Croft had a full day of musical activities last week to celebrate BBC Music Day. The team at the care home has seen the benefits that music has on the residents and so have supported and hosted activities on BBC Music Day for the last five years.

To mark the day this year, the Lifestyle and Innovation team invited pianist group, ‘Lost Chord’ to perform for the residents at the care home. Nicola and Gary play a variety of musical genres to keep the sessions exciting, from Rock and Roll to musical anthems and some all-time classics in-between.

As the group began to play, you could see everyone was enjoying themselves as people got up to dance and sing-along with Nicola. Everyone was having a great time and it was warming to see the joy that live music can bring.

After the morning’s performance, the musical theme continued during lunch as the team put some of the resident’s favourite anthems on in the background. This really helped to shift the usual lunchtime mood and had team members and residents dancing in the hallway as they passed.

After lunch, team members helped to level the excitement with a relaxing activity for the residents. Everyone was handed a piece of paper and asked to write their favourite song on it with the meaning that it has to them. Each piece of paper would then be used to create a musical tree and a new, Primrose Croft playlist.

The rest of the day was spent singing songs together and sharing tea and scones to end a lively, musical day.

1 Oct 19

Residents at Goldenley surprise Christine with hand-made birthday card

Arts and craft sessions are a regular activity at Goldenley Care Home as they encourage expression, creativity and provide residents with something to focus on. These Arts and Crafts sessions are varied and are sometimes lead by external companies, whilst other times team members ask the residents to come up with their own craft activity for the session.

This week, Lifestyle Coordinator Faith did just that and asked the residents to think of something to create during their arts and crafts session later in the day. They came up with a few different options until they overheard news that Home Manager, Christine had a birthday approaching so they decided to make her a card instead.

Each resident in the group focussed on a different part of the card and used the skills they had been taught to make it. Some focussed on making decorative cut-outs from paper, whilst others positioned them on to the card and wrote ‘Happy Birthday’ on the front. The card had a variety of colours on it and the group had shown real care when making it.

Once the card was finished, residents passed it around the care home, with the help of team members, to ensure Christine didn’t see it and so as many people could sign it as possible. Word soon spread and people were coming to sign the card, using the flower petals and other colourful places to put their names.

After the card was filled with names of residents and team members, Faith invited Christine down to the dining room and was thrilled when residents handed her a home-made card. She was impressed with all the effort they had put into making it and gave everyone a hug and a kiss to say thanks. The smiles around the room were a happy sight to see and the card has been proudly displayed in Christine’s office.

1 Oct 19

Residents enjoy competitive fun during Sports Week at Excelcare

Last week, care homes across the Excelcare group hosted a sports week for residents and team members, introducing new and exciting sports to the schedule. The whole week is dedicated to a variety of different sporting challenges, enabling everyone to feel the benefits of exercise, whilst having competitive fun with friends, family and others at the care home.

Sports week helps to bring energy and excitement to each care home, as well as breaking up the usual schedule. It’s inclusive too, so all can be involved, should they wish – whether it’s taking part and beating a personal best or cheering from the side, everyone engages in whichever way they feel comfortable.

At Primrose Croft Care Home, residents started the week with a spell of sunshine so they were able to enjoy the day in the fresh air. The first activity was Quoits, a game that has existed since the early 19th century and is still played at fairs and other attractions today  – the aim is to land as many hoops on the pegs after 5 throws and the person with the most points scored at the end, wins. Derek was one of the residents who took part and managed to score high with 170 points. Many people tried to beat Derek’s score, but no one could quite top it, so Derek was handed the medal which he was very proud about!

Hook a Duck was the second challenge of the day, which again is a very familiar activity for the residents. Adapting and re-introducing these traditional games help residents to feel comfortable and also bring back family memories from the past. As the games started, the participants realised it was more challenging than they initially remembered. One resident that took an instant shine to it was Christine, who managed to hook an impressive 7 ducks and came away with the medal.

After everyone had warmed up, things got exciting when it was time to play ‘Tin Can Alley’. During each turn, residents were sending the cans off the table and scoring well for the number they were able to knock over with the ball. June, who is a resident at Primrose Croft, managed to knock down all of the cans except two, which no-one else managed to beat so she came out victorious.

Meanwhile, at Aliwal Manor Care Home, the tension was rising during a game of ‘Slam Dunk’, where residents were challenged to land the ball in the hoop as many times possible in one minute. Everyone enjoyed testing their aim and were very engaged as they challenged their friends and team members to beat their score. Other activities that took place included ‘Tin Can Alley’ and ‘Balloon Badminton’.

Sports week not only encouraged some competitive fun but also showed residents that these types of activities have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing. Many enjoyed reminiscing and telling stories of past sports days with their school friends too, so that was very much enjoyed by relatives and team members.

Well done to all those who took part and came along to Sports week 2019 – we look forward to seeing you all at next year’s event!

30 Sep 19

Residents relax during ‘Sunny Sundays’ at St Georges Court

Residents at St Georges Court enjoyed a relaxing Sunday recently in an activity they have called ‘Sunny Sundays’. These sessions are in place to encourage residents to socialise with others and enjoy the beautiful outdoor space that they have at St George’s Court.

With the weather complying with their plans, groups from the care home headed outside with an ice lolly to enjoy the remainder of the summer sun with a cooling treat.

As they sat at the table, they began speaking about their highlights of the week and what activities they would like to do in the future. Most agreed that these garden sessions on a Sunday were very enjoyable as they are relaxing and help to end the week in a positive way. Others enjoy the arts and crafts sessions they regularly host at St Georges, but some members of the group favour the chair-based exercise class, ‘Love to move’.

Everyone enjoyed sitting outside and chatting amongst themselves in the garden. The group know that as we approach winter it will get too cold to sit outside, so they certainly made the most of this session in the sun.

30 Sep 19

Residents at Primrose Croft participate in ‘Gong Meditation’

Introducing residents to new types of therapies, activities and interactive classes is part of the role of our Lifestyle Coordinators. They ensure the people who live at Primrose Croft experience a variety of different things to do, as they realise everyone enjoys different things.

This week, the team organised for a representative to come and hold a gong meditation class, which aimed at bringing healing through the therapeutic sounds of the gong and the vibrations it gives off.

Sound therapy has long been used to manage a broad range of health conditions. The treatments are based on the understanding that all forms of matter – including our body’s cells – vibrate at different frequencies. Factors such as stress, depression and disease cause cells and organs within our bodies to vibrate at non-optimal frequencies. However, gong therapy can help to rebalance frequencies causing a reduction in stress and an enhancement in happiness.

Due to the range of benefits the session offers, team members invited Alicia, who has been training for over a year, to come and host a session with the residents at Primrose Croft. This was a new experience for the people at the care home, so they were told before the session that they could leave if they didn’t enjoy it.

The session began and residents were told to sit back in their chair in whichever way felt comfortable, before closing their eyes and focussing on the sounds and vibrations they felt through the air. Some members of the group decided to leave the session halfway through as they didn’t like the loud sounds, whilst others enjoyed watching as Alicia hit the different gongs.

After the class, team members asked the residents for their thoughts, with most saying they enjoyed it and felt relaxed throughout. Derek was one of the residents that took part and said,” I felt relaxed throughout the session but I would like to try it again to see if I feel the same.”

Most of the residents at Primrose Croft enjoyed the gong meditation and felt a boost in wellbeing after the session. Thanks for donating your time to Primrose Croft, Alicia and we hope to welcome you back soon!

30 Sep 19

Park Avenue Care Home celebrates BBC Music Day

To celebrate BBC Music Day 2019, the Lifestyle and Innovations team from head office organised a day filled with music-themed activities with the residents and team members at Park Avenue.

The day started with members of the Lifestyle and Innovation team engaging with residents from each suite at the Bromley-based care home, to learn about their favourite songs and artists, with some lovely stories being shared by the residents. A singing session was held in each suite with several residents actively participating and it was wonderful to see the power of music.

Team members joined in, danced with the residents and encouraged others to participate. A variety of songs were played through Amazon Alexa, according to residents’ taste and requests. The singing sessions were followed by ‘Connected at 12’, where staff took a step back from their daily routine to engage with the residents and participate in a range of activities, such as board games and chair-based exercises. There was a wave of excitement as everyone engaged in their own way.

After lunch, team members kept the fun flowing with various activities such as ‘Name that Tune’, ‘Name the Artists’ and ‘Song out of a hat’. It was amazing to see how much the residents remembered about the songs and the artists that featured. Several residents knew all the words to the songs and sang along throughout the session. Some got up to dance and helped to teach members too.

Throughout the day, members of the Lifestyle and Innovation team spent time, one–to–one, with several residents and talked about everything from music and hobbies to favourite places around the world. Towards the end of the day, a musical afternoon Tea Party was organised which went down well, especially with the variety of cakes that were available.

Team members then took the time to visit room-based residents to offer cakes and drinks to ensure they were involved. Residents from the ground floor came up to the second floor to participate and a few of them made new friends. There were even talks between Joan, Joan and June, who were all amazing throughout the day, about setting up a singing group. The singing session carried on with several requests from the residents and a couple of them again showed their dancing skills, along with team member Simone, Head of Lifestyle and Innovation at Excelcare.

After the session, Joan said that she had an amazing day and loved everyone that was there. There was a very touching moment towards the end, when a song from Dublin was played for a resident named, Noel. Noel doesn’t communicate much verbally, but when the song was played he sang a few lines with Simone and Joan and said ‘This is good!”

It was great to see music helping to connect everyone at Park Avenue Care Home and create special moments to remember.