27 Sep 19

Stanley Wilson residents make tasty microwave meringues

Team members at Stanley Wilson Care home educated residents on how to make a microwavable meringue this week. These simple recipes are great for the residents as they’re not complicated and quick to prepare, meaning they’re more likely to recall the method in the future.

Team members taught the residents the below method using the following ingredients:


1 Egg white
300g icing sugar
Choice of fresh fruit / cream (optional)

  1. Empty 300g of icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the egg white
  2. Once the mixture is firm, remove it from the bowl and begin to knead until the texture is consistent
  3. Roll the mix into four marble size balls and microwave for 2 minutes
  4. Remove from the microwave and leave to cool
  5. Ready to eat!

The whole group enjoyed the simple yet tasty recipe and customised their finished meringue with strawberries and cream to their personal taste.

Cooking activities not only help to educate the residents but are also a great way of improving their focus and hand-eye coordination. After the session, group members commented on how nice they tasted and said they look forward to making them with visiting relatives in the future.

27 Sep 19

Limetree residents visit the Horniman Museum for a musical afternoon tea

Residents from Limetree Care Home were invited to the Horniman Museum this week for an afternoon tea accompanied by a brass band performance.

Upon arrival, residents and team members were escorted to the newly refurbished Pavillion building where they were treated to lovely views of the garden and alpacas housed in their mini-farm. The group ordered their tea and scones and while waiting, a brass band came on stage to perform which brought a smile to everyone’s face. The group were very talented and the residents enjoyed hearing the variety of songs they could play using just four instruments.

The residents were nodding and tapping along to the music and sharing a conversation about the surrounding scenery. The tea and scones didn’t disappoint either, they came out freshly cooked with clotted cream and a selection of home-made jams.

The group also noticed some residents from fellow Excelcare Home, Peartree had come along to enjoy the music too. They all had a chat and sung along to the music together before heading back to Limetree to tell the other residents about their lovely afternoon.

27 Sep 19

Buchan House residents unwind during colouring-in session

Residents at Buchan House enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with the Lifestyle Coordinators this week. Groups from Iris and Snowdrop, two separate areas of the care home, requested to do some colouring so Lifestyle Coordinator, Debbie brought both groups together to encourage socialisation and communal activity.

Debbie handed out different colouring sheets to the residents alongside a range of pens, pencils and crayons so people could use each to create different textures and patterns. As the group began colouring, talk turned to the change of seasons we are currently going through. People participated by sharing stories from their past about how they used to prepare for winter. Cleaning the fireplace, sweeping porches and storing rations were just some of the things mentioned – it was interesting to see how times have changed and how much harsher the winter season used to be.

Maureen, a resident at Buchan House and participant on the day, said she remembers the snow coming up to her knees when she worked as a Post lady. This meant she would have to walk with her bike along the footpath, making her job very difficult.

The whole group enjoyed discussing their wintery stories from the past while adding colour to their activity sheets. Colouring-in sessions help people to relieve any stresses and is commonly used as a mindfulness tool for its positive benefits to wellbeing. This combined with the reminiscence created a nice atmosphere at the care home and everyone finished the session with some beautiful art and a smile on their face.

27 Sep 19

Residents at St Georges Court stay active with ‘Move It Or Lose It’

Every Tuesday morning, residents at St Georges Court wake up excited for their weekly chair-based exercise class. Julia is a trained ‘Move It Or Lose It’ instructor and has been coming to St Georges Court for a number of years to deliver fun and stimulating exercise sessions. The classes are all-inclusive so everyone is welcome to join, no matter their physical ability.

This week, Julia brought some new equipment for the group to use – hoops! Residents love using the hoops to exercise; they add diversity to regular movements and colours that stimulate their visual sense!

As well as incorporating the hoops into the classes, residents also use foam balls and beanbags! This kind of apparatus is used to help strengthen the muscles in their hands, arms and shoulders! Incorporating this type of exercise into everyday life is very beneficial to older people who often report loss of strength and feelings of weakness in their hands.

According to research, seated exercise has some major benefits for seniors, firstly, it has been proven to enhance mood; Exercise of any kind signals the body to release endorphins – the “feel good” chemicals responsible for boosting your mood. It may even reduce stress and curb feelings of depression.

Secondly, chair exercises have the surprising ability to improve stamina, particularly when you do enough to drive up your heart rate. Those cardiovascular benefits help increase endurance, making it easier to perform difficult moves for longer periods of time.

Chair-based exercise sessions can also help to reduce pain, many of the movements, such as knee lifts and shoulder circles, can diminish persistent aches and muscular conditions that cause inflammation in the body. Sitting in a chair also forces the body to improve its posture, which may alleviate back pain.

Residents really enjoyed being joined by two members of the care team to help assist them in their exercises. They helped to motivate residents to put in as much effort as possible so they can experience the range of the benefits that this exercise offers.

26 Sep 19

Happy Healthy Music performs at Windmill Lodge Care Home

To continue the week of music-themed activities at Windmill Lodge, the team invited Happy Healthy Music to come and perform for the residents. The company has recently launched a new ‘stage and screen’ offering, playing songs from popular films and musicals which the residents love and know well.

Derek came dressed for the occasion in a suit and bow tie which made everyone smile. Residents began singing and dancing along as Derek started to perform and everyone was very impressed with his talents. Those who were less mobile were dancing from their seat whilst others were on their feet and fully immersed in the performance.

The highlight of this performance was seeing everyone so engaged, whether it was tapping, clapping or nodding their head, the music was able to connect with everyone in the room. Paddy is a resident who unfortunately arrived late as she was with the hairdresser, so Lifestyle Coordinator Grace, asked Derek to sing her favourite song, ‘You are the First, My Last, My Everything’ before he ended the session. As he began to sing, Paddy’s face instantly lit-up and she sang every word in-time with Derek – it was a special moment and showed how music can unite people from all walks of life.

Paddy’s daughter was also in attendance on the day and said, “Thank you Grace for doing that. It was very kind of you to ask him to sing mum’s song. It really means a lot to us. Thank you.”

It’s been a fun week hosting music-themed activities at Windmill. It’s helped to spread an air of excitement around the care home and it’s been great to see a boost in everyone’s wellbeing. We look forward to the rest of the activities planned for the week and seeing the joy they bring to the residents.

26 Sep 19

Residents at Primrose Croft enjoy symbolic flower discussion

Many people who live at Primrose Croft love flowers, from their brightly coloured petals to their strong aromas, they provide a sense of joy and happiness. As many of the residents are already familiar with the sensory aspects of flowers, Lifestyle Coordinators decided to host a session discussing the meanings behind each of their favourite plants.

In preparation for the session, team members had printed out a range of different flowers and handed them out to help people guess the meaning behind each. Everyone enjoyed looking at the different colourful pictures and identifying which each plant was before guessing what they symbolize.

As they flicked through the pictures, the residents were able to identify the Chrysanthemum but weren’t sure of its meaning. The group then spent time learning the meaning behind the flower and found out that it symbolizes optimism, joy and long life. They also learnt that each colour Chrysanthemum has a separate meaning; white means truth and loyal love while yellow means neglected love. The group then chuckled as they tried to remember whether anyone had ever given them a yellow Chrysanthemum.

The next flower was the Daisy which all the participants liked. It instantly reminded them of the daisy chains they used to make in the garden as children and were intrigued to learn they symbolize innocence, purity and is connected to the phrase ‘I will never tell’.

The last flower they discussed was Lavender, which they all know well for its strong floral smell. The group learnt that it’s symbolic of admiration, solitude and beauty and started to discuss growing some in their garden. The team thought it was a great idea, so they have decided to plant a batch next year, which they will dry out in the winter to make into sweetly scented wardrobe hangers.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed learning more about their favourite flowers and we look forward to planting more of our own at Primrose Croft.

26 Sep 19

Residents make a ‘Memory Suitcase’ at St Georges Court

Residents at St Georges Care Home in Cambridge recently took part in a reminiscence activity with the Lifestyle Coordinators. With the sun shining outside, the team introduced a holiday theme to the activity and handed group members a paper suitcase cut-out. Each resident was then asked to remember holidays, special events or places they had been to add to their ‘Memory Suitcase’.

We are lucky to have a diverse mix of residents at St Georges Court, so it was exciting to see all the places that people had visited.

Residents sat in small groups in a communal area, encouraging people to share their memories with the team and others on their table. It didn’t take long for people to strike up conversations and everyone began sharing memories and all the places they had been to in the past. It was great seeing everyone engaged with the session and creating connections with others who had visited the same places they had. This encouraged people to think about the small places within the country they had visited, to see if other residents had seen the same attractions.

Team members were on hand to support, helping to remember place names and transcribe for residents who have difficulty writing. Everyone was working together and helping out where they could, which added a sense of team-spirit to the session.

After residents had finished their memory suitcase, they were given different coloured pencils and pens to make their suitcase stand-out. Most people enjoy the calming effects of colouring-in, so they each enjoyed taking time to make their suitcase look the best, ending the session with tranquillity

Reminiscence sessions at the care home help residents to improve their long-term and short term memory, whilst building friendships over common life experiences.

The highlight of the session was identifying somewhere that everyone has visited – a place which links the whole group together; the wonderful St George’s Court Care Home.


25 Sep 19

Windmill Lodge celebrates music with a week of themed activities

To celebrate BBC Music Day this week, Lifestyle Coordinators at Windmill Lodge decided to host a week of musical-themed activities. The residents not only enjoy musical activities, but they provide a range of benefits including increased reminiscence, a boost in wellbeing and improved mobility.

The first session of the week was a sing-along, where team members played a selection of different songs from the 50s,60s and 70s, as they are familiar eras for the residents. One of the artists that featured in the playlist was Elvis, a favourite amongst many. This instantly attracted everyone’s attention and they began singing and dancing along.

Grace is a Lifestyle Coordinator at the care home and shared a special moment with Rachel, a 100-year-old resident. As Grace approached Shirley in her chair, she started to engage with the music and move in time. After seeing Grace up and dancing, Rachel decided to join in and the pair danced together in the entrance to the garden. After a couple of songs and with big smiles on their faces, other residents began to cheer along and compliment their dancing skills.

It’s these small connections between team members and residents that really help to brighten everyone’s day and encourages others at the care home to join in too.

A selection of other music-based activities will be hosted throughout the week to promote the importance of singing, dancing and being happy at Windmill Lodge.

25 Sep 19

Primrose Croft paint forget-me-not flowers for World Alzheimer’s Day

World Alzheimer’s Day is nationally recognised on September 21st each year. As this is a subject that is close to our hearts at Excelcare, care homes in the group support this day by taking part in activities that help to challenge the stigma around dementia.

At Primrose Croft, residents spent time painting clay forget-me-not flowers to show their support. Each person enjoyed painting the flowers in shades of blue and yellow, whilst discussing the meaning behind them and other types of flowers.

They enjoyed sharing knowledge and highlighted that the Amaryllis flower is popular around Christmas and symbolises beauty and infinite worth, whilst the Sunflower signifies dedication, adoration and pure thoughts. Everyone was engaging in the conversation, sharing their knowledge and all agreed that the sunflower was one of the most magnificent flowers.

Most of the residents who took part in the session used to be keen gardeners, so they began speaking about the flowers they used to grow and which smelt the best! It was enjoyable to see how this activity sparked meaningful conversation amongst the residents, whilst encouraging them to reminisce and share stories from the past. For us, this was the most important part of the day as it highlighted although some of the residents live with dementia, they are still engaging and breaking boundaries associated with dementia.

The flowers which were painted during the day were left to dry and will be used to create a display at Primrose Croft. People enjoy these larger projects as they not only get to take part in the activity but benefit from the beautiful display they have helped to create.

25 Sep 19

Deannah from Hunters Down qualifies as ‘Love to Move’ instructor

‘Love to Move’ is a scheme that was founded by the British Gymnastics Foundation that delivers chair-based exercise classes to people living in care homes and other assisted facilities. The aim of scheme is to encourage residents to keep active an in-turn, maintain their mobility and independence.

Hunters Down Care Home in Cambridge is one of the care homes that signed up for this scheme, so they receive weekly visits from representatives to host sessions with the residents. These have been thoroughly enjoyed by the participants, so much so, that they have requested more classes as they enjoy the communal exercise paired with nostalgic backing tracks. To keep up with demand, the care home sent Lifestyle Coordinator Deannah, on a ‘Love to Move’ instructors course, meaning sessions could be delivered at any-time and much more frequently.

Deannah received the good news this week that she successfully passed the course and is now a qualified instructor. This means she can deliver sessions at the care home for the next 6 months and then be reviewed by the training team to receive her certificate – “I now look forward to the next stage of my development,” said Deannah.

This has opened up more opportunities at the care home and adds flexibility to when the classes can be hosted. This is important as some days the residents can wake-up and not want to take part, whilst other days they do, so smaller classes can be hosted throughout the week to match the needs and wants of the residents.

After all the knowledge gained on the course, Deannah wanted to share some information about why ‘Love to Move’ sessions are beneficial for the residents.

Can you tap your head and rub your stomach at the same time? Even if you can, it takes a lot of concentration.

By practising it, you are increasing your ability for the right and left sides of your brain to process information independently of each other.

The Love to Move programme is based on the concept of bilaterally asymmetrical movement (performing different movements with the right and left sides of the body at the same time).

By increasing the capacity to perform bilateral movement, the brain increases the number of connections it makes between its neurons, resulting in an increase in cognitive ability.

For people with dementia, the ‘Love to Move’ programme has been proven to increase their capacity to process everyday tasks such as feed themselves, do crafts and play bingo, as well as socialising with friends and family.