22 Nov 19

Hollie returns to Goldenley Care Home to sing for the residents

Hollie is an Essex-based singer who has visited Goldenley Care Home to sing to the residents in the past. The people living there thought she was very talented and really enjoyed the afternoon, so team members recently asked Hollie to return and perform again.

Hollie sings popular songs from the 1950s and 60s, era’s that the residents are familiar with. This type of music helps to encourage reminiscence and brings back happy memories from concert trips with friends and family gatherings.

When Hollie arrived at the care home, the residents were really happy to see her and they spent some time catching up.

Hollie began her set by singing some of the resident’s favourite songs. This immediately added energy to the room and before long people were singing along with her. Whilst performing, Hollie made her way around the circle to perform to each person individually. This made Leslie, a resident at the care home, very happy and he enjoyed singing into the microphone with her.

Residents and staff had a great time singing, dancing and laughing together. It was satisfying to see Hollie’s performance bring so much joy and happiness to the residents at Goldenley Care Home.

Everyone thanked Hollie for coming back to sing to them and have already asked when she’s coming back!

22 Nov 19

Primrose Croft residents prepare for the Christmas Tree Festival

The residents at Primrose Croft Care Home enjoy taking part in community events. It allows them to engage with the public and connect with those who live locally to the care home. With the festive period approaching, the team have signed up to take part in the Christmas Tree Festival with the residents, held at St Giles Church in Cambridgeshire.

The Christmas Tree Festival runs annually and invites parishes, individuals, clubs and local businesses to decorate a Christmas tree and display it at the festival. The theme changes each year which participants use as a stimulus and this year the chosen theme is ‘hope for the future’.

To get the residents immersed in the theme, Lifestyle and Wellbeing Lead, Pearl, hosted an activity to get the residents thinking.

Using the letters from each word in the phrase ‘Hope for the Future, Pearl asked residents to think of a word for each letter and a corresponding phrase for each. For example, the letter ‘H’, could be used for the word ‘Health’ and the phrase could follow, ‘Maintaining your health is important’.

In haiku format, the residents began thinking about their hopes for the future and words/phrases for each letter. After lots of discussion, the residents came up with:

Happy – Everybody to be happier in life’s blessing.
Optimistic – Thinking optimistic will help the end result.
Positive – Positive thinking makes you feel stronger.
Empathy – Understanding what others are going through and reaching out to help.

Faith – Knowing someone is there for you.
Opportunity – Everyone having the same opportunity in life.
Rejoice – Celebrating is good for wellbeing.

Thankful – Being thankful for the smaller things in life as well.
Heavenly – Everybody should experience the heavenly divine.
Environmental – We must look after our world and be more environmentally friendly.

Friendly – It costs nothing to be friendly to each other.
Unity – We all need to become one to make the world work.
True – We must be true to each other.
Understood – We must listen to each other to understand each other.
Respectful – We need to bring back the respect for each other.
Equality – We do not have the right to judge, we should respect each other for who we are.

This was a really engaging and enjoyable exercise for the residents. I didn’t only get them thinking about their hopes for the future but also reflecting on the past and present too. This activity brought back many happy memories and has really helped to get people ready for the festival.

There was an enjoyable moment during the activity when respect was mentioned, where people began discussing how respect in society has changed. They said that people used to respect their teachers and the police force, but notice this attitude has changed over the years.

Residents June and Josephine thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this activity together. When ‘Friendly’ was mentioned in the activity, they enjoyed telling each other as best friends, they will help each other every day.

If you live locally to Cambridge and would like to attend the Christmas Tree Festival, click here for all the information.

21 Nov 19

Hunters Down Care Home host an ‘Auction of Promise’

Hunters Down Care Home hosted an auction of promise with the residents, relatives and friends of home this week. Senior Lifestyle Coordinator, Clare, lead the session with support from Terry, the husband of a resident living at Hunters Down.

The auction started with Clare and Terry auctioning off promises that had been made by local people/businesses. For example, if you paid for the promise of a home-made Christmas decoration, the person who promised it would then fulfil it.

The promises that were up for auction on the day included: a home-made Christmas cake and a Christmas craft and three card hampers. As well as the promises, people had donated other goods to the care home to be auctioned off and given out on the day.

There was a huge selection up for grabs which included, restaurant vouchers, beauty gifts, wine, and much more. Everyone was excited to see what they could pick up and with no-hesitation, the bidding started.

The room filled with energy as soon as people starting bidding on the items they wanted. Clare explained who had donated the item before accepting offers and before long, the bidding had heated up – even a husband and wife couple at the home were bidding separately on some of the items!

Many of the people in the room, including some of residents had never been to an auction before, enjoyed the lively atmosphere and the bargains they were able to pick up. It was a very entertaining afternoon for all and a huge success as every item was sold.

A total of £350.00 was raised on the day which will go towards the resident’s comfort fund to provide them with new equipment and days out to local attractions.

Thank you to everyone who donated either a promise or an item for the auction and a massive thanks to those who came and took part on the day. All at Hunters Down Care Home appreciates your support!

21 Nov 19

South Fenland Child & Family Centre visit the residents at Aliwal Manor

Residents at Aliwal Manor Care Home receive a monthly visit from the South Fenland Child & Family Centre, where children come for a fun afternoon with the residents. Intergenerational play is encouraged as it provides a range of health and wellbeing benefits for the residents and children. Residents at Aliwal Manor especially enjoy the energy they bring and their enthusiasm encourages people to take in activities they usually wouldn’t.

This scheme has been running since last April and has been hugely successful. The residents look forward to their visits each month as they enjoy meeting new people and passing on words of wisdom.

Five children from the centre turned up this week and although nervous at first, once they saw the games and activities available they went straight to play with them. This included sand trays, which the team filled with toy dinosaurs and other objects so the children could feel the different textures and see what they could find.

It was heart-warming watching as the children played together and enjoyable seeing the excitement on their faces as they uncovered the objects. One of the children didn’t like the feel of the sand on his hands, so turned to Thelma (Resident) to brush it off for him. This helped to create a friendship between the pair and she regularly helped to wipe his hands off throughout the session, making them a great team!

Meanwhile, one of the other children was taking an interest in Florence’s sparkly necklace. He then moved over to Rita who was wearing pearls and had some beads on her jumper. This really caught his attention and then made his way around the circle to see if anyone else had jewellery on. The residents loved this and Jean enjoyed a quick cuddle with him as he passed.

The final activity of the day was a little messier and involved the children dipping their hands and feet in paint and making prints on pieces of paper. Although they said it felt weird, they enjoyed making their marks and decorating them with sicky stars afterwards.

These sessions have a range of benefits for the residents including, a boost in wellbeing, an increase in self-fulfilment and notable changes to their mood. The children also benefit from having a friendly face to talk to and someone who can provide guidance and support.

It was a very enjoyable session and the children left with big smiles on their faces. Residents really appreciate these visits and always look forward to their return.

20 Nov 19

St Fillans get ready for Christmas with Creative Mojo

Residents at St Fillans Care Home have been feeling festive this week as team members invited arts firm Creative Mojo to host a Christmas-themed craft class.

Most of the residents enjoy celebrating Christmas and decorating the home during the lead-up, so this activity helped to engage everyone and offered people the opportunity to have their creations on display around the care home.

A representative from Creative Mojo came to host the session and before starting, handed residents some images they could use as stimuli. This helped to guide creativity and gave residents some inspiration before getting started.

Most of the residents in the group decided to make a colourful wreath using traditional Christmas colours, green and red. Creative Mojo brought a range of different blank shapes with them including leaves and flowers that residents could use to make their wreaths. Whilst painting the different elements, the group enjoyed a chat about Christmas and some of their favourite memories from the past.

After everyone had finished painting, Creative Mojo showed the team how to assemble the wreath. A team member made their way around offering one-to-one support to each resident as this part can be difficult.

Everyone that took part had a great day making decorations. The residents found the activity very relaxing but combined with the Christmas theme and reminiscence, enjoyable and exciting too.

Thanks for your help Creative Mojo, we look forward to seeing you again for some more Christmassy arts and crafts soon!

20 Nov 19

Pearl talks to Hartford Junior School about her role at Excelcare

Pearl is the Lifestyle and Wellbeing Lead for the Cambridgeshire region, who ensures the residents have a wide range of engaging activities to take part in. Part of her role is to create links with local groups like primary schools, churches and independent businesses to take part in activities with the residents and ensure they feel connected with the community.

Hartford Junior School is currently working on an apprenticeship project to show the children alternative options to university and educate them about careers that are available locally. As part of this, Pearl was invited to host a talk at the school to teach the children more about her role and why it’s important. Teachers at the school have highlighted that children are unable to choose a career they know nothing about, so this scheme helps to educate and inspire the students about jobs they may not have heard of.

Pearl started by introducing herself and asking the children if anyone had visited a care home before. Only a few of the children had, so she gave them a summary of what they do and who lives there before telling them about the role of a Lifestyle Coordinator. She said the key skills are being organised, punctual and caring, as lots of her job involves arranging days out / visits from activity groups and each requires lots of background checks and work.

Pearl then moved on and spoke about the way that team members care for the residents. She explained that a person-centred approach is important as everyone is unique and have different hobbies and interests. “You can’t just host an activity because one person likes it”, she said, “it has to be something everyone can take part in and enjoy.”

Pearl then took out some examples of the arts and crafts that people from Cambridgeshire Excelcare homes had made. One example was an Angel that had been made from magazines, ribbons and beads, something the children were very impressed with. Pearl explained the residents are currently making different types of Christmas decorations to put up around the care homes ahead of the festive countdown.

To summarise, Pearl told the children that each of the activities and events she had spoken about all play a part in boosting wellbeing and keeping people happy – the main aim of her job. Before she left, the children had a few questions for her. “Can we come to one of the Care Homes?,” was one of them, so Pearl told the group about Hunters Down Care Home which is only a short walk down the road.

The children thanked Pearl before she left, with one saying “You are the best visitor I have seen in the school.”

Following the talk, the school is planning to visit Hunters Down Care Home, which will help to create intergenerational links for the people living there. You never know, it could inspire some of them to become Lifestyle Coordinators when they grow up!

19 Nov 19

June’s family visit Goldenley Care Home with special guest Alfie

June is a resident at Goldenley Care Home who enjoys spending time with her daughters on the weekend. She is lucky to have a family that play an active role in her care, visit her weekly and check-in with team members about how she is doing.

This week, June’s family stopped by for a visit with a special guest in tow; June’s dog Alfie. As they arrived, June was waiting with a big smile on her face. She didn’t expect them to bring her dog along too, but you could see the bond and happiness they bring to each other as soon as they met.

After the initial excitement, June and her family took a tour of the care home while catching up about the week and sharing stories about what they have been up to. Alfie trotted behind and got lots of attention from the other residents as he walked down the hallways. He was very friendly and let everyone say hello, spreading happiness to other residents during his visit.

June then lead her family to the tea-room to enjoy a coffee before they left. They had a good laugh together and it allowed June to spend some time with Alfie, showing other people all the tricks he could do.

June, her family and all the other residents had a great time during their visit. June is grateful that her family are welcome to visit at any time with her pets, so she can feel connected and in touch with people who don’t live at Goldenley.

19 Nov 19

Rosie from Hunters Down goes above and beyond to help at Christmas

Rosie is as a Team Leader at Hunters Down Care Home. She has worked there for nearly five years and is well known to be a very caring person and someone who will go out of her way to help anyone. As well as caring for the residents and team members at Hunters Down, she also organises charity initiatives and volunteers her time to help people that are less fortunate.

Last year, Rosie introduced a foodbank station to the reception area, where residents, relatives, team members and visitors could all contribute with donations to be sent to the local food bank. This provides vital food to people living below the breadline in areas of poverty and the support that Rosie helped to facilitate has made a big difference to many.

Rosie also set up a similar scheme at easter and Hunters Down managed to donate 14.2kg of chocolate to the foodbank, bringing smiles to many kids in the local communities.

This year, Rosie has signed up to help national homeless charity, Crisis. Crisis help to provide a safe space, personal items and clean clothes to homeless people at Christmas. Their shelters helped over 11,000 people last year and provided them with somewhere warm and dry to sleep, making this a very worthy cause to support.

To bring team members, residents and relatives on board, Rosie has put up posters around the care home and set up a ‘Body Shop party’ to help raise money. Staff were invited to attend with all profits going towards the charity. Everyone had a great time at the party and they raised enough money to provide a space in a shelter for one homeless person.

When Rosie sent the donations to Crisis, they were very grateful and invited her to visit some of their shelters in London and meet the people occupying them.

A huge well-done to Rosie for going above and beyond and bringing these charitable schemes to Hunters Down. Thank you to everyone who helped to raise money and donate food, your contributions have helped to support people who need it the most!

19 Nov 19

Reverend Ank hosts a holy communion service at Primrose Croft

Twice a week, the residents at Primrose Croft receive a visit from the local reverend, Ank Rigelsford. Ank hosts holy communion services at the home, so residents can celebrate their religion, pray and sing along to hymns with their friends. These sessions are optional but open for all the residents to join and partake in, even if they don’t identify as religious.

During the last service, Ank paired the communion with remembrance day and introduced the poppy wreath that residents had made. This added familiarity to the session and residents liked the fact they could remember and pray for those lost in the war with Ank.

As the service moved on, Ank introduced the first Hymn, ‘Amazing Grace.’ This is a beautiful song and one the residents know well, so they enjoyed singing and swaying along in the company of friends. Rev’d Ank then spent some reading scriptures from the bible and followed each with a related prayer.

The second hymn of the service was, ‘Eternal Father’, another of the resident’s favourites. The holy communion followed this song, where residents were handed small bits of bread and fruit juice to symbolise the body and blood of Jesus.

It’s important that residents have the tools in place to celebrate their religion and be supported to practice it. This ensures they can continue feeling fulfilled and keep their sense of identity.

Everyone enjoys these accessible religious services and residents continue to feel the benefits to their wellbeing.

18 Nov 19

Sweyne Court Care Home wins at the Caring UK Awards

Sweyne Court Care Home is celebrating after winning a prestigious award at the Caring UK Awards on Friday night. The national awards recognise excellence in care and award homes and individuals that are excelling in the industry.

Earlier in the year, the care home received a nomination for the Excellence and Innovation in Dementia Care award by relatives of people living at the home. Following an inspection and interview from a member of the judging panel, they received another nomination for the Dementia team of the year award as the inspector was so impressed with what he saw.

After a tense wait, team members from Sweyne Court got dressed up for a star-studded ceremony last Friday night. With 20 categories and seven shortlists in each, the team were nervous but still confident they could take home an award. When Sweyne Court were called as the winner of the Dementia team of the year award, the team were absolutely ecstatic and headed to the stage with big smiles on their faces.

This win adds verification to the team’s excellent work in supporting people, especially those living with dementia and showcases the passion they put into their work every day.

Although they didn’t pick-up both awards, the team were over the moon with their achievements and shared their congratulations to the winning provider.

Home Manager at Sweyne Court, Hayley Gibbs, said, “I can honestly say it was so overwhelming and the staff that attended with me were bursting with pride. I would like to thank all my team and give a huge congratulations and thank you to the regional team for their support and a special thank you to Glenda for coming along. Here’s to next year, we are going for more!”