8 Jan 20

Announcement: Excelcare’s Got Talent returns for 2020

Excelcare’s Got Talent was one of our highlight events in 2019. Team members from across the group were invited to show off their hidden talents and prove that providing quality care isn’t their only skill.

Team members attended in their numbers to perform on stage, whilst their colleagues provided support from the audience. Acts on the day included a dance performance from team members at Hunters Down, a vocal performance by Bethany from Sweyne Court and an impressive piano act by Eleuterio from Westport Care Home. Although the residents weren’t able to make it along, team members know they have a range of talents amongst them, so they took part from the care home via pre-recorded performances which were displayed on the screen during the day.

Following the success of the event, we have decided to bring it back, bigger and better this year to further celebrate the talents of our family. The competition will be made up of two categories again, one for residents and the other for team members. Auditions will take place between the 13th and 24th January before shortlists begin for the regional semi-finals. Team members in each region will then decide who to put through to the grand final on February 3rd.

The winning acts will be invited to perform at the highly anticipated Excelcare x Guildmore summer party, where the whole group comes together to celebrate the year. £100 vouchers will also form part of the prize package as well as a luxury lunch for four. So perfect your singing skills and squeeze in some extra music practice as the competition is set to be tight this year – good luck!

8 Jan 20

Brook House resident , Christine recieves a surprise gift

Before the Christmas break, we invited residents, relatives and team members from across the Excelcare group to take part in a Christmas Card competition. All of the entries were to be judged by COO, Sam Manning who pledged a prize for the winning card. As part of the prize, the winning design would be used as the company Christmas Card that goes out to all residents and team members.

Christine at Brook House Care Home was one of the residents that took part in the competition. Rather than using lots of different materials, she decided to use her artistic skills to draw a Christmas scene that featured some residents. She added Christmassy colours and once complete, was very happy with what she created.

When all of the cards had been collated, Sam looked through them to pick a winner. There were loads of really impressive cards, but Christine’s card stood out from the rest and she was announced as the winner! Team members at the home said she was delighted with the win and so happy to see her design on the front of everyone’s card.

Brook House is a care home at the heart of its community and has links with many local people and organisations. When their friends from Cambridge United found out Christine had won our competition, they decided to congratulate her with some personalised gifts. She was delighted to receive the package, which included a calendar from ‘her boys’ and a card signed by the whole team. “This is one of the best presents I’ve ever received”, she said.

This was a really fulfilling scheme for Christine to be a part of as not only did it encourage some creative competition, but as a result of her efforts, helped to develop friendships with the community too.

Well done Christine and a big thank you to the people at Cambridge United for surprising her with a gift!

7 Jan 20

A day in the life of a resident at Sweyne Court Care Home

Team members at Sweyne Court Care Home took part in a ‘day in the life’ reflective training exercise this week. The session aimed to help team members to understand what it was like to be a resident at the care home, so they could experience their feelings and feedback on the care provided with suggested improvements.

Team member Taylor stepped up to play the resident while the rest of the group were briefed on her needs. They were told that the resident (Taylor) was living with dementia, needed assistance with most physical tasks and could only consume liquids. Team members would then have to react and respond as if these were her real needs.

After some time spent playing out daily life, the team and Taylor came back together so she could feedback on the way she felt. There was lots of praise to team members for being observant and coming to help when needed, without getting in the way her independence. She felt their approach was dignified and respectful throughout.

Team members were then asked to act as if they didn’t care about the resident and see how that shifted Taylor’s experience. This time, team members would ignore her, walk-off when they didn’t understand her and not offer support as they previously had been. This aimed to show the group what it feels like for people who aren’t receiving good care, so team members could understand what that would look and feel like.

After regrouping, Taylor said this approach made her feel more isolated and less motivated to do things. She said being ignored and not supported with physical activities made her feel debilitated and of little worth.

This was an eye-opening activity for the team members which gave them a valuable insight into what impact person-centred care can have as opposed to poor levels of care. Everyone really enjoyed this training exercise and said it was a helpful way of getting into the minds of the residents.

Team members at the home have used this experience as motivation to keep providing care that is personalised, dignified and respectful, so residents never have to experience the negative thoughts and feelings that were highlighted during the training.

7 Jan 20

Rita’s Story: A life fulfilled

Rita was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland. She was an only child and lived with her mother, who worked as a Tailoress locally.

In her early years, Rita didn’t like school as her teacher wasn’t very nice, but had a much better time when she reached secondary. She liked learning about the world but had a creative side too and remembers Geography, History and Art being her favourite subjects.

At the age of 10, Rita and her mother moved to Coates in Cambridgeshire. They travelled around the area, moving houses a couple of times before settling in Whittlesey. Both Rita and her mother liked it there and knew this is where they would stay, so Rita began looking for a job. Her first position was a junior in a printer’s office. She smiled as she said “I made lots of tea and coffee.” Although it wasn’t always fun, she got many compliments about her ‘proper’ cups of coffee.

Some years later, Rita met a man who lived just around the corner from her. They got on well and would regularly go to local dances together. Little did Rita know at the time, but this would be the man she would marry. He was in the armed forces and had already earned two stripes but opted out of going for his third, as he wanted to be with Rita and didn’t want her to marry someone else while he was away.

The couple married happily in the company of friends and family. Rita’s husband had a large family of 16 which was a little different to her only child upbringing. Growing up on her own had made her want a large family though, so she was happy to have lots of people around. The ceremony was held at the Registry Office in Whittlesey and the reception was in Whittlesey Hall. Having a mum who was once a Tailoress worked in Rita’s favour, as her mother hand-made her wedding dress and jacket. She recalls it being very detailed, featuring lace and patterning on the sleeves. “It was beautiful,” she said.

Now living at Aliwal Manor Care Home in Whittlesey, Rita is an active resident who likes to maintain her independence. A few months ago, when Rita was getting the bus into town, she noticed a lady that she recognised. She was looking back at Rita too, so the pair got chatting and it soon came to light that Rita’s mother had made this lady’s wedding dress. It was a really special moment for Rita and one which brought back family memories from the past. Being recognised and having friends in the wider community is really fulfilling for the people living at Aliwal Manor, as it reminds them they are still valued and appreciated outside of the care home.

6 Jan 20

New year celebrations at Buchan House Care Home

Buchan House residents enjoyed a homely start to 2020 as they celebrated the new year with friends and family at the care home.

The Christmas and new year period is a special time for the residents, as relatives usually visit and there are lots of activities to get involved with. This always provides a boost in wellbeing to those living at the care home and can help to bring back personal family moments from the past.

Keeping in with the family spirit, team members celebrated the start of the new year with residents in the lounge. They had a chat about their achievements in 2019 as well as any standout memories, before going on to discuss their aims and ambitions for 2020. It was fulfilling to hear all of the positive things that people achieved or experienced in the previous year as well as their goals for the future.

The celebrations wouldn’t be complete without a tipple, so team members offered out glasses of Sherry or Hot Chocolate to each of the residents. The group enjoyed a toast to health and positivity, before settling down for an afternoon of classic films.

Everyone at Buchan House had a great time celebrating the new year together in the presence of friends and family. It was great seeing everyone united as we entered the new decade!

6 Jan 20

Goldenley residents experience sights and sounds of the Amazon!

Residents at Goldenley Care Home had a welcome addition to the home this week – a new Amazon themed area.

Faith is a Lifestyle Coordinator at Goldenley Care Home, who recently noticed a communal area that wasn’t being used. Faith wanted to ensure the residents were making the most of their home and thought a themed makeover may change that. In a meeting with the residents that week, Faith told the group of her plans to transform the space and asked people to put forward their theme suggestions. Roger was one of the residents who attended the meeting and suggested they turn it into an Amazon jungle-themed space. He said it’s a big topic in today’s world with lots of trees and land being cleared. He also said the sights and sounds of nature are calming so it would make for a good theme.

The group loved Roger’s idea, so Faith headed out to pick up some paint and decorations. To make sure they got what they wanted, Faith took two of the residents with her to help.

After some debate, they decided on a nice shade of green and some lovely plants to help bring the jungle theme to Goldenley. Alton Gardens were kind enough to donate a voucher towards the shop, which the group used to buy a Flamingo statue.

Back at the care home, Faith began transforming the space with help from other team members. The green paint made a huge difference, bringing colour and light to the area. The plants and other ornamental items helped to complete the look and residents were really happy with the final result.

Home Manager Christine wasn’t quite satisfied though and thought it needed something else to really immerse people in the theme. For this, Christine bought an Amazon Echo device, so people could listen to sounds of the rainforest or music while they relax and socialise in this new, tranquil space.

Creating environments that keep the residents engaged can be really beneficial to their wellbeing, especially themed areas as they provide a ‘getaway’ type of experience. A change of scenery can also have a positive impact on mood as it can help to calm or cheer a person up.

Since the transformation was completed, residents love spending time in this area whilst sounds of the Amazon play in the background. It really helps people to relax and brings a smile to those who are passing.

If you are local to Goldenley Care Home or would like to come and relax with some residents in our new ‘Amazon retreat’, please call the home on: 01268 758487.

3 Jan 20

Residents enjoy festive musical entertainment at Windmill Lodge

The people who live at Windmill Lodge had some wonderful treats over the festive season, including a Christmas party, entertainment and fun.  Lifestyle Coordinator, Grace, organised a visit from the Christian Women UK, who delighted residents by beautifully singing Christmas carols in a capella at the annual Christmas party.

As music is a huge part of Windmill’s lively social gatherings, Grace also arranged for Derek Aidoo from Healthy Happy Music to come along too. He performed live music and got everyone singing and dancing along. He also organised a mini Christmas quiz and if someone got an answer to a question right, they got to pull a cracker, which was a great source of amusement and lots of cheering was to be heard.

The home had a very fun and all inclusive Christmas Day as well, with Home Manager, Michelle, Lifestyle Coordinator, Susan and three residents dressing as Santa, Mrs Santa and elves, visiting every resident and handing out gifts. Everyone enjoyed a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and a lovely time was had by all.

3 Jan 20

Paul Presley brings the vibes of Vegas to Goldenley

Lifestyle Coordinator at Goldenley Care Home, Faith Jones, arranged for a special guest appearance for this year’s annual Christmas party. Paul Davidson is an Elvis Presley tribute act, ‘Paul Presley’, based locally in Essex, who has the voice that when you close your eyes you can imagine you’re right there in Las Vegas.

It’s not the first time that Paul has shown his skills off as the king of Rock ‘n’ Roll, as back in the summer, he made his inaugural appearance at the home. Faith says “When I asked the residents if they would like Paul to come back when he performed for them in the summer, it was a resounding yes and he said it would be a pleasure, so I thought he would be great for their Christmas party.”

Paul is a now a very popular showman with residents, as not only did he serenade individuals he gave out with flower garlands, sang Christmas hits, as well as favourites and charmed residents, family and team members alike. Everyone, but especially the ladies, had so much fun. Maureen, who lives at Goldenley, was blown away, saying “He is absolutely marvellous and I love his voice.”  Liz another resident, said, “He is gorgeous” and smiled the whole way through the performance. Thanks for bringing the glitz of Vegas to our home this festive season, Paul, you’re welcome back anytime.

2 Jan 20

Buchan House residents enter 2020 in style with a haircut from Gill

Residents at Buchan House Care Home entered the new year looking fresh after Hairdresser Gill visited the Care Home. As well as a wonderful hairdresser, Gill is a friend to all of the residents and enjoys learning about their recent achievements and family events whilst cutting their hair. This makes for enjoyable, personal conversation while they sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that Gill will do a good job!

In her most recent visit, residents entered the salon and one by one, came out looking brand-new! One of the residents who got a new-do was Mary (pictured). She especially enjoys being pampered by Gill as it brings back memories from years gone by. Many of the residents used to visit similar salons which in their time were sociable and friendly environments where friends and locals would catch-up. So making the salon a familiar place for the residents is important as it helps to establish trust and comfort.

Gill visits Buchan House every Monday and is brilliant with the residents. She listens to their personal needs and requests, making sure they feel relaxed throughout. She brings so much happiness and team members always notice a boost in mood and wellbeing after she has visited.

Thanks to Gill, all of the residents at Buchan House are looking and feeling great. We’d like to wish you all a happy new year and the best of success in 2020!

2 Jan 20

Christmas Decoration winners start the new year with a charitable donation

Each Christmas, teams at Excelcare’s Head Office are challenged to transform their departments into festively decorated spaces. Innovation and creativity are encouraged as each room is judged on the interactivity, overall attractiveness and the contribution towards charity. This year, the chosen charity was Crisis, so people were asked to make donations of gifts and long-life food as part of their efforts.

Each department had from the first of December to get their areas looking festive, before CEO, Ozzie and COO, Sam Manning would judge each on the 16th.

Team members from each department got involved with the activity, hand-making decorations and creating impressive displays. The IT department made an admirable effort and decorated the ceiling with lights and hanging tinsel, while HR (Human Resources) made a Grinch themed design, with Head of People Operations, Osa, playing the Grinch.

The prize for the winners of the Christmas decoration competition was a £100 donation to their charity of choice and team night out. After judging each of the department’s decorations with help of special guest, Bailey Manning, she announced the HR and Recruitment team as the joint winners alongside Quality and Governance, Pr and Marketing.

With two winners, the senior management team decided that both teams would get a charitable donation on their behalf and a joint team game of bowling. HR and Recruitment chose to donate their money to children’s charity Demelza, whilst Quality & Governance, PR and Marketing donated theirs to homeless-help charity, Crisis.

Not only did this create some friendly competition internally, but also helped to raise money for some important charities. Happy new year to you all!