Month: January 2017

Guest Blog: Applying Danish Hygge to British Social Care

Guest Blog: Applying Danish Hygge to British Social Care

This week’s blog comes from Jane Brightman (Kellas), Project Manager SLQA at Skills for Care.

Over the festive period I indulged in watching a few episodes of Paul Hollywood’s City Bakes (and a few too many chocolates, but that is a matter for a different post). In one episode he was in Denmark and talked a lot about ‘hygge’. I have heard this word before so it peaked my interest to look further into what it means…and maybe learn how to pronounce it properly.

It is said that the Dane’s created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold and the dark. However, apparently hygge didn’t originate in the Danish language but in Norwegian, where it meant something like ‘well-being’. It first appeared in Danish writing around the end of the 18th Century and the Danes have embraced it ever since. One good thing about hygge is that you can apply it anywhere and Danes allocate it generously to everything commonplace.

It has become a bit of a craze over here now with the word joining ‘Brexit’ and ‘Trumpism’ as some of Collins English Dictionary words of the year 2016. With at least nine books about hygge published last year, it seems we Brits are embracing it whole-heartedly.

So, what actually is hygge and how on earth do we pronounce it? ‘Hue-gah’ or ‘hoo-gah’ are the suggested phonetic pronunciations. I have been practicing but am definitely not doing it justice. The word essentially describes a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s brewing tea in china cups, having a cosy evening in with friends, the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal or putting fresh flowers on your table. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special. The Danes use hygge to help them see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not every drudgery to get away from. They say it is about being present enough to recognise and acknowledge an act, moment or feeling when the ordinary feels extraordinary.

While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentedness, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simplicity.

So now to the subject of my article, how can we apply this to our social care delivery? I think you can see where I am going with this. As the deliverers of care we need to support the people we care for to express and find their own hygge, but how?

In researching I have discovered that a lot of people express the things that bring them this feeling through boards on Pinterest (if you are a Pinner go and have a look). Actually people are doing it without realising that it is hygge. They are expressing the things that make them happy, contented, comfortable – that give them a sense of well-being. My own sparse Pinterest account is mostly chocolate, coffee, dogs and garden based; my hygge. If I needed care tomorrow and couldn’t easily express my hygge, someone could easily see it from my Pinterest boards. I’m not suggesting that we set up Pinterest boards for everyone we support…or am I? Well actually, why not? If it is too technical why not create a physical board using cut out images and photos. Family members and friends could help too.

When I spend time with care leaders I all too often hear about frustrations of staff not reading or understanding care plans. Nine times out of ten that is because they are difficult to read and understand but again, the subject for a different post. I think that care staff would instantly get an understanding of a person from their Pinterest boards (or hygge board). Care information can be complex and confusing. The use of visuals can help break through barriers of literacy, intelligence, and culture to provide information that everyone can understand in a single glance. Research indicates that people process visuals 60,000 times quicker than text. Images allow you to literally show care staff the information in a format they can easily understand.

Of course, once we know this information and have communicated it to care staff, we need to act on bringing it to life for the people we support. Maybe something a Key Worker could do? Or maybe you could introduce the idea to your teams by asking them to create their own hygge board first?

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Peninsula Care Homes Celebrates National Careers Week

Peninsula Care Homes Celebrates National Careers Week

Recruitment in the care sector is at an all-time low, this is a particular challenge for Peninsula Care Homes due to the remote location of some of our Devon based Homes.

We want to allay the rumours that the general public have about careers in care and promote the roles, ‘working in care is immensely fun, sometimes challenging, but always rewarding and enjoyable!’

At Peninsula we believe that every one of our staff plays a key role in providing outstanding care. We want our staff to perform to their best.  Staff are genuinely kind and compassionate and often go the extra mile to provide residents with excellent, high quality care.  We support residents based on their individual needs and strive to maintain the best possible quality of life in a home from home environment.

We find out as much as possible about each of our residents; who would have known that John has visited twelve Countries, Margaret has met the Queen three times and that Cyril was a mountaineer… residents relish the opportunity to share stories and staff love listening to them.

If you are a tactile person, many of our residents still enjoy human touch, cuddles, kisses and hand holding are free of charge and can change the way someone is feeling in an instance.

In return we provide a wide range of training delivered in-house or using outside providers, senior staff are encouraged to mentor junior staff and all our managers have an open door policy.  Staff attend seminars and conferences based around the ever changing culture in care.  Staff recently experienced the Virtual Dementia Tour, which provided an excellent insight into what living with dementia may be like.

It is possible to have a career in care, we have had staff commence as Carers, progress to Senior Carers, Team Leaders and eventually become Registered Managers.  Other roles include our Activity Co-ordinators who provide entertainment for physical and mental stimulation as well as general well-being.  Residents often rekindle hobbies and interests that they may not have done for 50 years…  Our Cooks prepare good quality home cooked food and are encouraged to interact with residents to find out the likes and dislikes.  Domestic and laundry teams have a huge part to play, chatting to residents as they go about their daily routines. Admin staff, maintenance staff, kitchen assistants to name a few.

Working hours are flexible too, you can do a 6 hour or 12 hour shift, therefore you could work three 12 hour shifts and have a four day weekend!

In summing up, our residents are never lonely and neither are our staff.  If you have ever thought about a career in care, what’s stopping you?

For further information please contact:

Dianne Gregory, Business Manager, Peninsula Care Homes Ltd

Email: di@peninsulacarehomes.co.uk

www.peninsulacarehomes.co.uk

National Hot Tea Month

National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month a fantastic excuse to have an extra cup of tea and indulge in a biscuit or piece of cake.

Tea has been drunk for thousands of years, originating from China. From there it grew in prominence until it was one of the most important beverages in the world. Some say it rivals coffee as the drink of choice for mornings.

Tea is mostly drunk hot but iced tea or cold tea because you simply forget to drink it while it was hot is often experienced.

What’s your favourite tea? We have arranged some tea tasting within the homes from fruit teas, herbal teas to different leaves of tea. Our tea tasting adds to our collection of activities to encourage hydration. We will see what the favourite is and then have the discussion on how to make the perfect cup of tea. Does the milk go in first or not at all, lemon, honey, weak tea or “builder’s brew”, cup and saucer or mug and so many choices.

Cornerways have already had one tasting session trying peppermint tea, peach & raspberries, and strawberry & raspberry tea. The favourite by a large margin was strawberry & raspberry with no one liking peppermint tea.

So put the kettle on and enjoy your favourite tea whatever that may be. If you’re in Moretonhampstead on January 20th please do join our coffee/tea morning.

Cornerways couple celebrate 71st Wedding Anniversary in style

Cornerways couple celebrate 71st Wedding Anniversary in style

Our first guest blog of the year comes from Peninsula Care Homes Business Manager, Dianne Gregory, who met with Cornerways resident couple celebrating their 71st Wedding Anniversary. Dianne shares her blog with us:

We were privileged at Cornerways recently to share in the celebrations of residents John and Cicely Balson who boast 71 years of marriage! After a bit of research I was unable to find the recognised symbol of 71 years, with 60 years being an expensive Diamond and 70 years being more expensive Platinum, I decided that 71 years must just be put down to ‘true love’

I met with both John and Cicely to find out a bit more…

John, originally from Bristol commenced in the army as a mechanical engineer but after a serious accident and with severe burns to his legs he was hospitalised for a year and asked to leave the army. Sheer determination from his mother pleading with the army to take him back enabled John to continue his career.

Cicely formerly from Scartho, Grimsby also joined the army as a shorthand typist.

They first met at Buntingford Barracks, Hertfordshire. John was 20 years old and Cicely 19 years, they were married in December 1945 in Cicelys local church in Scartho, a reception followed at the parish hall. As the war had only recently ended, food remained rationed but Cicelys mother produced a beautiful spread for all 100 guests.

With both John and Cicely in the army they were fortunate to travel to many Countries including Korea, Hong Kong, Malta and Germany to name a few.

They have a son, Mervyn and daughter, Patricia, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

They moved to Paignton following retirement and to be nearer to their son.

They are quite rightly proud of all the service medals they have received and remember fondly meeting members of the Royal Family.

army-medals

I asked the secret of a long and happy marriage, and Cicely said “we’ve always helped each other and never rowed” John smiled in agreement… She went on to say, that they always worked hard, and she would often do additional shorthand work in the evenings, she said they both had a very good work ethic.