Category: Activities

Parkland House Poets present ‘This is your home’

Parkland House Poets present ‘This is your home’

Following the success of their Christmas and Easter message, the Parkland House poets have surprised us again with another touching poem reflecting the removal of wearing a uniform in the care home.

This is your home, and we’d like to welcome you,

We’ll open our arms and guide you,

Now this is your home, we’ll help you to embrace,

We’ll ensure you have your own space.

 

We are all here together to share the day,

We will help the bad days fade away,

Nothing is more important than wearing a smile,

To provide that extra mile.

 

Uniforms we used were once adorned,

Now we have been reformed.

No longer do we wear the barrier that separates us,

Wearing our smiles and our individuality is a must.

 

Now the uniforms have gone,

As carers we feel re-born,

We can unite as one,

As the uniforms are done.

 

Uniforms say to dementia you are ill and different from me,

Now our own clothing says we are a part of your family,

Everyone likes our bright colours we wear,

It makes them smile, comment and stare.

 

The uniforms gave a clinical air,

Now our clothing says we are fair,

We still approach with respect and care,

We are a part of the family that’s always there.

By Rhianne, Bekki, Lyn, Ann

Quote – “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”

Nelson Mandela.

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?

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.

World Nursery Rhyme Week

World Nursery Rhyme Week

This week its World Nursery Rhyme Week and having recently visited Cornerways with my one year old son, Jack, it appears nursery rhymes are similar to Christmas Carols you never seem to forget them.  Jack had a gentleman sing “Humpty Dumpty”  whilst a lady recited “Pat a cake” complete with actions.  

Do you have a favourite that you could recite?  I seem to find myself singing “twinkle twinkle little star” and it does help Jack go to sleep probably because he’s had enough of my singing.  We go to swimming lessons each week and all techniques are learnt whilst singing nursery rhymes: “12345 Once I Caught A Fish Alive”, “The Grand Old Duke of York” to name a few.

I hadn’t until recently ever considered how important nursery rhymes are in early childhood development. Some experts claim that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four, they are usually amongst the best readers and spellers in their class.  Nursery rhymes are great way to learn early phonic skills, they provide practice in pitch, volume as well as language rhythm.  Experts believe that its not just language development they help with its cognitive development, physical development, aid with maths, as well as providing social/emotional development.  With all these benefits we will certainly keep reciting nursery rhymes to our little one.

In the spirit of World Nursery Rhyme Week, Parkland House residents spent an afternoon this week reciting nursery rhymes and reminiscing about their favourite childhood rhymes. All the residents remembered all the words and thoroughly enjoyed the activity.

parkland-house-resident-nursery-rhyme-afternoon

So in the Homes during World Nursery Rhyme Week  don’t be surprised if you hear staff and residents reminiscing on their favourite nursery rhymes, participating in nursery rhyme themed quizzes and perhaps making our own rhymes up.  If you have a little one or grand or even great grandchild there is some fantastic free resources available on Musicbugs website and in some local libraries.

http://www.musicbugs.co.uk/

Guest Blog: Cornerways Activity Coordinator’s September Highlights

Guest Blog: Cornerways Activity Coordinator’s September Highlights

Jane & Robert Cornerways Activity Co-ordinator’s share some highlights in their latest guest blog.

September was a very busy month for Cornerways with a new rail carriage frieze in the dining room complete with new furniture, new flooring, lights and railway inspired pictures.

We had a ‘Colour Clash Day’ to raise money for the charity Rowcroft Hospice, raising a total £109.00. Staff, residents and residents families dressed up in vibrant vivid clashing colours. The residents decorated cakes with similar bright colours which were on sale to visitors and staff. Our chef Robin excelled himself with rainbow cakes and also helped raise money when a member of staff offered to pay to see him get a creamy cake in the face! Which we boldly agreed to.

cornerways-chef

We held our first ever ‘Cornerways Fashion Show’ with staff, residents, the hair dresser and relatives modelling their favourite outfits and hats. Relatives and staff enjoyed it so much they have asked for it to be an annual event.

Residents also enjoyed a ‘Cheese and Wine Party’ that went down a storm.

cornerways-cheese-wine-party

October is proving to be another busy month seeing residents enjoy a Chocolate Week tasting afternoon, Swinging 60’s Themed Day and Seafront walks to enjoy the autumn colours (fingers crossed weather permitting).

Chocolate Week and National Curry Week

Chocolate Week and National Curry Week

It’s a busy week for foodies with Chocolate Week and National Curry Week being celebrated.

Whether it’s a Thai curry, Japanese curry or Indian curry, fiery, hot or mild, many people enjoy a curry. The most popular takeaway is apparently Indian with two thirds of meals out being Indian.

Our residents aren’t planning to beat the 2012 poppadom tower record, where 1280 poppadoms were piled high to celebrate National Curry Week. There is however curry on the menu in some of our homes and certainly a chocolate pudding option as standard.

Chocolate week has certainly captured everyone’s attention within the homes. Cornerways are starting their week and Bramble Down are ending their week with a chocolate fountain sensory tasting afternoon. A number of things will be dipped into the melted chocolate and enjoyed by many.

If you are visiting the homes, feel free to bring some chocolate treats for residents to enjoy and have fun judging their favourites, so they make pick their winners.

Happy Chocolate week and National Curry Week everyone.

How dolls can help some residents with dementia

How dolls can help some residents with dementia

If you visit one of our residential homes you may find residents with dolls treating them as a baby, this is part of doll therapy also known as cuddle therapy.  The theory behind doll/cuddle therapy is that for someone it may bring back happy memories, with the doll being cared for as they would have cared for a baby. We try to use dolls that are as lifelike as possible but they don’t cry as this could cause distress.

Memory loss is a large part of dementia and affects each person differently.  Often memory can be recalled from earlier in their life, but recent events or familiar recent situations may be forgotten.  The Alzheimer’s Society say “It is thought that older memories – which are thought about more often – become more firmly established and are more likely to be recalled than newer memories.”

Doll therapy has been in use for over 20 years but much of the evidence supporting its use is anecdotal.  There are studies done by a number of bodies, NICE guidelines which are favourable about the therapeutic use of dolls with people living with dementia but like all things doll therapy isn’t something that will work with all people.  Where it works studies show it could be used to increase positive behaviours and decrease negative behaviours.  We therefore provide dolls in our homes for those that benefit from comfort, activity, inclusion, communication & interaction, identity and the memories dolls/baby can evoke.

We will never force dolls on anyone, like everything there must be a choice.  We had a baby doll in one of our homes, lying in a small Moses basket and it brought a smile to many when they watched a gentleman gently rock the basket with his foot.  You couldn’t help but wonder how many hours he had perhaps spent rocking his own children to sleep.

I have visited with my own son and sat with a lady who had her ‘baby’ doll and was happy chatting about sleep habits and sharing some top tips with me. The whole time we spoke she was stroking her doll whilst it was on her lap.

Within our homes we are constantly looking to introduce activities that bring a smile and for those that choose to care for the baby dolls a lot of pleasure is gained and looks of contentment on resident’s faces.

We will soon be introducing a reminiscence box of baby things which will help stimulate memories and stories.  So far we have nappies, knitted clothes, baby grows, first shoes, and talc to name a few.

For some dolls provide purpose, nurture and comfort and it is for them that we have dolls available in our homes.

Here is an example of doll therapy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj8aURIEKLE