February is National Bird Feeding Month. It is a time to welcome back the birdsong and the early signs of Spring. As the February and March weather can be quite unpredictable, our homes have started to make simple bird feeders to hang in the gardens for our little friends. See our recipe for Bird cake below:
a speedy bird cake
Make this quick and easy cake to keep the birds happy!
You will need:
- Good quality bird seed
- Grated cheese
- Suet or lard
- Yoghurt pots
- Mixing bowl
Not suitable for people with nut allergies. Note that
bird seed, including peanuts bought for birds, is not suitable for human
make a small hole in the bottom of a yoghurt pot. Thread string through the
hole and tie a knot on the inside. Leave enough string so that you can tie the
pot to a tree or your bird table.
- Allow the lard to warm up to room temperature, but don’t melt it. Then cut it up into small pieces and put it in the mixing bowl.
the other ingredients to the bowl and mix them together with your finger tips.
Keep adding the seed/raisin/cheese mixture and squidging it until the fat holds
it all together.
your yoghurt pots with bird cake mixture and put them in the fridge to set for
an hour or so.
Hang your speedy bird cakes from trees or your bird table. Watch for greenfinches, tits and possibly even great spotted woodpeckers.
Have fun bird watching!
Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening
response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and
death. Medically, Sepsis is your body’s
immune system overresponding to an infection.
In February last year, PCH’s Chairman David Arnold sadly
passed away due to Sepsis. On this first
anniversary, we thought we’d share links to the Sepsis Trust to increase
The Sepsis Trust is working to saves lives and improve
outcomes for survivors. They raise
public awareness, educate the public and support those affected by sepsis.
During our Devon Care Kitemark conference last year, Pippa Richards – Lead Nurse for sepsis at Musgrove Park Hospital shared a simple video which is available on YouTube, it’s worth a watch, taking only 5 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGfC82UnOH8
The UK Sepsis Trust share sepsis screening and action tools
for community nurses and care assistants. The tools are available to view in
all our homes.
We already have had PCH staff rightly seek medical help for
residents suspecting sepsis. We hope
that increased awareness “Just ask: Could it be Sepsis” will save others and
help prevent death from sepsis.
If you would like to join the UK Sepsis Trust’s current
campaign “Streets Against Sepsis” please visit their website: https://sepsistrust.org
We will be raising money for the UK Sepsis Trust
during 2019 and will let you know further details in due course.
We have asked each home to tell us the top ten presents they would suggest for residents this Christmas. They were actually nearly all the same so here they are in no particular order:
- Technology as suitable (Echo Dot, tablet)
- Slippers and/or shoes
- Sweets and/or chocolate
- Jumper or cardigan
- Create resident own playlist of favourite music
- Favourite tipple
- Plant – amaryllis are popular
- Hairdresser or pampering voucher
Our last request is please do buy clothes that are suitable for tumble dryers and of course don’t forget to label them please. Happy Christmas shopping!
If you have visited any of our homes in the lately you would be under the impression that we LOVE baking!
After a successful trial runs, our Activity Coordinators are now running fortnightly cooking clubs for residents to take part in baking some traditional cakes, biscuits, sweets and desserts.
The cooking clubs are very popular and a firm favourite among residents and visitors. One family member mentioned she loves to visit during the cooking club to make cakes with her mum as she used to quite often and that it has been great for involving family members.
The smell of freshly baked treats brings back so many wonderful memories, but of course it is all about the bake. Reports are good and so far no bake off disasters!
We see and hear how much joy baking brings our residents and we look forward to sharing more of their bakes with you.
PCH Marketing & Admin Coordinator, Nikita Morgan on Libraries Week 2018
Do we make the most out of our library services?
Something I was questioned about at a recent Literacy meeting at my daughter’s school to help develop her reading and writing skills. It got me thinking do we really make the most of visiting our local libraries and using the resources available to all of us? And how can I help bring the library experience to our homes?
As part of learning from a young age, we are encouraged to read and be read to as much as possible and as it has been regularly publicized, continuing to read books boosts our mental well-being.
As we focus on Libraries Week we are also helping raise awareness of World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10th October. As part of everyday care in our homes, our staff make a huge effort to initiate positive thinking from residents. Sometimes by simply starting a conversation & giving positive comments or feedback. Some staff will pick up a book or newspaper to read with a resident so they can still enjoy the experience.
Books have always been a part of our lives and routines at home and often provide an escape from the stresses of every day life. Many or our residents enjoy their weekly or monthly subscriptions to their favourite newspaper or magazines. Our homes will always have a selection of novels to read in the lounges which are available to everyone. It is great to see them sharing the news or story with others and members of staff, it goes to show it is a great form of communication and social interaction.
Some of our homes are lucky to be in areas close to a local library and have in the past had the library visit the home. As part of Libraries Week, we are working with our activity staff to arrange visits with residents to their local libraries and include a coffee stop at the library café if available. Visiting a library would have been a weekly occurrence for some of our residents and we would like to help re-create this for them.
We are always happy to hear from volunteers who perhaps would like to spend some time reading with residents, please do get in touch. If you have any books you would like to donate, do let us know, they will always be greatly appreciated in the homes.
Happy Libraries Week and happy World Mental Health Day!
@caribbeanfoodwk #CFW2018 #FlavaWithABeat
PCH Marketing & Admin Coordinator, Nikita Morgan, shares her experience and love of Caribbean food.
This week many will be celebrating Caribbean Food Week and all the exciting flavours and techniques of Caribbean cooking.
Some of our homes shared Caribbean food experiences during the recent Care Home Open Day back in April. Residents, staff and visitors were treated to Jamaican style pulled pork for lunch followed by some Reggae beats. This was part of the NAPA challenge 2018 – A food journey around the Commonwealth http://www.napa-activities.com/whatson/napa-challenge-2018
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to travel to Jamaica and experience the very best food the Caribbean has to offer. The main dish of course being Jerk Chicken. Many mistake the meaning of ‘Jerk’ to be the sauce or flavour, however it actually refers to how the chicken is cooked. Usually in a steal drum BBQ over a pit of coals after marinating in a special blend of Jamaican spices. The most popular Jerk Chicken or Jerk Pork is usually served with rice or yam (grown on the island, very similar to potato).
When I visited the Blue Mountains, famous for its coffee plantations, I discovered it was also the best place to find the freshest banana’s I have ever tasted. They were more of an orange in comparison to the white/yellow we are used to in the UK. This was just one of the many wonderful fruits on offer grown on the island and all freshly picked that day. My particular favourite had to be the Jamaican Coconuts.
After a lot of trekking we came across the highly recommended Eits Café, popular not just for its famous visitors, stunning mountain views and resident hummingbirds, but also for it amazing locally sourced dishes. Eits short for ‘Europe in the Summer’ is a clever mix of European dishes and flavours tied in with traditional Jamaican cooking and tastes. The result is delicious. Even Levi Roots (famous Jamaican sauce creator) himself recommends the fresh okra and fried bammy (fish and flatbread). I tried a glorious shrimp pasta, crab cakes, plantains (cooking banana) and very generously doused rum cake. Of course finished off with a brew of Blue Mountain Coffee.
Jamaica has so many tasty and fresh foods to choose from and it is fun to re-create some of the dishes back home, especially for Caribbean Food Week. Another traditional Jamaican snack is the patty, similar to a pasty but filled with a unique Jamaican curry blend with chicken, beef or vegetables. The pastry is to die for and I have not come across a recipe to match this yet. So I may not have the Caribbean weather or Norman the Patty Man, but I did bring back some Jamaican spices which I will be using to ‘Jerk’ my chicken dishes this week!
This week we are celebrating National Allotment Week a week early as everyone is out enjoying the warmer weather.
Our homes have their own allotments on site which residents enjoy looking after. As we know most of our residents are keen gardeners and several owned their own allotment.
According to the Kings Fund “increasing people’s use of green spaces has been linked to long-term reductions in health problems as well as higher physical activity and increased self-rated mental health.” It seems appropriate to be sharing the statement from The Kings Fund during #NationalAllotmentWeek.
They have grown a variety of produce including potatoes, beans, courgettes, marrow, beautiful sweet peas and much more in the making. Once collected, the residents prepare the produce to be used in the kitchen for meals.
If you fancy helping our homes create more allotments or give a helping hand in tending to the gardens, then we would love to hear from you.
We are celebrating Picnic Week!
In the warmer months our residents enjoy taking part in picnic lunches in the gardens. Our homes have various spots with benches and tables to provide the perfect picnic spot. And on occasion residents may enjoy a picnic on a trip out to the seaside.
Putting together a picnic is great fun and something we all love to do when the sun is shining. It is also a great opportunity for our residents to join in social interactions in what may have been considered a family and friends summer tradition.
Top tips for a picnic:
Be prepared: Fill up your picnic hamper with all the essentials and the extras. Don’t forget the cheese and crackers for light nibbles and plenty of plates!
Let’s entertain: As well as lots of lovely food and drinks to choose from, packing some books, games and perhaps a music player would be great for those looking to relax.
Cover up: As the perfect picnic weather appears, it is important not to forget to apply sun protectors, such as creams or sprays and be prepared for insect bites or high pollen counts. Pack items which may provide shade and covers for food.
Keep it clean: Enjoy a great picnic and always leave the area as you found it!
Amongst our staff and residents we have a number of individuals living with diabetes. These include those that are newly diagnosed as well as some who have lived with the condition for years. This year’s focus of Diabetes Week is sharing top tips and encouraging more conversation regarding diabetes.
Diabetes UK website states that someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes. With that in mind we thought we would share some information from their website which we found useful.
Knowing the facts, rather than relying on out of date or incorrect information.
Myth 1: People with diabetes cannot have sugar. Having diabetes does not mean you have to have a sugar-free diet. However those with diabetes should follow a healthy balanced diet that is low in salt and sugar.
Myth 2: People with diabetes should eat ‘diabetic foods’. Diabetic UK does not recommend individuals eat ‘diabetic’ foods, because they still affect your blood glucose levels and for some can give you diarrhoea.
We also believe their link to the “Evidence-based nutrition guidelines for the prevention and management of Diabetes for adults” is a useful resource. The guidelines was to draw to together and formulate recommendations from all available evidence highlighting the importance of foods, rather than focusing on individual nutrients, wherever possible.
The guidelines recommend
- An individualised approach to diet taking into consideration the person’s personal and cultural preferences
- People eat more of certain foods such as vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, fish, nuts and pulses
- People eat less red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates and sugar sweetened beverages.
Lastly with 12.3 million people in the UK currently at serious risk of developing Type 2 diabetes then it is worth visiting the Diabetes UK website for suggestions to prevent type 2. These include maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, and being active. They even have a risk tool test to “Know your risk” which you can complete in less than 3 minutes. Many of our staff have recently attended Well Being training which included information on diabetes.
If you have any top tips then please share them with us and on diabetes UK website https://www.diabetes.org.uk/ #TalkAboutDiabetes #DiabetesWeek
We would like to encourage you to get involved with our homes. The volunteering opportunities are diverse and we could use your skills and talents to help others. It’s about giving your time, making friends, sharing hobbies/ interests and creating new experiences.
We welcome any suggestions but ideas could include helping a gardening club, help the knitting group, reading, accompanying residents on a trip or just come enjoy tea & cake and reminisce. We would love to have volunteers of any age as everyone plays a vital role in making connections, improving lives.
We believe volunteers would complement our staff and would have a big and positive impact on the quality of life for those in our homes. Research suggests that volunteering has health as well as social benefits. In addition it brings a sense of pride, satisfaction and knowledge of giving back to society.
We would love to hear from you if you are interested to know more, contact the home manager and arrange a visit to the home. We will need satisfactory enhanced DBS (free of charge) prior to starting and an understanding of what you’d like to do.