Category: Home Activities

Celebrate British Flower Week 2017

Celebrate British Flower Week 2017

June 19-25th marks “British Flower Week”, a week-long celebration of British Flowers and the UK cut flower industry.

British cut flowers are enjoying a resurgence in demand as people want to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of locally grown flowers and foliage. British Flower Week believe that our flowers have charm, grace, scents and sustainability.

Personally I love fresh flowers. My favourites are sweet peas and peonies and they make me smile seeing them in a vase at home. Coppelia House usually have some stunning design arrangements using peonies and an assortment of foliage from the garden. They are usually lucky enough to be donated dahlias which also look beautiful around the home.

Residents at Cornerways are always keen to have a flower arranging competition. Maybe they will try and copy one of the five top florists who are commissioned to create 15 exquisite designs, exclusively for each British Flowers Week.

Residents at Plymbridge House are busy ensuring their garden is stunning and are hoping to win Plymouth in Bloom for the fifth year running.

plymbridge-gardens

If you are visiting one of our homes perhaps bring a bunch of fresh British flowers with you or perhaps you’d like to become a volunteer in our gardens or arranging flowers within the home. We would love to have more volunteers and never say no to a fresh bunch of British flowers.

Walking up the down staircase with dementia.

Walking up the down staircase with dementia.

Those lovely Parkland Poets have done it again with another very moving poem about their understanding of dementia.

parkland-poem-vdt

Walking up the down staircase with dementia.

My life hadn’t ended,

When my dementia descended,

I felt confused when it came,

But my passion for life remains the same.

Even though my life has changed.

 

I re-live sad moments, comfort me when these times come,

Remind me of the good times of when I had so much fun,

So if I have a sad moment and cry,

I can’t help it, even if I try.

So when I can’t understand,

Sit with me and hold my hand.

 

Dementia sometimes makes me feel confused and unwell,

I get frustrated with myself when I don’t remember everything you tell,

Occupy me with things to do,

This will remind me that I’m still a person too.

 

Having dementia is like re reading a book,

You’re with me on this chapter but there’s many more, just take a look.

Help me to remember with pictures of family and friends,

I may have forgotten them, but the love never ends.

 

Even though this chapter in my life is unclear,

I know you’ll help me through and take away the fear

Walking up the down staircase each and every day,

Makes it better when you’re here showing me the way,

 

Even thought my youth has left and gone,

I still feel young and will till my times done.

Life with dementia is a different chapter,

But I know I’ll get through this chapter with my new family.

 

Written by Rhianne, Bekki and Lyn “The Parkland Poets”

The Importance of Silent Call Bells

The Importance of Silent Call Bells

Instacare systems are our local independent company who support our nurse call system. They are able to supply, install and commission new systems and service existing systems.

They installed a new system for us at Parkland House and have been servicing our other homes since 2015.

Director of Instacare, Gail, has recently written an article about “The Importance of Silent Call Bells”.

Extensive studies carried out in dementia care show that sufferers are extremely sensitive to their surroundings with several common environmental triggers. One of the most distinct contributor to high levels of stress and upset, is noise. So, creating an environment that is free of repetitive, high volume noise is essential if you are striving to create a calm and happy environment for your dementia residents.

A study published by the University of Stirling, found that call bell noise is one of the most common causes of stress to dementia patients, suggesting “fitting call alarms which alert nurses but do not resonate throughout the whole building. Alarms can be particularly disconcerting as they may encourage the person with dementia to respond or investigate the sound. At the very least the loss of sleep will compromise a person’s ability to concentrate. It can affect their attention levels and capacity to cope, as well as being detrimental to their overall state of wellbeing. Personal paging systems are preferable to bells and buzzers.”

Louise Arnold of Peninsula Care Homes decided to do just that. InstaCare Systems installed the BlueBell paging system in their Exeter home. Louise said “the change at the home was immediate, by eliminating the intrusive ringing of bells, instead now we can hear music, conversations and laughter”.

So, let InstaCare Systems turn off the call bell noise in your home and create a silent nurse call system. You don’t even need to replace your existing system to achieve it! We have access to all the major paging brands such as Scope and CST, plus we can supply the unique BlueBell pager which has many additional benefits including being waterproof, built in staff ID, exit alarm and is incredibly robust. We can integrate any paging system with any call bell system, so there’s no need to replace your existing asset.

Why not give us a call today and let us help you work out the best solution for your home.

Tel: 01392 877267 Email: info@instacaresystems.co.uk Web: http://www.instacaresystems.co.uk

Guest Blog: #UnitedAgainstDementia for Dementia Awareness Week

Guest Blog: #UnitedAgainstDementia for Dementia Awareness Week

Peninsula Care Homes are raising awareness for Dementia Awareness Week from the 14th to the 20th of May 2017. This week’s guest blog comes from PCH Marketing and Admin Coordinator, Nikita Morgan.

I am the Marketing & Admin Coordinator at Peninsula Care Homes and I look after the company’s social media, website and publications. In this blog post I am looking back at my first year at PCH and my experience with dementia.

This time last year I joined PCH and took up my first role in the care industry. Being completely new to the industry, I quickly learnt how important it was to be aware of dementia and how to help those living with it. Visiting the care homes for the first time I could witness just how much hard work its staff members put in daily and nightly. Almost instantly I was completely drawn into the passion the caregivers gave doing their jobs and helping residents.

It has been heavily reported that dementia is set to be one of the UK’s biggest killer. With too many facing it alone, it is more important now more than ever to unite against the condition and to understand how to help those living with it. This was something I turned my focus towards.

As each of our residential homes care for residents living with dementia, this was something I familiarised myself with quickly. From watching the PCH staff when visiting the care homes for the first time, it was clear this kind, caring and patient nature was not just essential but almost second nature as they went about their duties

Part of my role at PCH is to keep up to date with local communities and strengthen our relationships with our organisations. PCH are members of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, a group founded by Gina Awad with one goal, ‘to create a more dementia friendly community’. More recently our Plympton care home have become members of the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance, another great opportunity to help support their local events and raise awareness in the Plymouth area.

The Alliance has created some fantastic opportunities for local care homes, including ourselves, and families to get involved in fun events and exciting activities in the city. It has also raised significant awareness in the city for those living with dementia, from the Royal Albert Museum holding craft classes for those living with dementia to come with their families or carers, to dementia friendly screenings at the local Picture House. All of which are to help Exeter become a more dementia friendly community.

In addition to Company training on dementia many PCH staff have chosen to become Dementia Friends. You can become a Dementia friend by taking a course that inspires and teaches the fundamentals to understanding dementia and those affected. I joined the course and received my lovely forget me not Dementia Friend Badge, with the little book of friendship as part of completing the course.

I recently completed the Virtual Dementia Tour; a course that puts you through a virtual reality experience simulating how an individual may experience living with dementia. It was such an incredible experience which will stay with me. It was almost like a light-bulb moment and after the course I understood a great deal more about the symptoms of dementia and how I can help the care homes and residents going forward. For an example, I learned that the primary colours are the last colours to be identified – this helps me when I am designing posters, newsletters and food menus, etc, to make them more dementia friendly.

virtual-dementia-tour

My understanding of dementia has grown as well as my passion to help those living with the symptoms. I hope you join us and the national conversation this Dementia Awareness Week and stand ‘United Against Dementia’. Contact our homes or your local community to find out what activities are taking place across the week.  Or simply join in the conversation across social media by using #UnitedAgainstDementia and #DAW17.

Donkey Awareness Week 2017

Donkey Awareness Week 2017

You will often see Donkey’s visiting our care homes and as its Donkey Awareness Week we thought we would highlight why we have donkeys and other animals visit our homes.

Donkey Awareness Week is a time to encourage everyone to get up close and personal with the donkeys at our local Sanctuary. For many of us Sidmouth is our local Sanctuary and we are fortunate that donkeys visit our homes too.  Residents and staff enjoy petting and stroking the donkey visitors and sometimes even feed them a treat or two.

parkland-house-donkey-visit

Pets and animals generally hold a special place in many people’s hearts and lives, and there is compelling evidence that interacting with pets can be beneficial to the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of humans.  Dr William Thomas who designed the Eden Alternative training believed that animals could lessen the sense of boredom and loneliness for those in care.

Moving into a care home shouldn’t be the end of animal contact and that’s why we arrange many visits.  Some of our recent animal visitors have been: – staff pets, donkeys, Birds of Prey and local zoos with a collection of reptiles and other creepy crawlies.  Some of our homes even have their own animals with fish, turtle, tortoise, guinea pigs, birds and rabbits all looked after by staff and residents.

coppelia-house-falconry-visit

Many residents look forward to the animal visits, they spark conversation which can lead to sharing of memories and emotions. Or an animal just may provide companionship and enjoy sitting on a resident’s lap being stroked.

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.

Easter at Peninsula Care Homes

Easter at Peninsula Care Homes

Peninsula Care Homes would like to wish everyone a lovely Easter and invites you to join in our Easter celebrations in our Devon care homes. Our budding Parkland Poets have surprised us with another touching poem to reflect Easter time at Peninsula Care Homes.

parkland-house-vegetable-allotments

Easter at Peninsula is a special time,

To over indulge in chocolate and wine,

We’ll sing and dance along to the Easter parade,

While drinking a sherry and lemonade.

 

We will help residents to make an Easter bonnet,

And they will choose what they want upon it.

They may choose a rose or a love bird two,

With a wide floppy brim to keep off the dew.

 

Everyone loves visits from family and friends,

But Easter time is not where it ends,

We will all celebrate with yummy food,

simnel cake, hot cross buns and chocolate too.

 

We will still remember why Easter is here,

And let residents know to us they are very dear,

We’ll celebrate the re birth of Christ,

And we will make the day for everyone ever so nice.

by our lovely Parkland Poets

World Down Syndrome Day 2017

World Down Syndrome Day 2017

If you visit bramble Down on March 21st don’t be surprised if you see everyone wearing odd socks, short socks, long socks, t-shirts with socks on.  This is all part of campaign to raise awareness of Down Syndrome during its 12th anniversary of Word Down Syndrome Day.

The day hopes to improve awareness of Down Syndrome and enable people with Down Syndrome to speak up, to be heard and influence government policy and action and to be fully included in the community.

For our Bramble Down Manager Sue, the campaign is very close to her heart as her grandson Luca has Down Syndrome. Luca’s mum says “When we first heard Luca’s diagnosis we were sent into a whirlwind of questions and emotions.  With such little knowledge and understanding of Down Syndrome it was difficult to comprehend what the future might hold for him and for us as a family. If I knew then what I know now there is no way I’d have been so petrified of what lay head.  We believe in the work that the Down Syndrome Association (DSA) do.  With such a huge variety of information and resources from new parents through to adulthood, the DSA is always my first port of call with any questions I might have or help we might need.”

Sue says that like all her grandchildren “every milestone he has achieved has been celebrated just as any other child, it has just taken him a little longer but he achieved them and that’s what matters. As a family, Luca has enriched our lives and we have supported the Downs Syndrome Association. Some of our fund raising efforts have included a sponsored sky dive, organising a Father Christmas grotto as well as a Christmas Faye to name a few.”

Every year on 21st March we all wear our odd socks and encourage our work places to raise money for the World Down Syndrome Day. It is time to do this again so we will all be in our bright fun coloured odd socks.

#wdsd17 #MyVoiceMyCommunity

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.