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.
The beginning of May marks the start of the Living Streets National Walking Month campaign to get the country active and walking every day.
As you may well know walking as an exercise has many benefits both physically and mentally. It can help manage your weight, reduce anxiety and stress, build strength, reduce congestion on the roads and help maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Our residents enjoy daily walks around the gardens or trips out to their local communities and days out with the Freedom Wheels and Oomph Wellness bus. Wherever and whenever possible our carers encourage our residents to enjoy a walk big or small. This helps in so many ways but most importantly it helps in keeping active and who doesn’t enjoy a nice stroll to either meet your neighbours or enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.
Join the online conversation using #walkthisway and discover fun and easy ways to enjoy new walking journeys. We have also included a few helpful links below to get started.
It is National Gardening Week 30th April – 6th May a time to encourage gardeners to share their love of gardening.
National Gardening Week was launched seven years ago by Royal Horticultural Society and aims to become the country’s biggest celebration of gardening.
Our blog today is written by Mark, our Plymbridge House gardener.
“It is here again”, time to start planning and getting all our residents idea`s, every year the residents partake in the garden as much as possible, especially with the 100 baskets which are put around the home’s gardens for everyone to enjoy.
I go and talk to the residents and ask them to choose what colours and style they would like in their basket, I try to match their ideas, it has worked every year and with the residents input we have won 5 Plymouth in Bloom Gold Medals. The Sensory Garden this year will have more attention to give maximum effect to create that area of the garden where you can go to smell, touch and reflect on the times past in a relaxed environment.
As the warmer weather approaches it also gives a chance to take residents out and about the grounds to see the beauty of every plant that has managed to overcome the horrid winter weather we have had. The Hostas are now just peeping through, the delicate leaves of the Acers are about to unfold, the bright new growth of the Evergreens, Reds, Yellows and the Pale Greens all remind us to get busy, Spring is here. Just about to be brightened up, are the shaded areas, there are lovely blues of the Bluebells, the yellows of the Celandines and numerous other pretty colours of the Primulas.
It is the time to become very busy and create the WOW factor once again for all to enjoy. To design and plant for this year`s Plymouth in Bloom competition and for the delight of the residents, families and visitors to the home,.
This week we are celebrating National Pet Month: a campaign to raise awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns.
Across our group we have a number of our own pets who are carefully looked after by our staff and residents.
We thought we’d introduce our pets to you. At Bramble Down we have “Bramble” the tortoise and two unnamed turtles. We have suggested Bramble Down run a name that turtle competition during National Pet Month.
Coppelia House have their two resident budgies Fred and Freda. In the garden live their two guinea pigs Bertie and Barnaby. Residents also enjoy families visiting with their animals along with “Watson” the visiting Therapy Dog.
Cornerways look forward to Animal HQ who visit monthly with their guinea pigs, rabbits, dog and chinchilla.
In Parkland House we have Barney the guinea pig and Bertie the rabbit who also enjoy hanging out in the admin office where they enjoy much fuss and attention from residents. The homes also welcomes Gus the “Pat-A-Dog” who visits regularly.
Plymbridge seem to have adopted a cat, Lilly. They also have Domino the rabbit and Hovis the Therapy Dog who visit regularly.
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 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.
Many of our residents enjoy the various visiting animals, these include donkeys from The Donkey Sanctuary, Birds of Prey, Local Zoo’s and a Dartmoor Pony.
#NatConvWeek #ConvoWeek #KeepTalking #GetTalking #TalkMore #LoveTalking #LetsChat
This week our homes are taking part in National Conversation Week very simply by being mindful of having a conversation with someone. Our homes will be taking part in group discussions, quizzes, games and reminiscence therapy chats. Our staff also enjoy spending one-to-one time with the residents and this will include having a long conversation over a nice cup of tea or coffee. We have learnt about some amazing life stories from our residents, including a previous coder at Bletchley Park, a vinyl fault finder from Decca Records and an assistant to famous London photographer Howard Coster.
Spending the time to have a conversation with someone is a very rewarding thing. Not only do you fulfill a basic human need for interaction but you learn new things and discover more about that person. By giving your time and a listening hear you are helping that person feel good.
Let us know how you are getting involved this week and help raise awareness of the campaign to #TalkMore
You can never have too many conversations during National Conversation Week!
National Hot Tea Month is a fantastic excuse to have an extra cup of tea and indulge in a biscuit or piece of cake. Plymbridge House residents have been enjoying some tea tasting this month, here’s a blog from Registered Manager, Kathleen Shopland:
“Today we have tried the Strawberry and Apple Tea, it smells and tastes very nice. We felt that it was a great drink to soothe throats. It also made the day feel like a bright balloon, floating upwards, and brought about a sense of calm. There were however some funny looks when first tasting the Strawberry and apple tea.
Conversations about how to take tea were discussed between residents and staff at Plymbridge. One resident said it had to be in special china mug, with a little honey in the bottom topped with hot water, tea, and a dash of milk. A favourite seemed to be a china cup and saucer, tea leaves steeped in the warmed teapot , a tea strainer placed on the cup and the tea passed through, a little milk and sugar to taste added. A bonus would be to make it in to an event with a serving of tiny fingers of cucumber sandwiches and little bite size cakes.
Residents spoke about memories of childhood: – when the tea cups were empty, if any tea leaves had escaped the tea strainer, place the empty cup upside down, turn 3 times and then have your cup read, good fun for a small after tea game.”
Many of our residents across our homes have been enjoying various tea selections, perfect for keeping warm on these cold January days. So put the kettle on and enjoy your favourite tea whatever that may be.
January 2018 is National Soup Month. The cold, dark (and mostly wet) days in January are often used as the perfect reason to indulge in a bowl or mug of your favourite hot soup.
There have been celebrated soup dates dating all the way back to around 20,000 B.C where boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of the waterproof container. Interestingly the word soup derives from the French word soupe, meaning broth or soup, which was then sold as a cheap meal by street vendors to provide an antidote to physical exhaustion. Serving soups then become popular in restaurants around the globe and many cookbooks were published offering the best recipes and methods for homemade soup.
Nowadays you will head to the canned food isles in the supermarket for a tin of soup. This is thanks to Chemist, Doctor John T. Dorrance, who back in 1897 invented condensed soup with household name Campbell Soup Company. Originally the cans required water or milk to be added to double the quantity, however this is no longer the case as soup tins have become a very popular “ready-to-eat” meal and a lunchtime favourite.
To celebrate the goodness a bowl of soup can bring the stomach and soul, our residents have been enjoying their favourite soups over the January month as it is often found to be a preferred and more satisfying meal.
There is no clear soup winner, but as we all know you can’t beat a bowl of hot tomato soup with crackers or bread. It is also said chicken soup can help you get over a cold! What is your favourite hot soup and how will you be celebrating this month?
January is National Hobby Month. Perhaps the New Year Resolution is to try a new hobby or focus on the hobbies you enjoy.
Hobbies are great as they can relieve stress, challenge your brain, be social, good or bad for your health.
Within our homes we have residents interested in so many different things. We try to cater for as many hobbies as possible. We have exercise based: Tai-Chi, armchair aerobics, gardening (vegetable allotment, flower arranging), music (playing instruments, outside entertainers, dancing and singing. Lets not forget interest in animals, falconry, cooking, iPad clubs and knitting.
Which new hobbies are you going to set yourself this month?
Our homes are focusing on linking with their local communities including links with nursery’s and local schools. Perhaps one of your New Year goals is to take part in some volunteering, if so we would like to hear from you. We have numerous activities you can get involved in throughout the month. Email email@example.com or call 01392 346442 for more information.