Hampshire care home hosts heartwarming early years development class for local kids

Portsdown View, a luxury care home in Bedhampton, recently hosted a music, movement, and sensory development class for local children. The youngsters were encouraged to dance to upbeat music, play with unique sensory props, learn songs through finger play rhymes, and interact with the residents throughout.  

The classes, which will run every first Thursday of the month, are part of an ongoing effort by Portsdown to create strong intergenerational connections between residents and local families.

Pippa Mafunga, General Manager at Portsdown View, comments:

"It was great to see how energized and full of life our residents felt after a day of fun interaction with some energetic youngsters! I think for some of them it was a lovely reminder of interacting with their own kids and grandkids when they were young".

The session was organised in collaboration with Jiggy Wrigglers UK; an award-winning educational services provider which has been offering classes since 2008. Parents and their children from across the area were invited to join, and residents were able to engage in the sessions by singing along and playing interactive games with the children.

Research shows this kind of 'intergenerational engagement (IE)' can reduce anxiety, improve social connectedness, and encourage more physical activity in older adults. One study found such activities can give care home residents a sense of purpose and stronger life satisfaction by allowing them to play an important role in helping young children develop.

Emma Johnson, Owner of Jiggy Wrigglers Havant and Waterlooville, comments:

"Our families look forward to the monthly sessions and adore seeing the smiles on their children’s faces when interacting with the residents... We believe that music can spark positive memories, promote physical mobility, and release those delightful endorphins that lead to laughter, happiness, and a profound sense of positivity for everyone involved."

Pippa Mafunga again:

“We see enormous value in hosting any activity or event which can help to breach the generational divide. Too often, people think of people living in care homes as complete dependents who can only be looked after. Yet the truth is there is still so much they can offer, and looking after kids and helping them to learn is just one example."

Other planned activities at the home include a visit by local sixth formers, arts and crafts classes with Growing Places Nursery, and a project where pupils from Moreland's Primary School write letters to residents to improve their literacy skills. The home also recently hosted a Teddy Bears Picnic, with about 30 children and parents in attendance.


Diamond wedding couple celebrate magical anniversary at Laindon care home

A resident of a local Laindon care home has celebrated his diamond wedding anniversary with his wife in style.

John Archer, who lives at HC-One’s Oaklands care home in Laindon, Essex, and his wife, Doris, got married on the 6th June 1964 – 60 years ago.

The couple were treated to a romantic lunch for two by the care home staff, who converted a training room into an intimate private dining room. They were also given a beautiful bouquet of flowers from all of the team at the care home.

Care Assistant, Jessica Mott, baked an ornately decorated anniversary cake for John and Doris to enjoy, who were joined by other residents for a small party afterwards.

John and Doris were especially delighted to receive a congratulatory card from King Charles and Queen Camilla among their many other cards from friends and loved ones.

The day was certainly one to remember for John and Doris; speaking afterwards, Doris said:

“We had a wonderful day, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it, and John has really enjoyed himself. Thank you all, you all work so hard."


Adopt A Grandparent Secures Charity Status During Loneliness Awareness Week

Adopt A Grandparent, a pioneering initiative transforming the lives of older people through intergenerational connections, has officially been granted charity status by the Charity Commission. This landmark achievement propels the organisation’s mission to combat loneliness and enhance the wellbeing of older adults across the UK and beyond.

Adopt A Grandparent was founded in 2019 with a revolutionary approach to addressing social isolation among older people. By pairing older individuals with younger volunteers, the charity fosters regular, meaningful interactions that significantly improve the lives of both generations. The charity’s dedicated community app and web portal facilitate secure, engaging video and audio calls between volunteers and older participants, enabling them to share stories, laughter, and companionship.

To date, the programme has attracted thousands of volunteers and integrated over 50 care homes nationwide.

Shaleeza Hasham, Founder and CEO of Adopt A Grandparent, said: “This recognition from the Charity Commission is a monumental milestone for us. It validates the tireless efforts of our team and volunteers and underlines the importance of our mission. With this official registration, we are empowered to expand our reach, deepen our impact, and continue making a tangible difference in the lives of older individuals who face the devastating effects of loneliness. It is especially poignant to receive this recognition during Loneliness Awareness Week.”

In conjunction with gaining charity status, Adopt A Grandparent is excited to announce its partnership with Together.ly, a leading technology firm dedicated to combating loneliness through digital solutions. This collaboration will enhance the charity's ability to monitor and personalise care effectively, thanks to Together.ly’s cutting-edge software which utilises artificial intelligence to manage safeguarding issues and improve emotional engagement across interactions.

Shaleeza added: “Integrating Together.ly’s technology into our services is a game-changer. It not only streamlines our operations but also elevates the quality of our interactions with older people. With real-time data and insights at our fingertips, we can provide more personalised, proactive support and truly make a difference in combating loneliness and isolation. This partnership embodies our dedication to using innovative solutions to foster a nurturing and connected community for our participants. We are immensely grateful for the support of Together.ly in helping us achieve our goals."

The positive impact of Adopt A Grandparent’s initiatives is profound. Participants consistently report enhanced mental health and increased social interactions. With its newly granted charity status, Adopt A Grandparent is poised to expand its transformative programmes, reaching even more older individuals in need of companionship. The charity envisions a society where older people are not only valued and respected but actively engaged with younger generations, fostering a cohesive, supportive community.

Simon Moxon, Founder and CEO at Together.ly, said: "At Together.ly, our mission is to harness the power of technology to combat loneliness and foster meaningful connections. We are thrilled to partner with Adopt A Grandparent, an organisation that shares our vision and has already demonstrated remarkable success in bridging the generational gap. By integrating our cutting-edge software into their service, we look forward to amplifying the impact of their incredible work, ensuring that even more older individuals receive the support and companionship they deserve."

Sarah Skuse, Trustee of Adopt A Grandparent and Partner at Bevan Brittan LLP, said: "The recent recognition of Adopt A Grandparent as a charity by the Charity Commission significantly bolsters our capability to serve our community more effectively. The partnership with Together.ly aligns perfectly with our governance objectives, incorporating advanced technology to meet our safeguarding duties and improve our service delivery. This pivotal development marks a significant objective for Adopt A Grandparent, setting us on a course for greater efficiency and impact in our mission to alleviate loneliness among older individuals."

For more information about Adopt A Grandparent and to get involved, please visit www.adoptagrandparent.org.uk.


Leading UK care group becomes first to globally adopt environmentally friendly housekeeping

One of the UK’s leading and award-winning care groups has become the first of its kind globally to use n-kind plant based cleaning products for housekeeping in all of its care homes.

Aria Care Group, which recently celebrated its one year anniversary, is the first care group globally to be using n-kind plant-based products, as its single cleaning solution throughout its 50 care homes in England.

n-kind, an exclusive brand from Blueleaf, provides a range of plant based, sustainable cleaning products and works with organisations to make a greener and more sustainable choice, without compromising on cleanliness and performance.

James Clear, Hospitality Director at Aria Care, has been working closely with Blueleaf for six months to ensure the product has been trialled and tested, while also collaborating with Blueleaf on best practice and ways of working for Aria’s new internal cleaning guides.

James said: "It has been a pleasure to work with Blueleaf with their n-kind plant based product range to develop a system and new ways of working with the products in our homes.

“We are very proud to be the first company globally to implement the n-kind system into all of our homes in England. The products are fantastic and we have received so many compliments on the cleaning power and the fragrance within our homes.”

Lloyd King, Corporate Account Manager, at Blueleaf said: "It's been excellent working with James Clear and the team at Aria Care to implement our ‘n-kind’ solution into all the homes.

“At Blueleaf, we are passionate about adding value for our customers, and it's great that our innovations are helping us become the sustainable supplier of choice.

“We're excited to see this trend of adopting our n-kind cleaning solutions continue in the care home sector."

The move to implement n-kind products is part of Aria Care’s commitment to provide hospitality from the heart, giving residents and team members across all its homes a good environment in which to live and work.

Paul Wright, who was recently named Group Hospitality Manager at Aria Care, said: “At Aria, it is our priority to provide our residents with a clean, safe and friendly environment to live in but also ensure that they are treated with respect, dignity and kindness.”

James, Paul and the team have created a new uniform cleaning schedule for housekeeping and laundry with an auditing system to support Aria's care homes.

In the past year, Aria has achieved several benchmarks in staff retention and development, financial performance and hospitality, priding itself on being colleague-led, with feedback from its 2,700 colleagues providing the basis for its ever-evolving ethos, vision and values.

To find out more about Aria Care, visit www.ariacare.co.uk


Football fever arrives at Four Seasons care homes as residents show support in Euro Fanzones

Football fever has arrived at Four Seasons Health Care Group care homes across the UK with residents and team members enjoying the build up to the first Scotland game against Germany and England game against Serbia.

The care homes have introduced dedicated ‘Fanzones’ decorated with bunting, flags and scarves to get everyone in the mood for cheering on Gareth Southgate’s team and pop-up pubs will serve beer and bratwurst rolls.

Residents will be enjoying their own games of ‘Slipper Soccer’, competing with team members in penalty shoot-outs and playing score prediction games as they follow all the action throughout the tournament.

Resident, Kathy, who lives at The Granby Care Home in Harrogate, said: “It will be great to watch the football on the big screen in our cinema and I may even toast England with a glass of fizz.” And resident John, who predicts a 1-1 score in England’s first game, said: “It should be a good match, I love watching football with my friends while enjoying a beer.”

Leanne-May Walsh, who heads up the group’s Magic Moments activities programme, said: “Football fever has well and truly arrived here at Four Seasons Health Care Group. Everyone is talking about whether their team can go all the way and it’s been lovely listening to our residents’ memories of games they’ve watched over the years.  We’re looking forward to all being together to support our teams and will no doubt enjoy some banter over VAR decisions!”

Operating under the Four Seasons Health Care and brighterkind brands, Four Seasons Health Care Group has 50 care homes across the UK, caring for over 3,000 people. The group provides long-term and respite residential and nursing care for older people and are an award-winning, sector leader with an innovative approach to specialist dementia care.

www.fshcgroup.com


Is your kitchen hiding a hero? Then it’s time to celebrate them on KP Day 2024

Winterhalter’s long running event celebrates KPs and raises money for a great cause

It’s time to celebrate the amazing work of kitchen porters as National KP Day returns on June 22nd. Organised by Winterhalter, KP Day seeks to put the spotlight on the all too often overlooked contribution of kitchen porters to keeping kitchens working at peak efficiency, as well as raising money for Hospitality Action.

Now entering its 11th year, KP Day is a chance for kitchens from all sectors of foodservice and hospitality across the UK to tell the country how much they value their KPs. Past years have seen contributions from a diverse range of locations including five star hotels, clubs, army barracks and many more.

“It’s always very inspiring the way the industry responds to KP Day,” says Stephen Kinkead, Managing Director of Winterhalter UK. “In so many kitchens KPs are the secret weapon, going above and beyond to support their colleagues, and it’s great to know that so many businesses appreciate how important they are.”

To join in, simply share a picture of your kitchen porter to Instagram or X, formerly Twitter, with @winterhalterUK and adding the hashtag #KPday. Winterhalter will donate £2.50 to Hospitality Action for every photograph received, up to a maximum of £500.

Hospitality Action is a charity that supports people who work, or have worked, in the UK’s hospitality industry and who find themselves in crisis. It provides emergency grants and support for retired workers as well as education for catering students.

“KP day is all about the people who make the hospitality industry,” says Mark Lewis, Chief Executive of Hospitality Action. “We’re always grateful that Winterhalter organises it, and the money it raises helps us to transform the lives of people who have given so much to the industry but who are facing difficult times.”

As well as raising money for Hospitality Action, each photo received will be uploaded to the KP gallery at kpoftheyear.com.

Winterhalter is also currently searching for the KP of the Year 2024. More information and the nomination form can also be found at www.kpoftheyear.com.

To find out more about the work of Hospitality Action, visit www.hospitalityaction.org.uk


Work Starts On State-of-the-Art Complex Needs Care Home In Huddersfield

Once open, Lepton Heights care home will create 100 new healthcare jobs and enable local people with complex care needs to remain in their community.

Exemplar Health Care, one of the country’s leading nursing care providers for adults living with complex needs, has started work on transforming a former care home on Wakefield Road, Fenay Bridge, into a brand-new complex care service.

Exemplar Health Care have appointed contractor Walter Thompson to transform the former Valley View Care into a four-floor purpose-built home, which will be ready for opening in early 2025.

Once the renovation and refit has been completed, the new home will be called Lepton Heights. It will support adults living with complex mental health needs, dementia, neuro-disabilities, and physical disabilities.

Featuring 43 spacious en-suite bedrooms split across four-units, including 2 single person apartments. The home will follow Exemplar Health Care’s unique small group living model, which provides a more homely, supportive, and responsive care environment. The home will also have communal dining and living spaces, sensory bathrooms, salon, activities hub, and a dedicated therapy room offering a holistic therapeutic care and support led by the in-house Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist.

Lepton Heights is a welcomed addition to Rotherham-based Exemplar Health Care’s existing West Yorkshire portfolio and will be their 11th care home in the region – although it is the group’s first home in Huddersfield.

The new home will also create 100 new healthcare jobs. Later this year, Exemplar Health Care will be recruiting for a diverse range of positions, including Health Care Assistants and Registered Nurses. Full details on all the available jobs at Lepton Heights, and Exemplar Health Care’s other homes, can be found on the Exemplar Health Care careers website: www.exemplarhc.com/careers.

Katie Capes, Commissioning Manager, said: 

“Our aim is to make every day better for the people we support by providing person-centred care that focuses on maximising their independence, building everyday living skills and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible. It is our ambition that the home becomes a place where our residents can be part of the community, whether through work placements, local events or volunteering.

“Lepton Heights will not only provide much needed complex care services for local people, but also create a wide array of well-paying new healthcare job opportunities. With our new training academy and leadership pathways, we’re also committed to making sure all our team members can improve their skills and advance their careers so that our next generation of leaders come from within the organisation.

“This is an exceptionally exciting time for Exemplar Health Care and the people we support as we continue to invest in the health and care needs of people living in West Yorkshire and enhance our contribution to the local economy and community.”


Parklands launches Mental Health First Aid Training for staff

Scottish care operator Parklands Care Homes has launched a new mental health training initiative for employees. 

Staff at Parklands, which has 12 homes in the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire, are being given the opportunity to take part in a two-day Mental Health First Aid training programme.

With 1 in 4 people likely to experience a mental health challenge in any given year, it’s hoped that equipping employees with the skills to address these challenges can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected.

The training programme will cover essential topics, including recognising signs of distress, offering appropriate support, learning basic suicide intervention techniques, and understanding how to protect mental well-being. Participants will acquire valuable skills that can be applied in both their professional and personal lives.

HR advisor Lynda Mackenzie said: “Becoming a Mental Health First Aider means being there for someone in their time of need - providing a calm presence, valuable information, and guidance towards appropriate help. By equipping our team with the tools and knowledge to support mental health, the aim is that they become an essential support for colleagues, friends and loved ones in need.”

Fellow HR advisor Heather Reid added: “This initiative reflects Parklands’ commitment to promoting wellness and creating a supportive and healthy workplace environment. The initial response from staff has been fantastic, which can only have positive implications for our workplace culture and the well-being of our team members and those around them.”


Moray Care Home records anthem to inspire Scotland Euro2024 squad

A Moray care home has created a heartfelt tribute to the Scotland squad as they gear up for Euro2024. 

Speyside Care Home in Aberlour has written and recorded a stirring rendition of Flower of Scotland to inspire the national team ahead of the tournament.

Last year the care home formed its own choir, the Heart Strings Choir. Since then, they’ve been touring neighbouring care homes and recording their own versions of classic songs like Climb Every Mountain and Lean on Me.

Speyside Activities coordinator Moya Boonzaaier, who performs with the Choir, said: “Our residents are excited about Euro2024 and wanted to wish the Scotland squad good luck as they head to Germany. We reworked the lyrics of 'Flower of Scotland' specially for Euro2024. We hope it inspires Scotland to play with pride and passion and send their opponents home to think again!”

The choir were supported by piper Eli Cowie and Cameron Hay, both music students of Moya.

The revised song lyrics read:

Our team of Scotland

Speyside support you once again

Go play and win for

Our land with hill and glen

And stand against them

Compete in the Euros

And send them homeward

To think again…

 

Watch here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBV70gjzX98


Forget Calendar Girls… Meet the Care Girls with over 128 years combined care experience

A care home in Mansfield, is celebrating its female care workers, having discovered five have spent over 120 years working at the same care home. 

Sherwood Grange, a 37-bed residential and dementia care home on Mansfield Road is home to 50 staff members, five of which have worked at the care home for over 20 years.

66-year-old Julie Taylor, a laundry assistant at Sherwood Grange was one the first staff members at the home. Julie joined 33 years ago, she said, “I’ve spent half of my life here and I wouldn’t change it. It’s a great place to work and I really enjoy the social side to the job.”

Head Chef, Diane Fletcher joined the home 27 years ago, she said, “A catering position became available at the home and I just knew I was the right role for me.

“Sherwood Grange is a sentimental place for me as before it was a care home, it was the property of a coal board and my father’s job after leaving school was a gardener there – I often wonder if the lovely trees in the grounds were planted by him.”

57-year-old Dawn Biddleston and her daughter, Danelle Yates are both care assistants. Dawn joined the home 23 years ago and says, “The resident are lovely to work with and so are my colleagues.”

Keeping residents regularly entertained by dressing up as the former Queen and Queen Camilla is Tracey Bray, a kitchen assistant who began working at Sherwood Grange 20 years ago.

Following in her sister-in-law’s footsteps, Chris Godfrey, a senior care co-ordinator joined the home 25 years ago.

“I came for a trial, and I am still here now,” said Chris.

She continued, “I’ve worked my way up from a care assistant on nights, to the role I am in now. I love caring for older people and meeting a variety of people and personalities, it’s just great.’

Home manager, Lisa Allsop commented, “We’re fortunate to have such loyal and caring staff here at Sherwood Grange.

“Continuity of care is really important, especially when you are caring for people living with dementia.

“We’re so grateful for the hard work and compassion shown by all our staff – long may it continue!”