Why therapeutic sensory support is important for people with dementia

Joanna Grace - Sharing Sensory Stories

by Joanna Grace, author of Sharing Sensory Stories and Conversations with People with Dementia

You may have heard people saying they do Sudoku or the crossword daily to keep their grey matter active. Well they are right to do this, but in order to maintain our brains we need to experience a broad range of stimulation, including sensory. Many people in later age end up in environments of limited sensory scope so there are always benefits to bringing in the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch sensations from other places.

Students build furniture for elderly Bakewell residents

Burton Closes Hall Care Home

STUDENTS have been building garden furniture for elderly Bakewell residents, at Burton Closes Hall Care Home, as part of a school mentoring project.

The teenagers from Lady Manners School have been creating benches and planters for Burton Closes Hall Care Home with the help of experts from Wickes.

Employer mentors from the DIY supplier are working with the Year 8, 9 and 11 pupils as part of the school’s “Volunteer it Yourself” initiative.

This includes two sessions building team work and communication skills and a third putting their learning into practice to produce garden furniture.

Their creations have been collected by the care home and arranged in the grounds of the Grade II listed building on Haddon Road.

Destination Nepal for compassionate carer

Annerley Reid ventures to Nepal

Annerley Reid who works for a SANDIACRE care home worker will be volunteering in Nepal – using her skills and expertise to help women and children.

Annerley Reid, who works at Longmoor Lodge Care Home, is set to spend 12 weeks helping those in need in the Asian country.

She is raising funds for water sanitation equipment and other supplies ahead of the expedition, which begins in October 2018.

Annerley got the opportunity to volunteer in Nepal through sustainable development organisation Raleigh International.

She said:

The benefits of strategic workforce planning within the care sector

NHS workforce planning benefits

by Michael Ellis, Healthier Recruitment

It’s no secret that access to talent is the biggest issue facing the heath sector today, a recent survey of 149 trust managers by NHS providers found that staff shortages are the ‘single biggest risk’ facing the National Health Service.

This is unsurprising when you consider that, according to official figures, there are currently in excess of 100,000 vacancies across England’s 234 acute, ambulance and mental health trusts, including 35,000 nursing posts.  

Shirlfest is a king-size birthday celebration


A resident at Heathcotes’ Whitley services in West Yorkshire enjoyed an unforgettable 50th birthday party when the care provider held a music festival, Shirlfest, named in her honour.

Service user Shirley is a lifelong Elvis fan with a love of music and iconic events like Glastonbury. With the big-50 milestone approaching, Shirley discussed her ideal celebration with Heathcotes staff and Shirlfest was born. The festival took place at Whitley, Heathcotes’ specialist residential accommodation for adults with autism, dual diagnoses and associated complex needs.

Pupils rehearse school play for Bolton care home residents

Lever Edge Care Home

PRIMARY school pupils treated elderly residents to an early viewing of their play after rehearsing at their care home in Bolton, Lever Edge Care Home.

Year 4 children from St William of York RC Primary School visited Lever Edge Care Home, both in Great Lever, for the performance.

The rehearsal of the play, called English Rose, took place ahead of the first showing at the school on the same evening.

The children sang a collection of songs to delighted residents, who provided feedback and encouragement. 

Karen McMahon, home manager at Lever Edge Care Home, on Lever Edge Lane, said:

Driving innovation in the social care sector will change perception

Innovation in social care - Ross Peet

Ross Peet, managing partner at ideas agency Yes&Pepper, on changing perceptions of social care roles…

When public perception and industry data combined are helping to shape an uneasy reality, it’s time to make a change. Such is the lot of social care today. After reading that despite increased demand for social care, there are severe recruitment and retention issues because more nurses are leaving their jobs than joining for the first time in history. And expensive HR campaigns aren’t delivering the much needed resource this country requires. We started analysing the branding crisis that is driving people’s anxiety and concerns about the home care services sector.

Could our love for the NHS actually be bad for our health? 

Kings Fund Dan Wellings on the NHS at 70

Dan Wellings, Senior Fellow (Policy) at The King’s Fund, offers his insight into the public’s expectations of the NHS…

In the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the NHS, we’ve been talking with the public to better understand their relationship with and expectations of the service and their views on who is responsible for keeping people healthy.

It almost goes without saying that there is huge support for the NHS, with the vast majority of people supporting the founding principles of a service free at the point of delivery, available to all and funded largely by taxation. As one participant at our recent discussion events said, "I do have a love for the NHS, it’s part of our heritage."

Street signs help dementia residents navigate their care home

Simonsfield Care Home residents (from left) Dorothy Duckers and Emma Adams showing the new street signs that are helping residents with dementia navigate the home.

A grant from Halton Borough Council’s Area Forum budget has helped Simonsfield Care Home install the signs around the building.

Staff are finding the residents can now recall which number and street name they live on, helping them to find their way around.

The names were suggested by staff and residents, with Ivy Street named after Ivy Shaw, a previous resident who was loved by all at the home.

Debbie Smith, home manager at Simonsfield Care Home, on Boston Avenue, said:

New partnership to help elderly LGBT community

Gables Care Home support LGBT community

A TEESSIDE care home, Gables Care Home, has teamed up with a charity to tackle the challenges faced by elderly members of the LGBT community.

The Gables Care Home has begun working with Hart Gables, which supports all those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or trans (LGBT) in the North East.

The partnership is part of the Stockton-on-Tees based charity’s ongoing project – Ageing with Pride in Middlesbrough.

They aim to help elderly members of the LGBT community in need of support find a care home or sheltered housing.

Development workers from Hart Gables visited The Gables Care Home, on Highfield Road, in Middlesbrough, to run an arts and crafts workshop.

Old Images of Sheffield at forefront of new dementia care service

Fulwood Lodge Care Home has hand-picked key landmarks from the city

Pictures and memories of bygone Sheffield are set to provide a pivotal link with residents at the city's newest dementia care service, Fulwood Lodge Care Home.

Fulwood Lodge Care Home has hand-picked key landmarks from the city as a way to connect with the minds of residents set to fill 17 new beds.

Roy Young, managing director of Sheffield-based Silver Healthcare that runs the home, said:

"At the heart of high quality dementia care is the need to ensure residents are kept calm, safe and happy. Loss of short term memory is regularly an early sign of the illness but long term memory can remain pin sharp. A high proportion of our residents are Sheffield born and bred and providing the links with the past are vital ingredient in their overall care and stimulation."

Speedy and clear communication can save lives

Yvonne Bignall with the clear communication delivery team and Ministry of Health in Jordan.

Speedy and clear communication can save lives, a trainer from Radstock who has worked in the medical profession has found.

Yvonne Bignall, who worked at an international medical training academy as a joint director believes developing emotional intelligence and assertiveness can improve healthcare.

The award-winning facilitator said: “Learning to develop soft skills and having the confidence to speak out and question certain decisions is vital.

“It can improve treatment, minimise errors, save money – and, most importantly, save lives.”

The Royal College of Physicians has released a report in which it said effective teamwork was shown to reduce medical errors, increase patient safety and improve patient mortality rates.

Inverness care home transformed following Meallmore acquisition

Refurbishment of Meallmore care home

A local Inverness care home has been transformed and is now providing the highest standard of care to its residents, following a recent acquisition by Meallmore.

The leading care provider took over Culduthel Care Home last April and has since undertaken an extensive refurbishment programme which has significantly enhanced the facilities available for residents.

Following the revamp, the home now offers 62 fully furnished en-suite bedrooms and six luxurious living/dining areas. It also features a cinema where residents can view the latest blockbusters, two café areas for sharing a cuppa and a bite to eat with family and friends and a hairdressing and beauty salon for a spot of pampering.

Cramond Village is a Work of Art for Primary School Pupils


Budding young artists from Cramond Primary School have their work on display at a local exhibition following their success in a recent art competition.
Over 400 pupils of all ages took part in the competition, run by Edinburgh’s newest care home Cramond Residence, which challenged them to design a poster to show what makes the village of Cramond a special place to live.
Now, a successful shortlist of 48 colourful paintings, drawings and mixed media pieces are on display at the exclusive free exhibition at Cramond Kirk Halls, which is open to the local community for viewing from until Monday 18 June.

Adult care home brings 150 jobs to Leigh and surrounding areas


The launch of a new adult care home in Leigh, Wigan is set to create more than 150 jobs in the local area. The Exemplar Lakeview home will officially open its doors in autumn 2018, with staff due to start work in June. 

Lakeview, just off Ena Crescent in Leigh, will provide specialist nurse-led care to thirty adults with complex needs including people living with early-onset dementia, long term mental ill-health and Huntington’s disease. It’s been designed to offer unspoiled, restful views of Fir Tree Flash from the floor-to-ceiling windows and open-air terrace.




Merriment in May for MHA Waterside House

MHA Waterside House

Residents of MHA Waterside House, off Moathouse Lane in Wednesfield, have been enjoying a glorious start to the summer.

The home, which specialises in dementia care, always has a packed schedule of events to entertain and engage residents, but May was a particularly jam-packed month of summertime activities.

From Royal Wedding celebrations to local school children visiting to share in donut day, the community surrounding the home enjoyed everything May had to offer.

Sidmouth’s Malden House Celebrates “Outstanding” Rating from CQC

Hartford Care

Hartford Care is proud to announce that Malden House Care Home in Sidmouth, has received an overall ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the first Outstanding rating for the Hartford Care family.

Malden House, providing care to older people and those who live with dementia, was found to be Outstanding following an inspection in March 2018, based on its ability to deliver well led, responsive, caring and effective approaches to care, and was commended for safety.

The CQC report stated:

Coming Clean

Care home environment

Guests expect high standards when visiting respected hotels, standards that should undoubtedly be replicated in the care home environment.

Comfort and cleanliness are the most important factors when providing guests with a ‘home away from home’ feel – a crucial experience for both care homes and hotels to deliver. In fact, from the moment people enter a care home, it’s important to make a positive first impression. Guests expect to be greeted with a homely, clean and friendly environment, while their friends and families need to be assured their loved ones are in safe hands – your cleaning practices will be a key indicator of this.

Nurse at Balhousie Care Group uses A&E experience to make difference to elderly residents


When Kate, a nurse and re-enablement champion at Balhousie Coupar Angus care home, joined Balhousie Care Group in late 2016 she thought it would be a temporary move for her. After four decades working in a range of demanding, high-octane nursing roles, Kate's perception of what it took to work in a care home has altered dramatically.

"When I qualified as a nurse, I wanted to work in A&E so that's what I did for 14 years," Kate explained. "It was hard work, but always interesting and no one day was ever the same. After I had a career break to have my three children, I went into occupational health working for companies such as NCR in Dundee and Gleneagles Hotel. Each job was diverse and I was always learning."

Elderly residents’ fitness and wellbeing boosted by dance aerobics

dance aerobics

A dance aerobics class has seen elderly Teesside residents making the most of the sunshine in their care home garden. Residents at Ingleby Care Home, in Ingleby Barwick, are benefitting from the fitness and wellbeing sessions following a Lottery grant last year.

They are being run by Billingham-based social enterprise Nouveau Wellbeing, who won the grant to engage with more than 600 people over the age of 60. The firm’s specialist practitioners have been visiting the care home to put the residents through their paces. 

Emma Bryan, a member of the dance aerobics Nouveau Tees Valley Team, decided to run the latest session in the care home garden to take advantage of the spell of good weather.