Burns Night at the Manor

Residents enjoyed celebrating Burns night at Steepleton Manor Care Home with ‘Highland’ games, haggis hurling, shortbread and scotch pancakes.

Residents dressed up for the occasion and took part in a Burns Night quiz and word search. Scottish music ensured everyone could enjoy a Highland fling dance and the night ended with singing Auld Lang Syne.

Rachel Lewis from Steepleton Manor said, ‘Everyone enjoyed lots of games, music, dancing, laughter and fine Scottish food’.

Photo: Emily Burr with resident David Mahoney

Sowing seeds for springtime

Residents and staff enjoyed some indoor gardening this month when they sowed trays of seeds to add to the gardens at Steepleton Manor later this year.

Rachel Lewis, Activities Co-ordinator said, ‘We all enjoyed having green fingers and getting our hands dirty. The seeds will no doubt grow quickly in our warm home! One of our residents had spent many hours in his own garden, so was delighted to be able to sow seeds in the comfort of his chair’.

Look who dropped in for lunch…

Residents at Steepleton Manor Care Home had two surprise lunch guests when Alpacas Jimmy and Oliver dropped in to visit at the 29 bedroomed care home. 80 year old resident John Redhead shared a special greeting with Jimmy, who lives at Alpaca Adventure in Shaftesbury with 28 other Alpacas and their owner Wendy Williams.

Alpaca’s main diet is grass but they also enjoy hay and dried food which is specially prepared for them. They originate from South America and the average sized Alpaca stands around 4ft tall to the top of its back.

Both Jimmy and Oliver often visit care homes and other local community members so regularly enjoy a pat or a cuddle. Residents fed the Alpacas who also visited the rooms of residents who were unable to join the group in the lounge.

Rachel Lewis from Steepleton Manor said, ‘It was a delight for the Alpacas to visit some residents who were in bed and then see a bright smile come to their faces’.

Loneliness: And how it can be minimised within the elderly

Loneliness is a feeling that many people will experience at least once in their lives, whether
it’s from being isolated at school, moving to university, becoming a stay at home parent, having mobility issues, bereavement or retiring. The feeling for many cannot be described easily, it is not only emotional but it can also affect overall physical and mental health.
Our outlook on life can also be affected, which then makes for a vicious circle, becoming ever more socially isolated and lonely.

The group to be most affected by loneliness is often older people; a mixture of retirement, loss of a partner, difficulties with independence & mobility and not living close to their family can make loneliness a sad inevitability. Research from Age UK indicates 200,000 older people in the UK have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month and 3.9 million agree their television is their main form of company. So what can be done to beat loneliness before it strikes?

Social activity

Social activity is important in all walks of life – it gives us the opportunity to talk, engage in hobbies and get out and about. Loneliness is often associated with social isolation so part of beating this issue can be found in the engagement with social activities. Dancing clubs, art and book groups, charity volunteering and befriending programmes are a great way to maintaining wellbeing whilst being social.

Knowing who can help

It can be difficult to get the ball rolling; knowing where to find clubs, the ability to access them and keeping the momentum going. But there are many organisations out there to help – British Red Cross run many local projects to help older people retain their independence and beat loneliness. Age UK is another great source of advice, guidance and local projects to help combat loneliness.

For those in care, accessing different clubs can be more difficult however, social activity can be promoted through clubs, entertainment and activities being brought to you. This is something that is seen at Altogether Care. Having an active social calendar within homes encourages social interaction, gives variance between the days and promotes wellbeing. Even if your loved one is coming to stay for a short period of respite care, we still encourage them to get involved with social activities which they may not get the chance to normally.

Nobody should feel alone when it can be so easily combatted.

An exercise class where nobody drops out!

Residents at Steepleton Manor Care Home started the New Year with a healthy exercise regime that includes a keep fit class with a difference.

‘Parachute class’ involves all participants holding onto a piece of the circular parachute and making waves by moving their arms up and down. Once a mushroom shape is achieved by each person lifting above their head a beach ball is added to incorporate volleyball to the class creating team work. Residents try to pass the ball underneath the raised parachute. Encouraging team work, exercise and interaction between residents and staff.

Rachel Lewis, from Steepleton Manor said, ‘Parachute games provide a good opportunity not only to exercise, but to have a good laugh and enjoy a bit of competition between each other. It’s a popular activity with the residents as well as the staff’.

Happy Birthday John Redhead

Steepleton Manor resident John Redhead celebrated his 80th birthday on 10th January.

He enjoyed a chocolate and strawberry birthday cake and was given a book. John, who loves to read, lived in Blackpool and taught English to overseas students after studying languages at university. Staff and residents joined John in celebrating his special birthday.

He has been a resident at Steepleton Manor for 17 months and was born in Middlesex.

Steepleton Manor – Highlights of 2016

Residents and staff enjoyed a bumper year of fun activities in 2016.

Here are just a few:

Oscar the therapy dog enjoys a visit to see the residents.






Biscuit the Barn Owl sits happily on the arm of a resident.  Woodlands Hatch Wildlife Haven took several birds along in April to mark the Queen’s birthday.


‘Cheers’ to tea and cake. Residents and staff raised money for Macmillan’s Coffee Morning.






Resident John Redhead welcomes a friendly Alpaca from Longthorns Farm, near Wareham.






Resident Mara McGregor with just one of her famous portraits. Mara has painted HRH The Queen along with other members of the Royal family. She also enjoyed a trip to see the Queen again in Dorchester this year.






Happy and scary faces for Halloween.





Art and craft is a favourite at Steepleton Manor.







The Christmas Carol service by candlelight with local vicar, Jean Saddington.






Sarah-Jane with her dog ‘Trousers’, who visited this Christmas to help residents make festive decorations.






Looking forward to more fun and excitement for residents and staff in 2017!

Terry celebrates his 80th

Terry Harknett, a resident at Steepleton Manor Care Home celebrated his 80th birthday on 14th December.

He marked the occasion with a special white chocolate birthday cake, golden balloon and a party which he shared with his friends and staff at the 29 bedroomed, Grade II listed Victorian manor house in the village of Winterbourne Steepleton, near Dorchester.

Christmas Jumpers raise money for charity

The staff at Steepleton Manor Care Home were getting into the festive mood just before Christmas by wearing Christmas jumpers to raise money for charity. The selected charity was Dorchester-based People First.

This charity is centred around people with learning disabilities, supporting each other to speak up and lead change. People First believe that everyone has a right to independence, choice, safety, good health, friendships, relationships and transport. They run projects and work alongside people with learning disabilities to achieve good lives for all. They also produce information and training to help organisations work more effectively with people with learning disabilities.

Some recent day to day activities