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Christmas at Sherborne House & Santa’s Little Helpers

Last week, the staff at Sherborne House put their Christmas suits on and dressed as Elves to raise money for individuals affected by Dementia.

Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, which is set to increase to over one million by 2025. We take great pride in providing the best possible quality of care for some of those people affected, ensuring that their environment is comfortable and accommodating to their needs.

This Christmas, the staff at Sherborne House are raising money with a raffle to contribute to the residents’ fund. Read more about our Dementia Care here.

Sherborne House Christmas Stockings

Joy for All Companion Pets at Sherborne House

Sherborne House residents welcomed a new addition to the home earlier this month – a Joy for All Companion Pet Cat.

Joy has certainly been a big hit with the residents. Many of them spend hours talking and interacting with her.

Joy is a wonderful robotic stuffed toy cat that is lifelike and engaging, as well as being cute and cuddly. Being battery-powered means that Joy can act and move like real cat when petted or hugged.

Research has linked animal assisted therapy to improvements in mood and quality of life for elderly people, especially those with dementia, for quite some time now. However, the research jury is still out on whether robotic pets are as effective as their flesh-and-blood counterparts. Nevertheless, having a few in Sherborne House has certainly had a positive effect on residents and their relatives during their visits.

Care Home Open Day 2019 at Altogether Care

Altogether Care will be taking part in National Care Home Open Day on 28th June.

The nationwide open day event is a chance to celebrate all the different people, cultures and relationships in local areas, and show the community that care homes are friendly, happy and exciting places to be.

All of our care homes – Sherborne House in Yeovil, Steepleton Manor near Dorchester, and Weymouth Care Home will open their doors on Friday 28th June with an array of activities, information and events available.

See below the itineraries for each of our care homes.

Weymouth Care Home

  • Live music will start at 12pm, followed by high tea in the garden from 1pm.
  • We will also have an Art Gallery which will showcase all of our residents work.
  • There will be garden games for all ages, from hook a duck to ring toss.
  • Refreshments will be available, we will have fresh candy floss and a small sweet selection.
  • Find out more here.

Sherborne House

  • Coffee morning & cake tasting with the Yeovil Ukulele ladies in attendance will start at 11am.
  • Elvis will be in the building from 2pm to 3pm! Which will raise the heart beat and the spirits and have staff dancing along.
  • Visiting birds of prey with afternoon tea from 3pm to 4pm. Everyone will be able to handle and stroke the gorgeous array of birds.
  • Find out more here.

Steepleton Manor

  • Join us for Gardening Club from 10:30am to 12pm.
  • Alpaca’s will visit Steepleton from 2pm to 3pm.
  • Alan Knott providing Dorset Folk music entertainment from 3pm to 4pm.
  • Art Club exhibition will be on throughout the day in the main hall.
  • Find out more here.

And much more – so, what are you waiting for? Come along and meet our residents and staff and to find out why we have been supporting the local community for over 30 years.

Respite Care – Time to Rest, Recharge and Rethink

June 10-16, 2019 is National Carers Week. Organised by Carers UK, it recognises the contribution made by the 6.8m unpaid carers in the UK. Carers Week encourages them to become better connected and to take better care of their own health.

72% of unpaid carers reported that their mental health suffered as a result of stress, lack of sleep and financial concerns. 63% also said that their physical health had suffered as a consequence of their responsibilities. Many of these carers are delivering elderly care, sometimes alongside a regular job.

Being a carer takes its toll. It is frequently demanding, and it can be lonely. Many carers become socially isolated because they lack the time or energy to go out and meet people or because they worry about leaving the person they are caring for.

If this sounds like a familiar story, then respite care is worth considering.

Respite Care Gives Everyone a Break

A short spell of respite care in a care home can allow carers to get a break while being confident that their loved one is receiving round the clock personal or nursing care. They might take a short holiday or just enjoy a bit of space and time to recharge their energy. Relief from the anxiety of constantly looking out for the welfare of another person can reduce the mental strain and offer a chance to get some proper rest.

Respite care is also a valued service for people recovering from illness or perhaps adjusting to having reduced mobility or physical capabilities. Some use it for a few days while their home is being adapted to make it easier for them to live in, and some use it as an opportunity to sample life in a care home while they are assessing their options.

There are many reasons for using replacement or temporary care (as respite care is sometimes called). It might simply provide a bit of space to reassess care needs and make decisions about the future without being overwhelmed by day-to-day concerns.

Beautiful surroundings at Steepleton Manor provide a lovely environment for the period of respite care. Alternatively, our home in Weymouth provides a peaceful environment for residents, ideal for a few days or a week or two’s stay.

To find out more about how Altogether Care can help you and your loved one, contact us directly on 01305 300 161.

Why We Love to Hear Music in Our Care Homes

Whatever our personal tastes might be it seems that music is good for all of us. Studies show that music can help reduce stress, improve cognitive performance and memory, and may even help reduce the experience of pain.

Because there appears to be a strong link between music and well-being, music should be an important feature of life in every care home. This means more than just leaving the radio or a CD on all day. There are many ways that music can be integrated imaginatively to enhance the experience of care home residents.

Music and Dementia

Taking part in musically-themed activities has been shown to be particularly beneficial for people with dementia. As well as improving mood and emotional wellbeing musical activities can reduce feelings of isolation and improve self-esteem.

Music can stimulate and energise people so they become more interested in activities happening around them. It can alleviate anxiety, agitation and depression by helping people to work through and process feelings.

Carefully chosen music can also help people to reminisce. This provides a comforting sense of familiarity and can evoke feelings from fond memories.

Recognising the benefits that music brings, Music for Dementia 2020 is a new campaign that aims to make live music available for all people with dementia by 2020.

Live Music in Care Homes

Live music is particularly beneficial. A recent research study (Live Music in Care) led by the University of Winchester and Live Music Now concluded, ‘live music should be essential in all UK care homes.’ The simple reasoning being that residents are encouraged to be more active and engaged and that live music sessions lift the mood of residents and also care staff.

Live music has always been a feature of the varied activity programmes in all of our care homes. We’ve seen for ourselves, the enjoyment and benefits it brings to our residents and we fully support the aims of Music for Dementia and Live Music in Care Homes.

Contact us today on 01305 300 161 to find out more or arrange a visit to one of our care homes.

How to Spot the Early Signs & Symptoms of Dementia

By 2025, it is estimated that there will be more than 1m people in the UK with dementia. The quality of life of these people will depend to a large extent on how early they are diagnosed. Yet, very few of us are clear about what to look for.

According to the NHS website, possible early signs of dementia include:

  • memory loss
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty with familiar daily tasks, such as confusion over the correct change when shopping
  • struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • being confused about time and place
  • mood changes

Where one or more of these symptoms occur at a level that doesn’t significantly affect everyday life it is called minor cognitive impairment. Sometimes the symptoms don’t get significantly worse for a long time, but sometimes they are an early indicator of dementia.

Cognitive impairment isn’t (as many people believe) ‘all part of getting old.’ If symptoms are observed, it’s essential to get a proper diagnosis as quickly as possible.

Alzheimer’s

The largest cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may ask the same question repetitively, become confused in unfamiliar environments or become withdrawn or anxious.

In the longer term it’s possible that there will be a blood test that can quickly diagnose common causes of dementia. Early test results are encouraging and further research is underway.

As a family member or close friend, you are likely to be the first people to notice any signs for concern. It’s important to encourage the person to get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.

While the facts can be hard to face, the reality may be less scary than the uncertainty. And it’s always better to know so that appropriate steps can be planned.

In the early stages, dementia symptoms can often be managed. But eventually it may be necessary to receive residential care at a home equipped to deliver dementia care such as Sherborne House in Yeovil.

A Time for Looking Forward, as Well as Back

Older people living in care homes need a number of things to maintain their physical and mental well-being. The opportunity to take part in meaningful activities and to have family and friends still actively involved in their lives are crucial.

Wherever possible, a positive and forward-looking approach is particularly beneficial. Later life is a good time to try out new experiences and learn new skills. You have the time to try out activities you maybe always wanted to have a go at but were perhaps too busy to do in the past. It’s an important role for care homes to ensure that later years are as active and fulfilling as possible.

The Wishing Tree

One of the new features we’ve introduced into our care homes is the Wishing Tree. Our activity coordinators ask each of our residents what they would like to achieve over the next twelve months. Each ambition is written on a label and hung on the tree. We then work with our residents to help make their wishes become a reality.

The intention is for the tree to become a focus for residents and that their families will encourage them to come up with ideas that could help them reconnect with their past and recall significant memories and emotions.

Creative Minds

Our extensive activity programmes also include Creative Minds art classes. These are tailored for care residents and involve visits from tutors each month to take classes in a range of art forms.

As well as being fun, these classes boost self-confidence and esteem. Learning new skills helps to keep the mind healthy through cognitive stimulation and maintains and improves motor skills.

We aim to help all our residents to remain physically and mentally active, and to get the greatest number of positive experiences possible from their later years by continuing to look forward, not just back.

Contact us today on 01305 300 161 to find out more or arrange a visit to one of our care homes.

A New Home, Not a Care Home

People have different ideas of what life in a care home is like. Some fear a loss of independence and having their individuality hidden in a corporate style institution. But is this what care home residents really experience?

Concerns possibly arise because of the way that many care homes are owned and operated. As The Guardian recently reported many care homes are in the hands of large companies that operate tens or hundreds of homes. These corporations are often owned by financial institutions that took on substantial levels of debt to buy into the market.

However, alongside the large corporate players, there are still many smaller care home businesses. These are often run as family businesses or charities. Altogether Care is a good example. We are family-owned and operate three care homes alongside our home care services.

Luxury Residential Care

Steepleton Manor is one of our homes and could be described as a luxury residential home. It’s as far removed as you could get from any image of a faceless corporate institution. The setting is idyllic – a former country house nestling in beautifully landscaped grounds. And while the home is large enough to have all the care and social facilities you could ever want, it’s also small enough for everyone to know everyone else and for each resident to feel like an individual.

Independence is encouraged and supported. Residents can grow their own food in our kitchen garden and some even choose to cook for themselves in the Manor.

When residents come to Steepleton Manor we like to think of it as moving to a new home, rather than moving into residential care. The care you need is available, but the focus is on continuing a fulfilling and enjoyable life. Being smaller means that we know all of our residents as individuals and they know us too. This means we can work together so that everyone enjoys the best standards of care alongside the best possible quality of life. If you’d like to see what this looks like in reality we’d be happy to show you around Steepleton Manor and our other care homes.

Putting the Fun Back Into Food for People With Dementia

For people with dementia, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can be difficult. People often feel less like eating for a number of reasons. Food might not taste the same as it used to, or sometimes it can be physically hard to eat because of pain or reduced motor skills and coordination. Depression is also common, meaning that meal times and food lose their appeal.

When communication becomes difficult, the only way to express the fact that food is too hot, too cold, hard to eat, or just doesn’t taste right may be to leave it. And not eating or eating the wrong things could make a condition worse. While there is no conclusive proof, there is a growing body of evidence to say that a healthy diet, low in salt and saturated fats, and high in antioxidants and Omega-3s can help slow the onset of dementia.

Dementia and Nutrition

There are many things that can be done to encourage people with dementia to eat and drink more and the Alzheimer’s Society has some excellent information on its website. We use many of these techniques at Sherborne House, which specialises in dementia care.

Overall, we aim to reconnect people with the enjoyment of food and eating. Partly this is through the design of the eating environment so that mealtimes are calm and as free of distractions as possible. We also encourage residents to engage with their food by preparing healthy sandwiches and fruit salads and by baking cakes. These are fun, social activities that help to associate food with positive emotions and thoughts, rather than being a source of anxiety or conflict.

The positive culture around eating not only stimulates appetites, it helps residents feel more confident and in control of their lives. Discussions about food can also stimulate reminiscence and maintain sensory abilities.

On the one hand eating and drinking can be a challenging aspect of dementia care, but they can also be therapeutic and encourage greater engagement with other people and enjoyment of life.

Why not come and see for yourself what life at Sherborne House is like? Contact us today on 01305 300 161 to arrange a visit.

Dementia Talk at Sherborne House

Members of the public are invited to a talk on dementia at Sherborne House Care Home in Yeovil on Thursday 18th January at 6pm.

Teresa Mason from The Alzheimer’s Society will talk about what it means to have dementia and how loved one’s can support family members who may have dementia.

For more information please contact Sherborne House Care Home on 01935 423210.  Light refreshments will be provided.

Sherborne House is part of Altogether Care and provides residential care for those with dementia.

 

Fireworks at Sherborne House

A colourful and fun firework display was enjoyed by residents, staff and their families at Sherborne House last weekend.

Hot dogs, marshmallows and hot chocolate was served whilst everyone watched a sparkling display in the sky.

Fast flying bird at Sherborne House

Residents at Sherborne House were treated to a special visit from a bird of prey back in September when Sharandys Birds of Prey visited with a friendly kestrel. Staff and residents enjoyed petting and stroking the bird.

Kestrels are able to fly at high speeds and change direction rapidly. They have exceptional powers of vision and have been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour.

This was a fantastic experience for the residents to get involved with and has provided them with fond memories.

Bird of Prey Sherborne House Visit

It’s a hoot at Sherborne House

Sherborne House Care Home in Yeovil currently has 27 residents and this month they got up close and personal to a feathered friend who came for a visit.

Ruby Hillman, a resident at Sherborne House enjoyed stroking ‘Brecan’ the owl and along with other residents was treated to a talk on owl behaviour by Sharandys Birds of Prey.

Thank you for your visit Sharandys Birds of Prey – we all very much enjoyed having you.

 

 

Ivy and Riley share special birthday

Sherborne House Care Home in Yeovil enjoyed special celebrations on 24th June when one of their much loved residents celebrated her 101st birthday.

Ivy Platt, moved to Sherborne House Care Home in February of this year but was born in London. She has a daughter and two grandchildren. Now a widow, she once worked as a secretary and enjoys a glass of sherry and some milk chocolate. Ivy is a keen knitter and still wears cardigans she knitted herself.

On the same day Riley Marshall turned one and enjoyed meeting Ivy at Sherborne House Care Home. Riley’s Dad who works at the care home allowed him to come and join in the celebrations for Ivy’s big day. The two of them immediately hit it off.

Caroline Sharp, Manager at Sherborne House Care Home said, ‘It was a big day for both Ivy and Riley and they both enjoyed having some fun with their families and friends’.

Yeovil Care Home is a finalist

Sherborne House Care Home in Yeovil reached the finals of the Care Awards 2016 which was organised by Care Focus (South West).  An awards evening took place on 22nd April in Taunton with a total of twelve separate awards for those employed in the care sector. Sherborne House employs forty two staff and was short-listed for the Outstanding Care team Award.

Caroline Sharp, Manager at Sherborne House said, ‘Although we didn’t win we were delighted to be nominated and attend the event. My staff always work hard in everything that they do and they are all winners every day’.  Sherborne House specialises in Dementia Care and is part of the Altogether Care Group.

Ben McGrail from BBC Somerset hosted the awards evening and presented each category  winner with flowers.  Guests enjoyed a three course meal and a disco.

For more information please contact Ellie Phillips PR on 07834 752200

Some recent day to day activities