Bartletts, Community, Merryfield, Personalisation, Real life, Stone House, Wellbeing

The importance of reading for older adults at Peverel Court Care

The importance of reading for older adults at Peverel Court Care

 

Reading is one of the most important activities that older adults can engage in. It helps our residents to maintain friendships and keeps them mentally active and engaged. However, not everyone wants to read or finds reading to be easy for them.

 

Why reading matters for older adults

Reading is important for everyone; it helps us stay sharp, social and connected. For people living in care homes, reading is one way to help keep their minds engaged. And like anyone else, the choice of reading material for our residents will be led largely by their interests and their favourite genres. 

There are a lot of benefits to reading to older adults, especially those who are unable to read for themselves. At Peverel Court Care we have small in-house libraries in each of our homes. Our residents and staff help us to evolve the collection to ensure there is always something new to discover. It is also worth speaking with one of our Registered Managers as we also have a number of reading lists across our homes together with a writing and poetry club. 

 

Encouraging residents to read anything they choose

It’s never too late to start reading or to read more books. Reading can have a profound effect on mental health.  Reading may become more difficult as we age, so reading to older adults is one way to help keep them stimulated, entertained and engaged.

There are a lot of lists out there with recommendations on books to read, which cover a wide variety of topics. If you have an elderly family member or friend, give them some books you think they’d enjoy. Also, make sure you keep reading yourself. It can be fun to discuss what you’re reading with your relatives when you visit them.

 

Some places that might be helpful to consider

As not all care home residents are lucky enough to have access to so many books, the local library can also be a great place to start. Many libraries have reading lists for older adults and your loved one can get started on their reading list right away. 

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Community, Events, Real life, Stone House, Wellbeing

A visit from Paws PT: how animal therapy benefits our residents

 

Increasing numbers of medical practitioners are recognising the benefits that come from the therapeutic use of animals to help ease the symptoms of a number of physical and mental health complaints. Numerous studies have shown that time spent in the presence of an animal can alter our physical, cognitive and emotional responses.

What is pet therapy?

Also referred to as animal-assisted interventions (AAI) or animal-assisted therapy (AAT), pet therapy is a form of complementary treatment that utilises animal interactions to help improve certain physical, psychological and emotional health issues. Put simply, animal therapy capitalises on the natural healing ability of spending time with animals, to help make us feel better.

 

The benefits of animal therapy

Pet therapy can benefit anyone, but particularly the elderly, by:

  • Promoting relaxation: Research has shown that stroking an animal releases endorphins which help to relax the body and mind. This is particularly beneficial to those who may be experiencing agitation, frustration or confusion with the onset of age-related memory loss.
  • Providing comfort: Through the provision of their calming source of support and reassurance, animals help to ease anxiety. The unconditional affection we receive from our pets helps us to feel loved and more emotionally stable. Animals can bring us comfort, joy and happiness. Just stroking an animal fulfils the basic human need for touch and provides sensory stress relief.
  • Combating loneliness: Time spent with animals can boost emotional wellbeing following traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a loved one or serious illness. Animal interactions can also be particularly effective in helping to deal with loss, loneliness, and other situations that may otherwise cause depression or anxiety. Pet therapy can help people, including those in care homes, to reduce any feelings of social isolation.
  • Encouraging exercise: Staying as physically active as we are able to becomes increasingly important as we get older. Pet therapy helps to keep people active and boosts energy levels by encouraging healthy lifestyle changes. It also encourages people to spend time meeting and engaging with other people. 
  • Promoting good health: Pets are also good for our hearts, and not just as a result of their unconditional love and affection. Spending time with animals has been linked to a reduction in the risk of heart disease and has been shown to improve overall cardiovascular health. Separate research has also demonstrated that regular exposure to cats or dogs could reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. This has been attributed to the immune-boosting allergens in their fur. Meanwhile, a Cambridge University study found that people who own pets report fewer minor ailments like headaches, coughs and colds, according to Age UK. HelpGuide.org have also discovered that: “Pet owners over age 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.”
  • Providing purpose: Spending time with, or caring for, an animal can help to reduce boredom, offer a greater sense of purpose and a reason for living. Whether it’s the daily feeding and care of a pet, or receiving regular visits from an animal with their handler. Routine provides positive structure and gives people something to enjoy and look forward to. Pets can also be a wonderful source of fun; helping to keep us entertained and enjoying life.
  • Boosting self-esteem: Animals have a unique way of bringing people out of themselves. We can often see an increase in residents smiling or speaking in the presence of a pet. Through building self-confidence and reducing anxiety, animal-assisted therapies can help to increase verbal communication and improve interactions with others, really helping to boost social wellbeing.

 

A visit from Paws Pet Therapy

Based on the grounds of Bartlett’s Residential Home, Paws PT provides a friendly and reliable dog training service to meet the needs of both clients and their dogs.

As care specialists, Peverel Court Care know how much of a positive impact animal therapy can have on those living with dementia. That’s why we welcomed Paws PT to our two homes in Aylesbury, Stone House and Bartlett’s Residential Care Home.

When visiting our homes, Paws PT dogs help improve the lives of our residents, including those living with dementia, by bettering motor skills, making them feel happier and lifted, encouraging interaction and also triggering reminiscing conversations.  

Making invaluable connections and partnerships with organisations such as Paws PT helps us to enrich the lives of those residing with us, many of whom are living with dementia. And as we’ve identified, interaction with pets has well-documented benefits to older people mentally, emotionally and physically, by improving emotional, social and cognitive abilities

 

A visit from Paws PT how animal therapy benefits our residents at Peverel Court Care

 

The view from Paws PT

We spoke to Jen, the owner of Paws PT, to find out more about her business and how she has found visiting our residents with her dogs:

 

Tell us a little about your business and how you came to be doing what you’re doing.

I started dog training back in 2016 and originally it was just me, but over the years we’ve grown both the team and the number of dogs we have, which has been really fun. What we offer is quite bespoke, quite personalised training. Our clients come to us with a list of challenges that they have with their dogs, and we work with them to help them find solutions. So it’s very much tailored to the dog and the individual needs of their owner. It’s quite a broad scale; we work with rescuers who do a lot with working dogs and pets who are working breeds. We also do a lot of family fun sessions in the summer. But really, dog training is about people building.

 

How did you come to work with Peverel Court Care?

We have land at the bottom of the garden at Bartlett’s that we use for dog training. and one of the ladies got in touch to ask whether we could bring our dogs into the home. The first time we came, we did a Christmas visit for the residents with one of our spaniels and our oldest terrier.

 

What are the benefits for older adults?

We go round to meet the residents and we had one lovely encounter with a lady that we now know hadn’t really communicated much until then. She sat with one of our dogs and just chatted to him for ages and it was really lovely. That was the first time I really realised just how much more animals could do for humans than humans are able to do for humans sometimes.”

 

What impact and outcomes did you see for the residents?

The impact that the visits from our dogs have on the residents really varies. But we’ve discovered that a lot of the residents have had dogs, have had animals, or have wanted to have animals during their lives. And it’s a great connection point. You’re talking about something that’s in the room, which really opens up the conversation and allows people just to be in a different world, or even in a different time. A lot of them will critique training methods that they used to use with their dogs. They’re sharing breed specific knowledge, sometimes really, really intense breed specific knowledge, which is fantastic. And they really, really enjoy the interaction, that physical contact with the dogs and engagement. But mainly it’s just the conversation that opens up and the amount that they communicate with the dogs is amazing. We met one lady who, when we visit, actually squeals with delight. 

There have also been some laughs. Like when one of our dogs went off with a member of staff and they came back with just the lead in their hand. The dog had found the kitchen and didn’t want to come back, which the residents really enjoyed as well.

 

How did you find spending time with our residents?

It’s really nice. It’s a privilege to watch the joy our dogs bring to people. All of our team who’ve been into the Peverel Court Care homes have really enjoyed watching the way our dogs engage with different residents. Sometimes you can just see that there’s more of a connection and it is really fascinating to watch. It’s interesting to see how perceptive the dogs are as well. One dog that can be quite lively will be sat totally still with its head on the lap of a particular resident. It’s all about the connection with the residents and the dogs and just allowing them to interact.

 

Feedback from residents:

We asked some of our residents about their experience of Paws PT visiting them at our homes:

What did you think of the experience?

Angela Lloyd (resident): “It was good thank you, I enjoy it when the animals visit me in my room. The ladies who visit with them are also nice.”

Fiona (daughter of our resident Heather): “Mum and I enjoyed it! Mum has photos of her families’ dogs on the walls in her room. She mentioned how her mother brought Staffordshire bull terriers home from India!”

Olive (resident): “I love it when the dogs visit, I remember a couple of them by name now! The spaniels are my favourite!” [laughing]

 

Would you like to experience it again?

Heather (resident): “Yes, I would, I really enjoy visits from the dogs and enjoy giving them treats.”

Angela (resident): “Yes, I would. If the weather is nice next time, I would like to take them for a walk!”

Olive (resident): “Yes definitely, they are always welcome to visit me!”

 

Paws PT pet therapy now regularly visit Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House, Aylesbury as part of our sense & sensory range of activities.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Community, Landscaping and Dementia, Social Care & Society, Wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 4

 

The Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from 10th to 16th May 2021, and this year’s theme is nature.

Getting into the spirit of the event, Peverel Court Care have decided to partner with an amazing local mental health charity called Lindengate.

 

The importance of mental health awareness

We know that mental health problems affect millions of us, in our families, communities and workplaces. We all have mental health that will fluctuate in response to life events.

The Mental Health Foundation

With everything that the world has been through over the past year due to COVID, ensuring that everyone is looking after their mental health has never been more important.

At Peverel Court Care, we provide our Employee Assistance Programme, a confidential employee benefit designed to help staff deal with any personal and work-related issues that might be affecting them. Whether they are struggling at home or at work, our helpline is available 24/7, 365 days a year so they will always have the support they need. Delivered via the Employee Support Hub, powered by Health Assured, it gives employees access to qualified therapists over the phone or via live chat whenever they want it.

We’re also looking to create a regular collaboration for our care team to access Lindengate’s ‘Healing Pathways’ programme sessions. We feel this will be beneficial to our employees and also aligns with one of our core values – Care for Our Communities.

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 1

 

Who are Lindengate?

Lindengate Mental Health Charity is located at a stunning 5 acre site in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, where nature breathes new life into anyone needing support with their wellbeing.

The natural beauty and richness of the site help restore and heal, whilst specialist gardening, conservation, construction, cooking and nature based arts and crafts activities provide focus and purpose. Add to this, the community of volunteers and staff who nurture a supportive, inclusive and safe environment and you have a recipe for success.

 

Lindengate’s Healing Pathways Programme

“Using nature to help us understand loss.

Loss will affect us all in different ways, but the common thing to remember is that however we are feeling, is perfectly normal. There is no right way to feel – you will feel how you feel and that is ok.

Sessions for adults take place in small groups, where you can come and take time to think about your loss, in our therapeutic gardens. The garden lends itself to nurturing people, the natural beauty and richness help to restore and heal, with support from a community of volunteers and staff, in a natural environment.

The constancy of the seasons provide some stability when everything else may be crumbling. In the darkest of times, memories of better times – past Winters melting into Spring can sustain us and provide hope – that happy Spring days filled with joy will once again emerge out of the gloom of Winter.”

Healing Pathways
Lindengate

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 2

 

Getting out into the garden

Our fundraising day will take place on 12th May and will be led by our 104 year old resident Hilda who, along with other residents and employees, will be planting 104 bulbs! You can support Hilda and the other residents raising money for Lindengate via our Virgin Money Giving page here. Hilda is an inspiration and last year helped to raise over £8k for Alzheimer’s Society.

At Peverel Court, we know that access to outdoor space and fresh air can be incredibly powerful. That’s why we have beautifully landscaped gardens at each of our care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, which our residents can enjoy. For example, Bartlett’s Residential Care Home in Stone, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire is set in over 18 acres of private tranquil parkland with exceptional views of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For elderly residents, there has been research which has shown that those who enjoyed as little as 10 or 15 minutes of activity a day, saw a marked improvement in their health. It has also been revealed that walking outdoors has been shown to reduce levels of stress, and to increase sociability, communication and self esteem. There is also evidence that it can help to reduce cognitive decline.

Exposure to both daylight and sunlight whilst outdoors is also important. Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D, which is essential for building strong bones and muscle, and helps us with maintaining our body clock. So residents at our homes don’t need to get too adventurous; even just having a cup of tea and a chat out in the garden has proven benefits.

 

Hilda – an inspiration to us all

As mentioned, Hilda will be leading our fundraising efforts again, so we wanted to share some of her story; she is a remarkable woman who has lived a fascinating life. Hilda was born during WWI and has many memories of growing up in London with her mother, Daisy, father, Sidney, and sister, Elsie. She enjoyed biology, science and French at school, and her closest friends were her school friends. Hilda enjoyed playing hockey and swimming, and she belonged to a swimming club.

Hilda was in the civil service during the Second World War. She described the war years as ‘gruesome’ and remembers the poverty at that time. She recalls the blitz and the V1’s and V2’s – or doodle bugs. The happiest memory that Hilda has from during the war was when she got married in 1941.

Hilda worked as a civil servant for most of her working life. She had three children; Barbara and Anthony, and a second daughter who sadly died. Hilda’s family lived in Bournemouth and later she lived in Oving, Buckinghamshire. She enjoyed travelling to Germany; the family had a caravan which they used to travel around the continent. Hilda’s favourite past times include gardening and reading – she likes Terry Pratchett’s novels.

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 3

 

Find out more

Support Hilda with our fundraising: Virgin Money Giving
Lindengate: Find out more
Lindengate’s Healing Pathways Programme – Find out more
Mental Health Awareness Week: Find out more
The Mental Health Foundation: Find out more

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Business, Care & Technology, Care Management, Future of Care, Health and Safety, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Social Care & Society, Stone House, Wellbeing

Health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce

Health and Wellbeing of the Adult Social Care Workforce at Peverel Court Care

 

With the number of cases of COVID-19 on the rise again across the UK, it seemed a good time to review the health and wellbeing support that has been put in place for the adult social care workforce. We examine both the initiatives that have been launched nationally, and also those that we have additionally put in place for our staff at Peverel Court Care.

The care sector is a vital part of our health and care frontline and this pandemic has shone a light on the skills, commitment and dedication of our care workers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State for Care

 

An Unprecedented Year in Adult Social Care

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a challenging year for the adult social care sector in the UK. Keeping our residents safe has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds; not least as a result of the media coverage it has had. However, equally as important has been ensuring the mental and physical wellbeing of the dedicated people whose hard work has ensured continuity of care for our residents.

While the general population have faced the worry, uncertainty and disruption that the pandemic has brought, for our staff we know that this has been doubly difficult. Not only have they had to worry about bringing illness home to the families and loved ones, but they have also had the added concern of taking something back to work with them.

When you add in the fact that many of our staff have been asked to help maintain levels of services while colleagues have been self-isolating; increasing their own workloads and levels of stress, it’s been incredibly reassuring to see the dedication of our team.

 

Supporting the Adult Social Care Workforce

Nationally, there have been plenty of initiatives launched to help support care workers. An early one was supermarkets including care workers amongst the group of front-line workers to whom priority shopping times were made available. However, at government level, one of the key additions made to support the care workforce was the launch of the Care Workforce app, developed with NHSX and the NHS Business Services Authority, under the new CARE brand.

Launched in May 2020, the app, which is available for download on iOS and Android, as well as being accessible from any web browser, acts as a single digital hub for social care workers to access relevant updates, guidance, support and discounts from their phone. The tool will be the first of its kind provided for the care workforce, and will:

  • act as a single one-stop-shop providing the sector with all the latest guidance, wellbeing support and advice they need to protect themselves from COVID-19 and keep themselves well
  • provide access to learning resources on crucial areas such as infection control as well as practical advice and support for mental wellbeing
  • show how care workers can take advantage of offers available to NHS and social care staff, including free car parking and discounts through organisations and initiatives like Discounts for Carers and the Blue Light Card
  • signpost free access to apps like Silvercloud, Daylight and Sleepio, which can help boost users’ mental wellbeing through programmes covering sleep, stress and resilience

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

Our incredible social care workforce are on the frontline day and night providing quality care to the most vulnerable in our society during the most unprecedented time in our history. The whole country is incredibly grateful of the work they continue to do for our loved ones.

As part of our continued work to back the care sector, we have launched a new app specifically for care workers to make sure they have the most up-to-date guidance to keep them safe, connected with their colleagues across the country, which also allows them to access discounts like their NHS counterparts.

It’s available to download right now, and I would urge everyone in social care to do so.

 

Managing Mental Health and Wellbeing

In addition to the app, there have been a plethora of support initiatives and guidance released this year to help support the adult social care workforce. A simple, but important set of precisely this type of advice is:

There are some simple things you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing at the current time. Looking after your mind and body will help you both at work and home.

  • Remember that it is OK to struggle at the present time. Everyone reacts differently and you may feel different emotions at different stages of the pandemic. However, it may cause you to feel worried, stressed, sad, scared or helpless – these are understandable feelings.
  • Take time to look after your physical wellbeing – this will have a big impact on how you feel emotionally. Taking breaks at work, maintaining a routine, eating well and exercising can help.
  • Think about what has helped you cope in the past to cope with stressful situations. Focus on what is in your control, try to pace yourself and remember that this will not last forever.
  • Extend the self-compassion and care you have for others for yourself.
  • Look after your emotional health. After difficult or stressful experiences at work it is normal for memories or images of what has happened to come into your mind. Try to let these memories come and go rather than blocking them or trying not to think about them. Try not to stay focused on difficult thoughts and feelings.

Dr Katrina Lake
NHS England & NHS Improvement Adult Mental Health (South East) Clinical Lead

Other useful examples of guidance documents released this year which are well worth a read, include Health and Wellbeing information for Care Staff and Managing the Wellbeing of Social Care Staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Supporting our team at Peverel Court Care

While we have appreciated the efforts that have been made at a national and local level, at Peverel Court Care we wanted to go further to help our employees through this difficult time.

We have also implemented the Employee Assistance Programme, powered by Health Assured, which is a confidential employee benefit designed to help staff deal with any personal and work-related issues that might be affecting them. Whether they are struggling at home or at work, there is a helpline available to them 24/7, 365 days a year, so that they will always have support on hand when they need it over the phone or via live chat.

Peverel Court Care have also partnered with Perkbox Medical to provide employees with 24/7 access to an online GP, as we appreciate how difficult it can sometimes be to schedule appointments around working hours.

The online GP service allows employees to interact with a certified doctor, via app or website from anywhere with internet access. Employees can book an appointment and be seen within minutes, ask for advice, as well as receiving prescriptions and referrals, all at a time of their choosing. Our Directors are among staff to have already taken advantage of this service, and believe they have “witnessed the benefit and efficiency of the process”.

Back in April we also created a bespoke survey platform for the team to provide anonymous feedback and ask questions to the senior leadership team. In order to try to mitigate against any financial hardship suffered as a result of needing to self-isolate, we also invited employees to let us know if they need assistance in dealing with the loss of income as a result of having to isolate for 7 or 14 days. We put in place a scheme covering the months of March and April where we were able to advance up to 100% of the difference between Statutory Sick Pay and an employee’s contractual pay over that period.

We are also introducing Aura for our employees from the 29th October. Even before World Mental Health Day, we had been looking for a new solution which we could provide to our staff to help them better manage the impact on their mental health of both their work and life. Aura is described by it’s founders as:

Join millions who use Aura to manage their emotions and get restful sleep. Whether you’re stressed, anxious or having trouble sleeping, simply tell Aura and find strength & rest.

Mindfulness meditations, stories, life coaching, and so much more. With thousands of empowering & resonating audio tracks, Aura has just what you need every day, and constantly learns what works for you.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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