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Our Newletter November 2010

A s the year is drawing to a close and we hear forecasts of snow and frost, our focus has inevitably   shifted to ‘indoors’ and to the Christmas Season. Recently we have celebrated Halloween and fireworks night, and it was particularly satisfying for the resident to use their home-grown pumpkins to make the Halloween lanterns. Quite apart from the sheer enjoyment of these celebrations, it is also helping some of our residents to keep track of where they are in the year. It is something not only the residents struggle with us, judging by the lateness of this newsletter!






Portrait exhibition in the quiet lounge

Our home renovation programme for this year has also drawn to a close, and we can look back on a number of improvements that help to make Rose Lodge a more enjoyable home to live in and work. We created a carers office next to the lounge which keeps ‘the work’ out of the lounge and installed a large new bookcase in the lounge. We have created a new quiet lounge (an exhibition space ! see picture on the left), moved and down-sized the admin office (I am now by the hall beside the kitchen and get residents visiting regularly which is great), and converted the old admin office back into a bedroom, which has enabled us to offer a place to one of the people on our waiting list. We have laid new carpets (specially designed for people with dementia) in most of the communal areas and some of the bedrooms, and we have re-organised our storage areas to make them easier to use for the care staff. On the terrace we have put up raised beds outside the lounge, started a vegetable garden, and we are now keeping three chickens. It has been quite a busy renovation schedule and we will now pause while we concentrate on the Christmas season and making our plans for the next year.


One of the stunning resident portraits

Many of you will have seen the portrait exhibition of residents at Rose Lodge which I found to be very impactful. If art is about eliciting an emotional response from the viewer then this exhibition certainly made the mark, with wonderfully perceptive portraits by artist Anamaria Marzec-Smith and with short life histories compiled by Alice. The portraits revealed the full range of human qualities that are so evidident in this generation. If you would like to buy one of the portraits (they are 60 pounds for a framed portrait) then this will help to support Ana in her art studies. We are exploring to see if we can put the exhibition in a more public space, so that the wider community can also enjoy these great portraits.






The Rosemobile


When Apollo Taxis told us that they were selling their wheelchair taxi, we were faced with a big challenge. Apollo operated the only wheelchair taxi in Exmouth and we had relied on their excellent service to provide transport for some residents to hospital, GPs etc. So we decided to buy the taxi, with a loan from our bank, and the taxi was quickly named the ‘Rosemobile’. It has already proved its value last week when we were able to take we were able to take a resident to visit her son at home at short notice.




Mrs Kay Summers


We have recently said goodbye to Kay Summers who has lived at Rose Lodge for three years. We have many wonderful memories of Kay, not least of evening chats over a cup of tea where Kay would put the world to right with her strongly held views. She had a very full life, with an incredible spirit that she showed right into her final days, and we will all miss her. The family have kindly made a generous donation to our activities fund which will help to maintain our activities programme.






You may have heard that the National Institute of Clinical Excellence has lifted their ban on NHS-funded medication that can alleviate the symptoms of early and moderate stage dementia. We contacted our local consultant psychiatrist for older people who told us that the guidance has not changed as such but that it is merely ‘out for consultation’. Nevertheless, it is clear that going forward GPs will have much more say in what medicines are prescribed on the NHS and you may consider contacting your GP to see if your loved one may benefit from such medication.

Our chickens have proved to be a mixed blessing. While they undoubtedly provide a lot of interest for the residents they also make quite a bit of mess on the terrace. Also they have been roosting wild at night which means they haven’t yet produced an egg!  For the moment we are keeping them mostly in their chicken run, and let them out to free range every now and then. One unsolved mystery is why they wont roost in their henhouse, please let us know if you have any ideas on how to tempt them in at night!



A group of local care homes was in the news recently, trying to over-turn the government’s ban on recruiting carers from far-away places, as ‘this would make it impossible to care for our residents’. We take a different view, which is that good dementia care needs carers with good communication skills and with an understanding of the culture and history of our residents. While undoubtedly more expensive, we think we are more likely to find those skills by recruiting people from our local community, and we will continue to do so as much as possible.

Karen Bousher has stepped up from being one of our two excellent Heads of Care, and is now our Home Manager. Karen has extensive senior experience at local dementia care homes including Fernihurst, Exmouth House, and Angela Court and is already making a difference. Mary Madge has joined us from the ambulance service as the second Head of Care. We have further strengthened the care team with Lousie Newey who has joined us from Fernihurst as Senior Carer,  and three new carers have also joined us to support the new residents. They are Di Kember, Brenda Kelsall, and Vicky Clark.


We rather like the idea of Rose Lodge as ‘a social club where you can stay the night’ and so we continue to evolve our activities programme to achieve a good balance between occupational and recreational activities. Research has shown that occupational activities can really help our resident’s sense of purpose and wellbeing and so we will focus the mornings (when energy levels are higher) more on occupational (daily living) activities, leaving the afternoons mostly for recreational activities, particularly those where residents can actively participate.  The weekends will be a little quieter, which can help some of our residents to keep track of where they are in the week.

Which brings us to Christmas. Christmas day is traditionally a quiet day at Rose Lodge, with our big celebration a week early so that many of you can join your loved one at Rose Lodge. We will again do that this year and hold our main Christmas celebration on the weekend of 18/19 December, with various other events throughout the month. We hope to see many of you here over  the period, and we wish you a wonderful Christmas!  From Peter and the team at Rose Lodge.

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