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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.

Our hens are free ranging…

 
 
 
 
 

Smokey, Bright Eyes and Phyllis on the terrace

At the weekend one of our laying hens starting to get aggressive with one of the other hens. When I called the breeder his response was simple: “They are bored in their chicken run – let them free range” So we did, and they are now happily picking and scratching their way through the garden, returning to their chicken run at dusk and bringing much amusement to the residents.

The link between boredom and aggression is an interesting one, and familiar to us in dementia care. If keeping chickens at a care home seems a strange thing to do, then this is the explanation. Boredom is one of the biggest risks for our residents and the more we can do to create interest the better.

For exciting footage (!) click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeODHPXD2hU

And now they have names!

After the piano concert today we ’rounded’ up the hens and took them round to the residents. We needed some names! This is what we came up with…

 

The Partidge Welsummer has been christened ‘Bright Eyes’ by Lillian

 

 

 

 

The Duckwing Welsummer has been christened ‘Phyllis’ by Joyce

 

 

 

 

The Crested Cream legbar has been christened ‘Smokey’ by Elfie.

 

 

The men on the whole felt that naming hens was a little daft….

These pictures are from google – our own pictures to follow!

The Chickens have arrived!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Buying hens at Tiphayes Farm

Buying hens at Tiphayes Farm

buying chickens at Tiphayes Farm

buying hens at Tiphayes Farm

At Tiphayes Farm

 

Many of our residents have very pleasant memories of looking after chickens, or perhaps they remember their parents looking after chickens when they were young. When we asked the residents about keeping some chicken they were very keen, so over the past few weeks we have been constructing a chicken run, next to the terrace so residents can enjoy the chickens without having to walk into the garden. We have also put a feeding hatch into the run so that residents can feed the hens from the terrace. The henhouse came last week from the domestic fowl trust, so all that was left to do was to get the chickens!  

 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

at Tiphayes Farm

   
This afternoon, three cars, four residents, and four carers made their way to Tiphayes Farma local  breeder of traditional breeds. We discussed our requirements beforehand, what we wanted was some fairly docile birds with interesting looks and good for laying eggs.Tip Hayes Farm is a beautiful old Devon longhouse and Roger Mudditt showed us various birds including some day-old chicks.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 We settled on three12 week old hens, which means that they will have some time to settle down in their new surrounding before laying eggs in a few weeks time. They are a Crested Cream Legbar, a Partidge Welsummer, and a Duckwing Welsummer. I have to admit this means nothing to me! We will have to get the pictures out and figure out which one is which. 

 

 

 
 
 
 

Can I take her home please ?

Can I take her home please ?

We were advised to keep the hens in their henhouse for 24 hours to let them get used to it. Unfortunately we forgot about this and let them loose in the run. So Phil and I spent a fun few minutes rounding them up and putting them in the henhouse. Neither of us had handled chickens before (other than on the farm) but somehow we managed. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tucked away in bed for their first night

Tucked away in bed for their first night

They are now nicely tucked up in their henhouse with some feed and water and we’ll let them out for a stroll tomorrow afternoon. 

I think our hens will be a wonderful addition to Rose Lodge. Not only will the chickens be entertaining, they will also provide some of our residents with enjoyable and purposeful activities.  

Next on my list is to write a Care Plan for the hens!  

And of course we have to name our hens – any ideas ? 

   

   

   

   

   

a bird in the hand

a bird in the hand

 
 
 
 

Alice who coordinates activities

Alice who coordinates activities