Staying together in Residential Care

Growing older with the person you love is a privilege, but it can also come with challenges.

We all age at a different pace, with the odd ache and pain.  But, as time moves on, quite often we have more serious complaints, such as living with Dementia or limited mobility, and the partner with fewer needs takes on a caring role.

As the sands of time gently fall and both partners’ needs gently increase, it is not unusual for the person taking on the role of “carer” to start to feel the pressure of their added responsibilities.  Eventually, they or their family may decide that they can’t continue in this role.

Similarly, the partner with additional needs can increasingly feel a burden on their loved one, and the dynamics of their relationship change.  It is hard not to feel terribly guilty when, after many years together supporting each other in life’s ups and downs, managing health issues takes over the weekly routine.

For many couples in later life, there will come a time when the situation becomes too much to sustain care at home and there is no other choice than for one to move into a residential care home.

For the partner, remaining at home is a tough decision to make. It has added resonance when they feel that it is their “fault” that their loved one may have to move out of a house they may have lived in for decades because they are not able to look after them. And it means they will no longer be living together, which is terribly upsetting.

If only they could move in somewhere together…… but that’s not possible, is it?

Move into Huntington House with your partner.

It’s a common misconception that you need to move into a care home alone.   You don’t!  At the Huntington & Langham Estate, we love to welcome couples to our specialist care homes.

Moving into one of our homes with a partner takes a tremendous amount of pressure off the person who has previously had caring responsibilities.  They can then relax and enjoy being with their loved ones without having to care for them.

Couples moving in together very quickly settle into their new environment.  The couple can enjoy the atmosphere, activities and opportunities of living with us, safe in the knowledge that their care will be top-notch.

Where the couple are sharing a room we offer a 50% reduction on one persons fees, or if they have separate rooms we offer a 10% discounted rate whilst the couple remain together in the home.

Where possible, couples can join in outings and activities together, spending time in the grounds together and sharing delicious meals together too.

Moving in with your life partner offers enormous benefits to emotional well-being for both people.  Nobody is left at home feeling lonely, and a huge amount of familiarity and love are immediately available within the home.

Our person-centred care approach means both residents will have individual care plans which will be combined and adapted to suit the couple.

 … even if one of you is living with Dementia.

With our specialist care home dedicated to creating a meaningful life for those living with Dementia, situated alongside our Residential home, we can offer residential care for all needs.   We can support people living with Dementia at Langham Court, with residential care for the other partner a short walk away at Huntington House.

Enjoy a new phase of life together.

Before moving in with us, one of our residents spent some time caring for his wife, who was a wheelchair user.  Eventually, he needed nursing care and was no longer able to look after her.  Their family agreed that it would be good for them to move in together, in separate rooms, so they could have their own space reflecting their care needs.

They both settled in quickly, with the wife enjoying the ability to access the terrace from her room, spending time outdoors in the fresh air, admiring the view over the estate and being able to wheel herself to spend time with her husband in his room across the hall to do the crossword together every day.

With access to the lounge and restaurant at Huntington House, she’s made friends with other residents and has joined in with outings, safe in the knowledge that her husband is being so well cared for and is safe and happy.

“I’ve been here since December.  They’ve been very accommodating with my husband and I being in rooms across the hallway from each other.  They even replanted a cherry tree from our previous garden we had planted to remember our son who died. They’ve been so good and kind,” said Mrs R..

Staying together in care can be the right choice for many couples – whatever their age and level of care needed.

At the Huntington & Langham Estate, we provide luxury care across our two specialist care homes.

Family-owned and run, we offer dignified, compassionate and personalised care to our residents, giving them the nurturing support they need to continue living full, independent and meaningful lives.

To arrange a visit to the Estate and tour our homes and grounds, please call 01428 604 600 or complete our contact form:

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Huntington and Langham Estate awarded highest level of independent accreditation.

Each year the Huntington & Langham Estate is independently audited to ensure we are providing care to the highest possible standard.

The most recent audit, undertaken yearly by a company called Meaningful Care Matters, took place at the end of last year, and after scrutinising everything from the homeliness of the environment and atmosphere to the amount and types of medication prescribed as well as the job satisfaction of the staff, the results are finally in.

Both care homes have been successfully re-accredited by Meaningful Care Matters with 10 levels in total, but only Levels 1-3 are given the prestigious accreditation accolade.

Huntington House achieving Level 1 Outstanding service with a model of care, which provides a meaningful engagement experience where people who access the service and who work at the service are ‘Free to be Me’. The environment is congruent with the model of care and represents the story and individual expressions of not only the people who utilize the service but reflects the identity of the organisation also.

Langham Court being awarded a Level 2 Excellent with a highly engaged service and high value on meaningful moments and a true person-centred philosophy, which is congruent in look, sound and feel as well as congruent with regulatory compliance requirements and the organisational mission vision and values. People’s individuality and expression is evident and on the most part people can express that freedom and be themselves. Some improvement opportunities are identified which would support greater expressions of meaningful moments and freedom.

Meaningful Care Matters focuses on the development of resilient relationship-centred cultures of care shaped by the people living and working within them where both ‘caregivers’ and recipients of care can flourish.

The reports for both homes state that accreditation has been achieved by providing evidence of a highly engaged service where people’s individuality and expression are evident, and people can express freedom and be themselves.

The report also provides areas for further improvement, and Charlie Hoare, Managing Director of The Huntington & Langham Estate, says “all credit to the team, as the audits are tough, but the feedback is invaluable. Not many care homes put themselves through it, but I think all should strive for the accreditation”.

For more information, please call the estate on 01428604600.

Respite stays may not work miracles but they can work wonders

Charlie Hoare, the Managing Director of The Huntington & Langham Estate recently gave a presentation about the benefits of respite care at the Rare Dementia Support carers’ meeting, based on our experience of supporting families who have also been supported by Rare Dementia Support.

Growing up in a residential care home

Like a lot of things in life, people have different perceptions when it comes to care homes. I happen to have a very positive association with care homes.
I grew up in a care home, spending the first 10 years of my life living on the top floor of Huntington House, our original care home on the Huntington and Langham Estate.
Even after that, I only lived a stone’s throw away in the original Estate lodge house to the main building. Close enough, in fact, that when I was home from boarding school for the summer holidays, one of the residents would make sure I wasn’t sleeping in too long by rattling his walking stick in the cat flap on his morning stroll and shouting to me and my sister that it was time to get up.

Despite these rude awakenings, or potentially because of them, I associate care homes with a feeling of homeliness, family-like connections, and even a sense of fun!

Feelings of mixed emotions when considering a move into a care home It is natural for anyone considering a move, to have mixed feelings about care homes, especially if they’ve have not yet had the opportunity to take a tour of a local home.

The most common emotions for carers researching their options are ones of hope mixed with an equal measure of guilt perhaps. Hope that there might be a place with a team of people who can offer the care that you’re finding impossible or at least very difficult to provide on your own at home and the guilt that comes from feeling that you should continue to manage on your own.

The impact of media headlines

It is not surprising given some of the headlines we’re exposed to, particularly during Covid-19, that people are fearful of care home, with stories of poor treatment, leading some people to be staunchly opposed to the idea of moving their loved one into a care home.

Sadly these situations do exist in some homes which is why the Care Quality Commission acting as a regulator is so important and even though we have a good CQC rating, we go beyond this and are independently audited by Meaningful Care Matters as Butterfly and Dragon fly homes.

When there is no option but to organise a move into a care home, I recommend to families to be careful about how they communicate some of these negative perceptions and the impact they may have if/when our loved ones makes the transition to a care home.

Changing perceptions at the School gate

I recently met a mum at my kids school, with a child in the same class as mine, who was talking to me about care homes recently. She asked if it was normal to be totally averse to her Mum going into a care home, even though her Dad was no longer able to look after her at home any more.

I asked why she was so averse to her mum making the move, and it turned out that she had volunteered at a care home when she was younger and had been horrified by how people in the home had been left for long periods, sometime hours, without anything to do, and she couldn’t possibly subject her beloved Mum to a future of the same.

Whilst this was an experience approximately 20 years ago, at one particular care home, it was enough to influence the family’s decision to postpone mum’s moving into any care home, even for respite care, despite the struggles of her dad.

I kept touching base with her occasionally at the school gates to see how they were getting on, and fast forward a few months, and her Mum had sadly had a fall at home and was now in hospital with a broken hip.

A week later she had been discharged to a care home along the Discharge to Assess Pathway, which is basically when a hospital has an agreement with a local care home to discharge people straight from hospital when they are medically fit, before they are then assessed as to whether they will go back home – with or without home care – or move to another more suitable or preferred care home.

After months of deliberation, the family had had little or no choice where their loved one’s first experience of a care home was, and they had the complication of settling into a new environment while also recovering from the trauma and surgery of the broken hip.

Transitioning into permanent care through a respite stay

This example is fairly representative of the reality of transitioning straight into permanent care for many, when a transition occurs in a crisis or an emergency situation that dramatically reduces the time we might have to choose the right care home, and prevents any opportunity for a trial run via a respite stay.

Transitions to care homes can be unsettling and disorientating at the best of times, even during respite stays. Some people are content from the start, some piece together the environment to fit a familiar place to them; a previous house, halls of residence, military accommodation, and settle in quickly. Others, however, are aware they are somewhere unfamiliar and struggle to make sense of it, and it can take longer for them to settle.

This is one of the benefits of respite stays. You will get to know how your loved one reacts to the care home environment, and what you might be able to try next time to make it easier. You then get the opportunity to reset and try again when the time is right.

The wider benefits of respite stays

Respite stays can help you ascertain whether the care home is right for other reasons. Is it easy to visit, and does it fit with your lifestyle, as well as meet the needs of your loved one?

Is your loved one going to be anxious about leaving the building for a walk or trip out? If so, are there areas of the home or grounds you can use instead.

Are there other people living in the care home that your loved one can form a social connection with? If not, can this need be met by a team member who they get on particularly well with.

During a respite stay you will likely find out information that you would not necessarily know from a brochure or show round.

A chance to spend quality time together with a loved one

Perhaps most importantly respite stays can help you maintain your core relationship with your loved one. You can use the time they are in a care home for quality time together rather than task-based interactions when you are having to do things for them rather than with them.

A couple of examples of this that have stuck in my mind…

One husband, whose wife stayed with us, used his time at home to create music playlists for his next visits. He and his wife used to love listening to music together, going to concerts, and dancing around the kitchen together. And for about half an hour almost every day when he visited, all the way into the later stages of her dementia, he would crank up the volume and would take her hands and transport them both back to those moments.

We had another person’s son who went away for work a lot, so his Dad would come in for periods of respite while he was away. When the son got back, usually a few days before the respite ended so he could unpack and do a food shop before his Dad returned home, he would come in for an hour or two each day and read his Dad The Jungle Book, which was his favourite book that his Dad had read to him in his childhood.

Many people may be concerned that you might miss being your loved one’s carer. Respite stays will give you a chance to work alongside the care team and continue being involved in certain aspects of care. And work out how you feel about the transition.

What you need to know about arranging a Respite stay

After saying all that, it can often be tricky to arrange respite care.

  • No availability – Some care homes may be limited by availability, they may be full with people staying on a permanent basis. In this care, you could ask if they run a waiting list so that you are contacted when a room becomes available.
  • No advanced booking – Other care homes may offer respite stays but may only take bookings a certain period in advance, and not be able to confirm availability until nearer the time.
  • Minimum stay – Most care homes will have a minimum respite stay, usually around 2 weeks. This is mainly due to the workload associated with an admission. So, if you become a regular user of respite stays it may be worth trying to negotiate this with the care home.
  • Respite retainer – I have heard of a care home offering a respite retainer whereby you purchase a block of respite and take it in weekly or fortnightly increments when availability allows.
  • Respite timeshare – I have also heard of a care home that have built a number of rooms just for respite. I assume this will be offered on a kind of timeshare basis, whereby you book a certain week or fortnight each year or every few months.
  • Funding – You may be entitled to FNC (Funded Nursing Care) payments for respite stays. £219.71 per week. Your local council may also fund respite stays based on financial and needs assessments.

Respite options are increasing as it is becoming more apparent that it is helpful for transitioning people into permanent care.

A final thought

I believe most of the barriers to respite care occur around the timing of people’s transitions to care homes; it’s not always an option if it’s left too late.
Remember…respite stays can’t work miracles but they can work wonders.

Please do get in touch if I can be of help with your care transition planning or if you would like to arrange a visit to the estate.

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A first hand account of organising Respite Dementia Care

At Langham Court, we are not just there to support people living with Dementia, we understand the challenges involved in arranging a move into a care home and offer advice and support to the families of prospective residents.

MD of Langham Court, Charlie Hoare recently spoke with the husband of a new respite resident in Langham Court to learn about his journey as a first time carer organising a respite stay for his wife.

Can you share the background to your wife’s Dementia diagnosis

“When my wife was diagnosed in 2019 with a rare dementia called behavioural variant Fronto Temporal Dementia or FTD as it is often described as, our lives were turned upside down and inside out in an instant.

We live in a traditional family home and we’re not set up to deal with the demands that this dementia diagnosis demands of the near relatives.”

What led you to consider a respite stay in a care home for your wife?

“As the disease was progressing rapidly and I was having to deal with more personal care issues throughout the night, as my wife’s sleep pattern was non-existent, it often resulted in me only having a couple of hours sleep. This isn’t ideal as I was the main carer for my wife and there was the real fear of me becoming a victim to carer burnout.

Along with an indicated short prognosis, and in consultation with various healthcare professionals from Adult Care Services, the GP and the NHS, it was decided that I needed respite from caring.”

What were the challenges of arranging respite care?

“I found sourcing the respite care presented its own set of complications as we were looking for a care home that was able to look after her very specific needs and furthermore, she is under the age of 65.

Unfortunately, the local non-specialist care homes did not understand the condition and we end up being the square peg trying to fit into a round hole or being flatly refused, upon them learning of the challenging conditions that can be associated with the diagnosis. At this point I sought advice from fellow Rare Dementia Support members and fortunately we were introduced to Langham Court.”

Was there anything which surprised you when you started organising your wife’s stay?

“Having never been involved in having to sort out any care home facilities before it was a very steep learning curve. I naively thought that respite care, for my weekend away, could be organised very quickly, but soon learned that it isn’t.  From talking to a number of people, the general consensus was that respite care needed to be a two week exercise. Enough time for my wife to become accustomed to her new temporary home and enough time for Langham Court to understand my wife’s condition.

After a lot of negotiation with local Adult Care Services about arranging respite care at Langham Court after about a month it became apparent that it is not as easy as booking into a hotel.

Respite care is subject to a pre-admission assessment, as well as the right room being available at the right time. I just hadn’t expected the complexities, but was extremely glad when an agreement was reached.”

After all the heartache and finally selecting Langham Court for respite, what is your take on the experience?

“It was a positive experience.  I needed a break from the caring role and I’m very grateful of the two weeks’ respite stay. I visited my wife after the first week to make sure that she realised that I was still around, but by that time she had settled into her new home environment and we were both comfortable when I headed home, which was a great reassurance for me.

The second week stay then allowed me to get away for a short holiday with friends and that really helped me and showed that there can still be a life outside the caring role. My only schoolboy error was collecting my wife on the way back from the airport and expecting to get back into the normal, routine caring straightaway.”

What would you say to anyone in your position?

“My advice to anybody now would be, go away, enjoy yourself and come home for a couple of days before you go and collect your loved one.”

Taking advantage of a respite break also allows you to consider the suitability of the care home should you need to consider this route in the future for a permanent residential care home.

You’ve probably had the “please don’t put me into a care home conversation” and frankly, I don’t think that anybody wants to think about transitioning into alternative living arrangements but sometimes it makes sense.”  Husband of a resident in Langham Court

A final word from Charlie

This gentleman’s experience is one which is very familiar to myself and the team at Langham Court.  We hear similar stories from many of the family members who come to have a tour around the estate and are considering us as a lace for their loved ones to come for respite care.  We are always happy to talk through the care needs of someone living with dementia, or offer advice to their family even if they don’t choose Langham Court.

For more information or advice please do get in touch 

January Newsletter from the H&L Estate

Like many, January has been a month to plan for the year ahead, recover from the excitement of Christmas and New Year and take time to think about our health.

We may not have had a dry January, but we have been focused on eating well and in this months blog article, we share details about our approach to providing nutritious meals for our residents.

Winter Menu

For more news on life across the Estate read our monthly Newsletter

 

Why is nutrition so important for older people?

One of the many joys of living at the Huntington and Langham Estate is the delicious, nutritionally balanced and beautifully presented food made daily by our excellent chefs.

Many of our residents tell us that when they were still in their own homes, shopping for ingredients and making meals was a tedious chore.  Some said that physical disability meant it was hard for them to get out and about and then come home and cook. Some totally lost all enjoyment in eating, having the same quick-to-cook, bland food every day.

Others mentioned that living alone and loneliness made it hard for them to eat. Memories of cooking for family and then their loved one every day, when meals were something to be savoured and shared, gave way to apathy, lack of appetite and an ensuing impact on their health once they were only creating meals for one.

Putting the joy back into food and eating again.

Living at the Huntington and Langham Estate, our residents no longer have to think about food shopping, what to buy and what to cook. There’s no more money wasted on food which goes off before it’s cooked.

Instead, we most often find that residents have a new or renewed interest in food. Our weekly meal plans are created especially to have varied courses and a new choice of mains every day. There’s no set time for eating – residents can choose when and what they eat.

Check out our sample winter menu here 

Winter Menu

With a delicious range of food available and convivial company at meals, residents often very quickly see benefits in their health within weeks.

New residents who’d not seen a vegetable in quite a while or who have taken to eating packets of biscuits for dinner soon regain a healthy weight and the nutritional balance their body needs.

“The food continues to be of a very high quality, and the dining experience is enhanced by having vegetables in dishes to enhance choice. One woman asks for “more leeks”, so this visual choice really helps encourage people to eat the things they enjoy most.”  Visitor to Langham Court.

Hydration is so important.

Dehydration in older people can have complications, including low blood pressure, weakness, dizziness and increased risk of falls. Pressure sores and skin conditions are more likely with dehydration, as are UTIs and kidney stones.

For these reasons, improving residents’ hydration levels is very important to us and to their families. Long-lasting improved hydration is a tangible and vital benefit to living with us.

The perils of malnutrition.

As you age, your nutritional needs may change, but though you may be less active than in earlier life, it’s still important to eat regular nutritious meals. It’s a myth that older people have to be smaller and thinner. In fact, it may be more important to be more robust so you prevent some health risks that come from frailty.

Too much weight loss in older adults can lead to increased fatigue, a more significant risk of falls and injuries, decreased immune system efficiency, a greater risk of infection, and changes in cognitive and mood disorders.

Malnutrition is never an issue for our residents (or team!).

Food, glorious food!

The quality, variety and deliciousness of the food we serve have definitely contributed to our success over the years. Charlie – our MD – is a trained Chef who spent time in our kitchens before joining the management team. He still works closely with our catering team to make the standards of food served the same as the standards of our care – consistently outstanding.

Delicious Meals At H&L Estate

At the Huntington & Langham Estate, we provide luxury care across our two specialist care homes. Family-owned and run, we offer dignified, compassionate and personalised care to our residents, giving them the nurturing support they need to continue living full, independent and meaningful lives. We are Butterfly and Dragonfly accredited.

Please do get in touch for more information on the Huntington & Langham Estate.

Contact Us

Or to arrange a visit to the Estate and tour our homes and grounds, please call 01428 604 600.

December Newsletter from the H&L Estate

December has been a very social month, with parties for residents and the team, visits from birds of prey and small furry animals, but the highlight was definitely Santa and Mrs Claus arriving on the H&L Elf Express during Christmas Week, to deliver our gifts.

The homemaking team have been absolutely amazing, bringing Christmas cheer into both homes, whilst being sensitive to the needs of those for whom this time of year can be difficult being away from family.Christmas day in a residential care home

Looking back over the highlights of 2023, it is inspiring to see all the fun outings and activities which have taken place, the delicious food prepared by the catering team and what a fantastic place the Estate is for our residents to live.

For more news on life across the Estate read our monthly Newsletter

 

A review of 2023 from the H&L Estate

We have had a wonderful year here at the Huntington and Langham Estate.

Join us in a review of the highlights, from fabulous food, to days in the sunshine and outings to our favourite places, we have shared fun days with friends and family, and are grateful for such a wonderful place to live!

Wishing you all a happy 2024.

Party time for the team at H&L Estate

We don’t often get the opportunity to all come together for a party, but this year it was time to reinstate the annual Christmas Staff party.

Taking over most of our local pub in Hindhead we had a great night and of course a few drinks to celebrate our achievements of 2023 and spend some quality time together as a team.

Team Christmas party time

Team Christmas party

 

Christmas at the Huntington and Langham Estate

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

From early December there has been a vibrant buzz around Huntington House and Langham Court, as Christmas preparations began.

With successful decorations shopping trips completed, the festive decorations went up and there was much chatter about further outings to buy gifts and of course decisions to be made about the Christmas week parties and what to wear!

We often get asked, what is it like celebrating Christmas in a Residential Care home and without a doubt we always say it is amazing fun and this year has been a hoot!

Christmas Shopping

As part of our activity programme in Huntington House we have regular visits from the local small furry animals with their cute Guinea Pigs and Rabbits and a Birds of Prey centre.

This month Angela brought along some delightful Owls and Hawks to meet the residents.  Being located in the Surrey countryside we often hear the Owls hoot at night around the woods, so it was wonderful to be able to see them up close.

Birds of Prey visit

We are always conscious that for some Christmas can be a period of sadness, thinking of loved ones no longer with us.  Our homemaking team are very sensitive to this and always make time for quieter moments of reading together with residents, or chatting with those who are maybe overwhelmed by the wider festivities.

Small furry animals

Huntington House Residents Christmas party

With the Christmas jumpers and Christmas cakes taking pride of place in the restaurant at Huntington House by mid December, it was time to get the party started!

What a wonderful afternoon we all had at this years residents Christmas party!  With fancy dress hats and masks, silly games organised by our lovely homemakers and of course wonderful cakes and treats from the catering team, it was a special day.

Christmas Party Time

Christmas party time Santa visits the Huntington and Langham Estate

With a sprinkle of magic Elf dust, the arrival of the H&L Estate Elf express created great excitement for the team and residents, as Santa and Mrs Claus pulled up outside the Shepherds Hub to share some Christmas cheer and festive memories with everyone.

The H&L Elf Express

With one more sleep to go, Christmas eve was made even more special with a visit from Mr Kipling our little Donkey friend who joined us for afternoon tea and the beautiful cakes, decorated with roses.Christmas Eve in a residential care home

Christmas Day at Huntington House

Christmas Day at Huntington House like many homes, started with a leisurely breakfast and the sharing of gifts in the lounge by the Christmas tree, before settling into the restaurant for a feast of Turkey and all the trimmings with friends and family.  Christmas day in a residential care home

Our wonderful team of homemakers, catering staff and carers have been outstanding, making Christmas a joyful time for all creating some wonderful memories to share with family and friends.