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25th November

Easy ways to have a healthy lifestyle

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is important at any stage of life, but it becomes even more essential as we age. Age comes with increased risk of a number of health conditions – and these can be facilitated by a combination of unhealthy eating, lack of sleep and lack of exercise. However, it’s not always easy to make drastic lifestyle changes; some people lack the knowledge needed to do so, while others are physically restricted. Luckily, though, you don’t have to overexert yourself, or be an expert on the topic, to stay healthy. Often, it’s a matter of adopting a few small lifestyle changes that can have a significant impact when combined.

 

Exercise for 10 minutes each day

Remaining physically active has shown to have profound impacts on our physical and mental health. If you’re physically restricted, try to do 10 minutes of exercise each day. You can do whatever feels most comfortable – whether that’s fast-paced walking, or swimming. 10 minutes is much more beneficial for your health than doing no exercise at all – so try to move a little bit every day.

 

Elderly lady engaging in gentle exercise.

 Remove technology 1 hour before bed

Whilst technology can offer a wealth of benefits to the older generation, it can interrupt the natural circadian rhythm when used late at night. As humans, we’re naturally wired to start feeling tired as the sun sets. The blue light emitted from screens interrupts this, preventing further production of melatonin (our sleep hormone). This not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but it reduces the risk of experiencing a good quality, uninterrupted night’s sleep. In order to sleep soundly, it’s important to put devices down at least one hour before going to bed – preferably leaving them in a separate room.

 

Try a relaxation practice

Yoga and meditation have gained particular traction across the UK in recent years. They not only offer an instant mood boost - they also help to clear the mind, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Some are intimidated at the prospect of yoga; but contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be particularly flexible or fit to give it a go. Yoga can be adapted to suit all abilities – you can try chair-based yoga, or simple stretches. Meditation offers similar benefits, but it simply requires training your brain to become aware of your natural state, eventually granting you the ability to control your thoughts and emotions – rather than letting them control you.

 

Add vegetables wherever you can

There is increasing controversy over the notion of ‘superfoods’, and what exactly categorises them as such. Many nutritionists have recently placed particular importance on simply incorporating as many colourful vegetables into the diet as possible, since this has been shown to reduce a number of health risks. Try incorporating vegetables into as many recipes as you can – from main meals, to fresh bakes.

Fresh tomatoes hanging on vine.  

Live mindfully

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be all too easy to forget to live in the present moment. However, this is often the key to living more peacefully and stress-free. Try to become aware of all the thoughts that are occupying your mind, and make an effort to focus on your current activity. Simple daily pursuits like brushing your teeth and taking walks can be done more mindfully; all that’s needed is an increased awareness of your surrounding sights, sounds, smells and tastes, and a conscious effort to banish your mind of intrusive thoughts.

 

Shift your perspective

Often, negative thoughts and feelings are a result of your overall perspective on life. Your attitude and thoughts can start to affect your behaviours and your body’s physical state. If you consciously start to think more positively, life itself will be a better place to live; you’ll feel happier in general, and your anxieties will likely start to subside.

 

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we like to ensure that our residents are as happy and healthy as possible. To find out more about our care, please click here.

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1st November

The changing face of beauty

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we love delving deep into the histories of our residents – from discovering previous generations, to learning about their career journeys.

 

When we discovered that Lesley MacLennan, 85 years old and living in Huntington House, had been a model for Yves Saint Laurent in her early 20s, we wanted to help her relive this special time in her life.

 

Lesley began her modelling career at age 25, after her mother had realised her potential. When talking to Lesley about the start of her career, she told us: “My mother thought I had beautiful hands! She took me to London – she was very ambitious for us. She was a wonderful woman, so determined to ‘do’ something. I was 25 and not married, so I was old enough to know it, to feel it. I didn’t mind it at all.”

 

Lesley’s career started in London, and continued in Paris. This was consequently where she started modelling for Yves Saint Laurent – a then emerging designer – and later with him at Dior, both on the catwalk and in front of the camera. She learned how to walk, develop the etiquette and do her make-up like a model – something many girls and women had aspired to in those days.

 

60 years after beginning her career, Lesley returned to the face of the camera when esteemed fashion photographer, James Muller, visited the estate. He was visiting a friend at the time, and happened to stumble across Lesley – who had “beautiful hands”, and was immediately struck by the way she carried herself, visualising himself capturing her poise and class.

 

Subsequently, we worked with James to arrange a professional photoshoot at the estate. Lesley had her hair and make-up done, and was dressed in vibrant clothing and jewellery.

 

Following the shoot, Lesley told us: “I thoroughly enjoyed the photo shoot – James made me feel perfectly at ease, he was the real McCoy! I would have said so if he wasn’t! The red and black outfit was so vibrant, it was stunning.”

 

It was an honour to help Lesley relive her modelling days, and it was wonderful to learn about her history of working for one of the biggest names in fashion. Photographs and visual memories are particularly important to us here at the estate, since they offer an unfailing sense of comfort to so many people – and in Lesley’s words, pictures last forever.

 

If you’d like to find out more about our care at Huntington and Langham Estate, please click here.

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25th October

Meet the team: Bente

This week, we spoke to Bente, one of our team leaders at the estate, all about her day-to-day role.

 

What’s your name and role at Huntington and Langham Estate?

I’m Bente Dover, one of the team leaders here at the estate.

 

How long have you been working here?

I’ve been working with the Huntington team for 6 and a half years now, which also spans the time before Langham Court opened. I was initially employed to work at Langham, but started at Huntington House for three months.

 

Tell us more about your day-to-day role.

On an average day at the estate, I spend a lot of time speaking to the relatives of our residents, answering their questions and having reassuring conversations. My role also involves ensuring residents are as happy as possible and well looked after, with an eye kept on them at all times.

I'll spend my time attending and preparing for funding meetings, organising 'Resident of the Day' and updating care plans as regularly as possible. My day will also involve taking phone calls from relatives or medical staff, and to call the doctor if necessary. It's also my responsibility to give medication during the day.

I'll always ensure staff are organised, have completed their care plans and filled in the relevant paperwork.

At the end of the day, it's my job to make sure everything is done, and that the most calm and special experience possible is provided. Ultimately, it's my aim to make sure residents are happy and well looked after! 

 

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I love talking and spending time with the residents, knowing that I’m helping to improve their lives in so many ways.

 

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had with our people?

The most memorable experience I’ve had was at a party one summer, when the residents were dancing with the staff and singing together – everyone was so happy, it was a truly magical experience!

 

What makes Huntington and Langham Estate unique?

Most definitely the fact that it’s so personal, and relatively relaxed. The people also make the estate unique, as everyone cares for each other.

 

What’s the most interesting/funny experience you’ve had in your role?

I would say the funniest experience I’ve had is when one of our residents was watching Prince Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding, and she started talking about her three husbands and relaying naughty jokes… it was so funny!

 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The way the residents smile and acknowledge you when they see you and hear your voice is priceless.

 

Describe Huntington and Langham Estate in three words.

I would describe the estate as unique, special and individual.

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18th October

Top 5 books to read this autumn

As the colder months edge closer, there’s no better time to snuggle up with a good book – particularly one that instils feelings of comfort and cosiness. We’ve listed a few of this season’s best reads, from empowering, non-fiction books, to gripping fictional novels.

 

The Diving Bell & ButterflyJean-Dominique Bauby

This empowering novel tells the story of the author himself, Jean, who, in 1995, suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak or move, although remaining entirely conscious. Doctors called this ‘locked-in syndrome’, since he retained the ability to generate thoughts, but couldn’t express or verbalise them. Despite this, Jean still had use of his left eyelid, which he could twitch on demand – and he used this ability to spell out words letter by letter. He continued to do so until he had told his story, which both offers readers a remarkable insight into locked-in syndrome, whilst recognising and celebrating his strength to carry on.

 

Why We SleepMatthew Walker

Many of us forget how important it is to have a healthy sleep-wake cycle. If we fail to achieve 7-9 hours of sleep per night, we’re putting ourselves at increased risk of a range of mental and physical health issues – including anxiety, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology, is passionate about studying the connections between humans and sleep, and how sleep (or lack of it) can affect human health. This book summarises 20 years of research undertaken by Walker, and teaches us why it’s so important to get a good night’s sleep.

 

Olive, Again Elizabeth Strout

As she enters the second half of her life, Olive Kitteridge has to come to terms with the changes that come with growing older – some that bring joy, and others that bring challenges.

 

Alongside her second husband, Olive navigates through her life, facing loss and loneliness, but also supporting her friends through triumphs in the comfort of her small hometown. Her experiences nevertheless challenge her as a person, but they also offer her a whole new perspective on life.

 

This book is ideal for anyone who can relate to Olive’s life journey, offering hope to anyone who’s looking for reassurance when life gets a little tough.

 

Everything InsideEdwidge Dandicat

If the prospect of sitting down on a rainy afternoon with a gripping short story brings you joy, then this book is for you. The collection comprises eight vivid stories, with each one drawing on the reader’s emotions; throughout, the reader can expect to experience a variety of significant life events and relationships, including romance, divorce, tragedy, a christening and re-united families.

 

The Dutch House Ann Patchett

Dubbed ‘The book of the autumn’ by Sunday Times, The Dutch House is a novel that treasures the bond between two siblings, Danny and Maeve, who are growing up in a luxurious mansion. With the absence of their mother and the distance of their father, they become increasingly reliant on each other. The defining absence in their lives, that of their mother, is further emphasised when their father, one day, brings home his new friend, Andrea – and from hereon, Danny and Maeve are drawn back to the past time and time again.

 

This novel is ideal for anyone who enjoys getting lost in a fictional story - one that draws on a range of emotions.

 

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we always encourage our people to take up new hobbies – from reading, to playing a new instrument. To find out more about our care, please click here

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10th October

The mental and physical health benefits of practising gentle yoga

When you think of yoga, it will likely conjure a variety of images. Possibly, you’ll envisage serenity and relaxation, but you might also see an impossibly convoluted person in your mind’s eye!

For the uninitiated yoga can perhaps present an intimidating impression, especially for the elderly who may worry it’s beyond their capabilities. However, there’s no need for any trepidation. It’s a very welcoming pursuit, that’s suitable for all ages and one that comes with many associated benefits.

 

Adaptive Yoga

 Yoga can still be practised and indeed taken up for the first time, long into your golden years.

Chair based yoga is an extremely gentle form that allows you to practise simple stretches to improve general wellbeing. It’s a great place to start if you have any balance issues or struggle with mobility. Of course, if you feel the benefits you could always move to a slightly more demanding floor based yoga, however there’s no pressure to progress from chair exercises if that’s where you feel comfortable. You can adapt your approach to yoga to suit your individual needs.

 

Improved breathing

Known as pranayama, these are breathing exercises that serve to increase lung capacity, while also aiding posture and helping practitioners to sleep better – something that’s increasingly difficult as we age.

 

Prevent back pain

Aches and pains in our backs are common symptoms of ageing. Strengthening exercises with yoga can help to ease the burden on our backs, thanks to the improvement on posture as mentioned above.

 

Mental calm

Even those in their golden years can suffer stress from time to time, and this is another element that can be helped through yoga, as can anxiety and other negative thoughts. Concentrating on your body helps to bring calmness to the mind, clearing away any pernicious feelings.

 

Increased social engagement

One of the great things about yoga is that, even though you’re concentrating on your own mind and body, it’s a social pursuit. Engaging with yoga classes within the home helps you to foster a greater bond with other residents, improving your own sense of wellbeing whilst recognising its positive effects on others.

 

It’s important to recognise that yoga isn’t a quick fix though. You’ll not notice the full benefits from a solitary session, so be sure to engage with it over time and give it several sessions to allow you to decide whether or not it’s for you. The benefits are manifold, so it’s certainly worth persevering with.

 

Get in touch with the team to hear more about the activities we offer our residents at Huntington and Langham Estate.

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4th October

Bucket list wishes: Barbara's ride on a Harley Davidson

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we were absolutely delighted to see one of our residents’ dreams come true in September.

 

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on our social media, you might have seen our ‘Moon Landings’ video, in which we set out to discover our residents’ experiences of this momentous event. Whilst recording the video, we asked our residents if they’d like to have had the opportunity to go to the moon, which, following further discussion, revealed some further ‘bucket list’ wishes.

 

It was here that we discovered Barbara, one of our residents who witnessed the footage of the 1969 moon landing first-hand, had a lifelong wish to ride on the back of a Harley Davidson motorbike. Barbara, now 88 years old and living in Huntington House, saw her first Harley in a pub car park and, mesmerised by its appearance, had longed for the experience ever since.

 

In talking about her wish, Barbara told us: “I always remember my husband and I coming out of the pub, into the car park and we saw a beautiful Harley Davidson. It was very special because it had streamers from the handlebars and a cowboy scene on the seat. I was so excited, I thought ‘I would love a ride on that’.

 

She added: “I would definitely ride one now, as long as I had a crash helmet, yes, I would! Yippee!”

 

With Barbara having expressed the desire, and recognising it was a definite possibility, the team here consequently wanted to do all we could to make it happen. Barbara has such an extraordinarily positive outlook on life that we wanted to make her dream a reality, which subsequently saw us going the full hog – not just settling on arranging a Harley, but also sourcing a proper biker’s jacket and organising an accompanying biker group!

 

We did, of course, equip Barbara with a safety helmet, and she was accompanied by a lovely motorcyclist who, driving a Harley Davidson trike, navigated (not too quickly!) around the estate grounds.

 

We were all delighted to witness Barbara achieving her dream, as were many others who followed the experience on our Facebook Live video.

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27th September

Meet the team: Bess

This week, we were delighted to speak to our team leader, Bess, who tells us all about her day-to-day role at Huntington and Langham Estate.

 

What’s your name and job role at Huntington and Langham Estate?

My name is Bess Deane, and I’m a team leader.

 

How long have you worked here?

I’ve been working at Huntington and Langham Estate for 6 months now.

 

Can you tell us more about your day-to-day role as team leader?

As team leader, it’s my job to manage the staff and the day-to-day running of the floor. I also ensure all staff members are completing their tasks to the required standard, whilst delivering the best care and safety practices for all those who live with us.

 

What’s your favourite part of your job?

There are many aspects to my role that I love, but if I had to pick one, I’d say being able to share moments of laughter with the residents – their smiles never fail to light up the room!

 

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in your role?

I enjoy regular memorable experiences within my role by being able to get involved in activities, which often include trips out to the park, pub and garden centre visits, and days out shopping.

 

What makes Huntington and Langham Estate unique?

By far, the most unique aspect is the family feeling that’s created throughout the whole estate; we love placing value on friendships and connections.

 

What makes Huntington and Langham Estate a great place to work?

The friendly staff at the estate make it a really enjoyable place to work, and it’s a great feeling when we form relationships and connections with our lovely residents.

 

What’s the most interesting/funny experience you’ve had in your role?

I once had the unfortunate experience of dropping a whole tray of pre-made sandwiches after opening the fridge door, and it smashed everywhere. I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time!

 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

It’s really rewarding to know that I’m making positive differences to the lives of our residents.

 

Who inspires you the most?

I would say that my mum definitely inspires me, as she’s always taking time to care for people.

 

How would you describe Huntington and Langham Estate in three words?

If I had to sum up the estate in three words, I’d say: family, friendly and fun.

 

At Huntington and Langham Estate, our care workers value the treasured relationships they create with our people. To find out more about the care we offer, please click here.

 

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19th September

How to reduce signs of stress

In today’s world of modern technology, it seems no coincidence that stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high. We’re finding it increasingly more difficult to stay in the present moment, and this is halting our ability to relax fully. There are, of course, other factors that can cause feelings of stress, such as having too many responsibilities. No matter the cause of your negative emotions, it’s important to try and combat them for the benefit of your own mental and physical health. So, what exactly can you do to avoid the onset, or reduce the intensity of stress and anxiety?

 

Be more active

Although some people perceive the body and mind as being separate, there is evidence that suggests the way we treat our physical body can have a direct impact on our mental state. Engaging in physical activity, no matter how strenuous, can have positive effects on our mental wellbeing – in the short term, creating an instant mood lift, and in the long term, putting us in a better, stronger position to face life’s challenges. If exercise isn’t normally to your liking, try finding a form of exercise that you enjoy – such as gentle yoga or dancing. Simply moving more regularly, no matter how, will set you up for a better day.

 

Communicate with others

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we believe a problem shared really is a problem halved. Speaking to someone you trust about your issues instantly offloads some of the stress, whilst the other person can offer their perspective on the situation – helping you see it in a different light. Spend time talking to your friends or family members about your troubles, and ensure you engage in some fun activities with them – not only will this lift your mood, but it will also help to distract the mind.

 

Remember that everything is temporary

When you’re feeling down, it can be really helpful to remind yourself that nothing lasts forever. As humans, we’re biologically wired to fluctuate emotionally, so it’s inevitable that we’ll all experience ‘down days’ at some point. Rather than fight feelings of stress, try to accept how you’re feeling and let go of things that you can’t control. Engage in activities that bring you joy, and try living more mindfully, paying attention to the present moment. 

 

Try relaxation exercises

Mindful and relaxing exercises have most definitely gained traction in recent years, given their positive effects on our mental and physical wellbeing. Regularly engaging in activities that encourage the mind and body to relax is great for our long-term health, helping to reduce blood pressure, feelings of stress and encouraging us to become the best version of ourselves. Meditation is an increasingly popular practice, encouraging self-awareness and a deep cleanse of the mind. Similarly, yoga calms the mind whilst offering physical benefits, such as improving blood flow and improving your bone health.

 

Simply living more mindfully can have highly positive effects on our mental state. Try to avoid multitasking and focus on the activity at hand, giving it all of your attention. Living in the moment can really help us to appreciate and feel grateful for what we do have.

 

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we’re dedicated to spreading positivity wherever we can, encouraging our people to socialise with others and take part in enjoyable activities. To find out more about our care, please click here.

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10th September

What is holistic nursing care?

At Huntington and Langham Estate, it’s amongst our values to take a holistic approach to the care we offer our residents. We place equal importance on treating our residents with respect as we do on creating a happy, friendly environment. Just as in holistic psychology, an approach which emphasises the ‘whole’ rather than the sum of its parts, holistic nursing care takes a ‘mind, body & soul’ approach, rather than focusing on an illness alone. Holistic nurses see the body, mind, soul and the environment as interconnected, instilling overall values of unity and humanism into the care they provide.

 

Carer and resident relationships

Holistic nursing care very much focuses on the relationship between the carer and the resident. The holistic nurse’s aim is to heal the whole person, rather than focusing solely on a problem area. This means ensuring the individual’s mental health is sound, in addition to ensuring they’re experiencing adequate social interaction, gentle physical exercise, nutrient-dense meals and time in the outdoors.

 

Holistic nurses are also encouraged to practice self-care so that they can provide high-quality care themselves, whilst taking time to understand their residents in-depth so that they can provide individualised care.

 

The mind, body, spirit and environment

An individual’s environment has an overall effect on their health. In order to experience maximum health and happiness, individuals need sufficient access to nature, as well as healthy foods and likeminded individuals with which to spend time. Encouraging residents to take up new hobbies instils a new sense of purpose, as does spirituality; all of which can be experienced through activities to develop fine motor skills, such as knitting, gentle yoga and meditation.

 

Perceiving the mind, body, spirit and environment as interconnected is key to ensuring that each of these aspects is met through everyday care and activities. Many of which can be achieved by establishing a strong, trusting relationship with residents, allowing their voices to be heard to create an effective, tailored wellness programme.

 

Individualised care

Taking a holistic approach allows carers to provide more in-depth individualised care, tailoring the care plan to the individual’s personal needs, whilst paying close attention to their quality of life. Holistic carers can help promote healing through helping individuals make the right lifestyle choices for them, whilst involving their personal beliefs in the treatment process. An individualised care approach emphasises the importance of a holistic carer and resident forming a strong relationship, in order for them to gain maximum health benefits and feelings of wellness.

 

We take pride in our holistic care approach at the Huntington and Langham Estate, always striving to meet the most intricate of individual needs. To find out more about the care we offer, please click here.

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10th September

How to decorate your loved one's space

It’s no secret that the transition from a home environment to residential care can be a difficult one, particularly for those who have become so accustomed to their familiar belongings and surroundings. Becoming a member of a care community doesn’t have to be daunting; as a trusted family member, you can take simple, yet effective steps to help make the transition easier for your loved one.

 

The absence of familiar, homely surroundings can be upsetting for those transitioning to residential care. That’s why it’s important to try and create a home-from-home environment in their personal space, incorporating some of their favourite items.

 

Decorate the room with photos

Distributing your loved one’s favourite photos around their space is one of the best ways to both warm up the space and make settling in easier. Not only do they provide a sense of comfort, they also act as a mood booster in times of difficulty, reminding the individual of their strong support network.

 

Photos are particularly important for those suffering with dementia. They can help to recall past memories that may be forgotten, and act as visual cues.

 

Try getting creative with the photo frames – you can use different textures and colours to add points of interest. Tactile stimulation is also great for dementia sufferers, providing sensory experiences that can act as a good distraction technique.

 

Incorporate familiar items and scents

One of the most effective ways to help your loved one settle into their new environment is, most certainly, encouraging them to bring familiar items with them. This could include their own bed sheets, a favourite blanket, small pieces of furniture or an air freshener. Items that remind them of their home environment and hold sentimental value can help to make the space feel instantly more comforting.

 

Create a memory box

This is a particularly special touch for dementia sufferers, but can be equally as useful for any resident. Try creating a memory box to give to your loved one that they can keep safe in their personal space. Place a few treasured items in there, and then encourage your loved one to add to it regularly.

 

Flowers and plants

As humans, we are instinctively drawn towards nature, and our exposure to it has been shown to improve mental health. Try placing a couple of low maintenance plants around the room to purify the air and provide an instant mood booster, as well as some fresh or synthetic flowers to add a wider variety of colour.

 

Decorating your loved one’s space doesn’t have to be challenging; by simply adding some colour, texture and a few of their most treasured items, you can instantly make the room feel more comforting. At Huntington and Langham Estate, we encourage our residents and their families to personalise their space as much as they can. To find out more about the care we offer, please see here.

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29th August

Dementia friendly activities for you and your loved one

As a progressive condition, over time dementia can reduce a person’s ability to engage in mentally stimulating tasks. Although this is, in part, a result of the brain’s inability to retain information, it can be frustrating for the individual to come to terms with. There are, however, activities that you can engage in with your loved one that are less mentally challenging, instead stimulating internal feelings and senses that can work equally well to promote feelings of satisfaction and achievement.

 

Activities you engage in with your loved one should, ideally, encourage them to reflect on their life, promote emotional connections and help to prevent feelings of anxiety and depression.

 

Physical activity

One of the simplest yet effective ways to improve mental wellbeing is by engaging in gentle exercise. Encourage your loved one to take regular strolls around the local neighbourhood or try out a new practise, such as yoga. These can really help to clear the mind, not only promoting feelings of positivity but also making daily challenges that little bit easier to cope with.

 

Water aerobics or swimming are also great activities to try, with some fitness centres offering sessions designed specifically for those with limited cognitive abilities.

 

Cooking and/or baking

Working to stimulate the senses, cooking and baking allow us to use our senses of smell and taste, activating different areas of the brain. Not only does cooking allow the individual to bring a recipe to life, but you also have something tangible – and edible – to enjoy at the end.

 

If your loved one is struggling to follow a recipe, try taking the reins, feeding them the instructions slowly. It also might be a good idea for you to take on the more difficult tasks, allowing your loved one to enjoy the more simple, fun aspects of cooking.

 

Exploring your surrounding nature

As humans, we’re instinctively attracted to nature and, of course, there is a reason for this. We naturally thrive in the outdoors and the mere intake of fresh air, as well as the scent of foliage can stimulate feelings of peace, restoring internal equilibrium. There are numerous ways you can encourage your loved one to connect with nature – whether that’s simply taking a stroll through a botanical garden, surrounding them with wildlife or doing some gardening.

 

Arts and crafts

Encouraging your loved one to pick up a paintbrush can really help to unleash their creativity. Engaging in arts and crafts can help them to develop their fine motor skills and they might even pick up a new hobby. If your loved one doesn’t enjoy painting, try and persuade them to take up knitting or drawing.

 

Animal therapy

Being surrounded by animals has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, promoting mental wellbeing and the production of feel-good hormones. If you don’t own a pet yourself, try asking a friend to bring their furry companion to your home, or take your loved one to a local farm to spend time with small animals. Alternatively, you could undertake some research into local animal therapy services.

 

Just because your loved one is suffering with dementia doesn’t mean they have to miss out on fun activities that you can enjoy together. At the Huntington and Langham Estate, we like to make activities an integral part of daily life. To find out more about our care, click here.

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15th August

Special guests at Huntington and Langham Estate

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we’re always delighted to welcome anyone who needs our support, as well as their families, offering a hand to hold and a friendly face. From offering day to full-time residential care, our carers are dedicated to tailoring their care to each and every individual need.

 

We’ve been lucky enough to provide our care to a former anaesthetist, Bruce, who has been living at Huntington House since undergoing some major surgery at The Royal Surrey hospital. It was Bruce’s wish to stay living in Grayshott, having lived there all his life – so finding somewhere that was both familiar and offered the support he needed was highly important.

 

Although Bruce’s mental health had remained positive following the surgery, his physical health required some extra support. We’ve since been speaking to Bruce’s daughter, Sarah, who told us of Bruce’s initial resistance to the idea of moving into a care home. We were thrilled to hear that, after searching the area for a suitable option, Bruce has never looked back since his move into Huntington House.

 

During Bruce’s journey as an anaesthetist, he had watched many of the local GPs continue their careers at Huntington House, a place that he knew of throughout his career – but one he had not initially envisioned as somewhere to reside in his own golden years. Do click here to watch our full interview with Sarah.

 

Our history of care at Huntington House has also involved a former GP, a gentleman whom it was a pleasure to care for. We also currently have a former district nurse staying with us – a lady who worked at a local GP surgery just a few years back.

 

We’d also like to share a particularly special story, featuring a paediatric anaesthetist who lived with us at Langham Court a few years ago. After several attempts to leave the building, presumably to try and go to work, the on-site carers provided him with a doll, stethoscope and crib, which he placed next to his bed. He was then able to re-enact the fundamentals of his job, putting his caring nature into action and satisfying his need to look after others. He proceeded to drape the curtain over the doll as a blanket, and used the stethoscope to check the ‘baby’. His bedroom was thereon transformed into a consultancy room, and after this, he didn’t try to leave the building again.

 

It’s stories like these that really make daily life at Huntington and Langham Estate special. Our mission is to make our people as happy and comfortable as possible, taking the fear away from the complications that come with age.

 

If you’d like to find out more about our care at the estate, please click here.

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7th August

The importance of encouraging your loved one to take up a new hobby

Trying to balance a full time job with family commitments is something that we all come to face in our adult life. It’s no secret that when combined, these can take up a large proportion of our time, making it hard to maintain a good social life and keep up with hobbies. After you’ve retired, however, you’re suddenly presented with spare time that you didn’t have before, and this provides the perfect opportunity to both pick up old hobbies and develop new ones.

 

Reduce stress levels

We all experience stress and anxiety at some point, and these can become more prevalent at particularly negative life events. Picking up a new hobby is a great way to distract the mind, alleviating feelings of stress by focusing the mind on a particular task. Whilst you’re learning something new, your mind has less time – and capacity – to deviate towards unnecessary negative thoughts.

 

Hobbies not only prevent feelings of stress, but they can also provide an effective outlet in which to project anxiety, where the individual is subconsciously encouraged to translate their worries into a form of mental or physical stimulation.

 

Present a new challenge

Taking on a new challenge makes way for the potential to work towards a feeling of accomplishment, which, when reached, creates a new sense of motivation to develop skills in other areas.

 

Mentally challenging hobbies also work in reducing cognitive decline, stimulating and exercising the brain. Activities such as puzzles, reading and learning to play a new instrument can all help to keep the mind active.

 

Mental health benefits

Learning and mastering a new hobby can instil a real sense of accomplishment, which, in turn, promotes feelings of confidence and increased self-esteem. The social interaction opportunities that come with many hobbies also works to reduce negative emotions and feelings of loneliness.

 

Picking up a new hobby also encourages the mind to be more creative, promoting mental exercise that ultimately, helps to improve the circadian rhythm and sleep patterns.

 

Promotes spirituality and staying present

Once you’re truly committed to a task, you can really get in the zone and focus on being in the moment – something we often forget to do in today’s fast paced world. Mentally stimulating hobbies are particularly great for this, such as reading, yoga/meditation and arts/crafts.

 

Amongst our efforts to look after our physical body, we often forget to pay attention to our spiritual self, ensuring that we are living with intention and purpose. Getting involved in an activity that really means something to you can really emphasise the benefits it has on your physical and mental wellness, whilst helping you realise the things that you truly value.

 

The benefits that hobbies offer make them more than worth your while, and there really is no better time than the present to try something new.

 

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we like to encourage our people to try new activities whilst taking every opportunity to engage in social interaction with others. To find out more about how we care for our people, please click here.
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1st August

Why it's important to spend time outdoors

In a heavily industrialised and urbanised modern day world, we’ve sadly but surely become disconnected with nature. Our need to reconnect is greater than ever – for the benefit of ourselves and the planet. Whilst it’s important for all of us to get outdoors, it’s even more essential for older generations to spend time outside, as it’s been shown to boost our mental and physical health.

 

Mental health benefits

Being amongst nature offers a multitude of mental health benefits, with exposure to sunlight and a natural breeze helping to instantly boost our mood. As humans, we are genetically programmed to thrive in the outdoors, so spending too much time indoors can contribute to increased anxiety and stress. The mere smell of fresh grass, fresh flowers, dried herbs and pine provides us with a natural dose of aromatherapy that does wonders for refreshing and rejuvenating the mind.

 

Physical health benefits

Surrounding yourself with the earth’s natural elements can also positively impact your body’s physiological state. Increased exposure to sunlight is thought to reduce physical pain, whilst also nourishing the body with a natural source of vitamin D – which is needed for overall bodily functions and reducing inflammation. Spending time outdoors, studies suggest, also boosts the immune system, increasing your white blood cell count to reduce the instances of illness and infection. 

 

How you can get outside

It’s essential the older generation stay as mobile as is possible, and venturing into the outdoors certainly makes it easier. If you find that you’re limited physically, then it’s worth asking a family member or carer to assist in helping you take that step. Not only will this help to build your confidence in having a change of scenery, but you’ll also have someone you trust on-hand for support.

 

Reconnecting with nature

As humans, we are biologically and instinctively drawn towards nature. It’s therefore more important than ever that we take the effort to rekindle our innate connections with nature, simply by spending time outdoors and making the best use of our senses. Taking a mindful approach to the outdoors is the best way to do this, and maximises the health benefits you’ll be gaining. Take the time to consciously notice the refreshing smells, and beautiful sights and sounds that you experience.

 

It’s also thought that spending time in the outdoors encourages prosocial behaviour, boosting our desire to help others.

 

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we encourage our people to spend as much time as is possible in the outdoors. Whether that’s venturing out for a walk, sitting outside with their favourite tipple, picking up their gardening hobbies or engaging in some flower picking (which is a particularly popular pastime), we like to ensure that our people are really taking in their surroundings – however they choose to do so. To find out more about the care we offer, please click here.

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23rd July

How to help your loved one cope with a dementia diagnosis

When you’re thrown an unexpected curveball, it can be hard to know how to stay on track, and to know the best ways to approach the issue. Facing a medical diagnosis, such as dementia, can be tough for both the individual and their family – and it can be hard to accept the changes that occur as the condition progresses. In the very early stages, it may be possible for the individual to continue living their ‘normal’ life with their own coping mechanisms, but as time goes on, they will, more than likely, need additional support from their family and friends. Behaviour changes and differences in personality are typical signs that the condition is progressing, and observing this first-hand as a carer can be difficult. In order to support your loved one, it’s a good idea to know how best to deal with this.

 

Focus on strengthening their relationships

Dementia is known to cause communication issues, making it harder to maintain relationships with others, often resulting in withdrawal from interactions with friends and family. It’s important that as the carer, you try your best to keep their relationships alive. Being present with them and focusing on their emotional needs through reminiscence, humour and shared experiences is vital, but it’s also a good idea to introduce them to local community and social groups to encourage interaction with others. People with dementia often form great friendships with others who have the same condition - common ground can be reassuring when so much of their life is unrecognisable.

 

Non-verbal communication

As verbal communication becomes more difficult during the later stages, it will become more beneficial to both you and your loved one to use methods of non-verbal communication. Whether this is through touch, facial expressions, body language or verbal cues, these will become valuable ways of conveying feelings, emotions and desires. It’s important to give positive gestures – whether that’s a smile or affectionate touch – especially in situations that may cause anxiety or uncertainty.

 

As it becomes more difficult to communicate verbally, it’s a good idea to use visual cues. You can help your loved one remember daily tasks by, for example, leaving written reminders around the house.

 

Try to remain positive

Caring for a loved one is, undoubtedly, difficult when trying to juggle this with a job, and dealing with others who depend on you. Although it may be emotionally and physically demanding, try your best to stay positive where you can. Projecting negative emotions and feelings will likely transfer to your loved one, so it’s often helpful to seek professional therapy if you’re finding it particularly difficult to remain positive. By looking after yourself, you’ll be able to give more to those you care for, and prevent yourself from burning out. It’s often a very real risk that the carer becomes ill from the intensity of caring for a loved one.

 

Simplify their activities

To reduce feelings of confusion, it can be a good idea to try and simplify your loved one’s daily life as much as you can. Try to write a daily list of things that need to be done, such as getting dressed or making breakfast, and make these choices as simple as possible; such as presenting two outfit or meal options, to avoid feelings of overwhelm. Direct questions about their choices can also be avoided by making suggestions and gauging their response.

 

Remember to listen

Above all, it’s important to remember to listen wholeheartedly to your loved one. As communication becomes harder you may have to interpret alternative meanings behind common words. Calling out for a loved one who has long since passed away might not simply mean that they have forgotten, but that they might be in need of the love and support that the person used to give them. Remember it can be just as frustrating for them to not be able to find the right words, as it is for you not being able to interpret them.

 

Your relationship with your loved one will change as you take on a carer’s role. It’s ok to take some time to accept this, but don’t forget what initially brought you together, and remember to instil the same affection as you always have. To find out more about the care we offer, please click here.

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18th July

Baking recipes to try this summer

There’s no time like the summer to try out some new baking recipes with fresh, seasonal ingredients. The sweetness of fresh berries and citrus fruits that come around at this time of year can really add a refreshing kick to desserts, perfect for an outdoor dinner party in the summer months. If you find that you’ve got some spare time over the summer, or you’re looking to revive that long-lost baking hobby, why not try out a few of the delicious recipes below?

 

Pimm’s trifle

Pimm’s and trifle, independently, are deliciously indulgent summer treats and, consequently, popular treats on a sunny day. The fruity flavour of Pimm’s make it the ideal accompaniment to a traditional British trifle – but rather than having it as a cocktail in a separate glass, why not incorporate it within the trifle itself? A cheeky yet unapologetic amalgamation of ingredients, these boozy mini-trifles are perfect for a summer party with family and friends.

 

No-bake cheesecake jars

These mini cheesecake jars can be made in next to no time, and they really do look the part. Diverting slightly from the typical whole cheesecake, these mini cheesecake jars can make for a tasty accompaniment to top off a dinner party. The pretty decoration and unique serving jars make these look incredibly elegant; your guests will never know how long it really took you to make them!

 

Mini strawberry and vanilla shortcake

This recipe is ideal for those who prefer something light at the end of a meal. These individual, canapé-like desserts are perfect for handing out to guests at dinner parties. They look incredibly attractive, and feature the unfailing combination of strawberries and cream. They are, essentially, a take on a scone with jam and cream that you might otherwise find in a cream tea – but look much more suitable for parties.

 

Caramel passion fruit slices

These sweet treats are a summer twist on the classic millionaire’s shortbread. Closely resembling this popular dessert in appearance, a buttery shortbread biscuit forms the base, which is followed by a tropical passion fruit caramel, and topped with a layer of dark chocolate. These slices do, undoubtedly, take a little longer to make and require a considerable list of ingredients – but if you’re looking for a challenge, however, or have a few spare hours, the end result is well worth it!

 

Lemon and blueberry Bundt cake

Taking its name from the Bundt pan which is responsible for its distinctive shape, the Bundt cake was developed in the United States. Traditionally characterised by a ring-shaped sponge with a hole that runs through the middle, this cake is easy to cut into portions and also creates better sponges more frequently, since the heat is distributed more evenly during cooking. Adding something slightly different to your kitchen this summer, it’s certainly worth a try. Lemon and blueberry, a classic flavour combination, works great when paired with a Bundt sponge; see here for more details. Whichever recipe you decide to try your hand at this summer, you – and your dinner party guests – will, no doubt, be in for a taste experience!

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11th July

What's the difference between respite care and day care?

Whilst caregiving can be rewarding, it can also be extremely demanding – both physically and mentally. When a loved one becomes ill, it’s almost by instinct that we want to take care of them – but in doing so, it can be all too easy to forget about our own health and wellbeing, particularly if this is juggled alongside a full-time job and looking after children. Taking time out to look after yourself, as a carer, is important for your caregiving responsibilities, since being exhausted can prevent you from providing the best care possible.

 

Respite and day care options can be ideal for those who both provide and require at-home care, giving the carer a much needed break and their loved one opportunities to interact with others whilst receiving support.

 

Respite care

Respite care options are ideal for carers who are looking to take a short break away from their day-to-day responsibilities. Available for 1-4 weeks at a time, respite care at Huntington House and Langham Court offers full-time care to those who need it, allowing their carers to take some time out. Whether you’ve planned a holiday or you’re needed elsewhere at short notice, respite care offers help in both emergency and pre-planned situations.

 

At The Huntington and Langham Estate, we realise the importance of carers dedicating some time to boosting their own physical and mental health. Carers can relax in the knowledge that their loved ones are looked after in their absence, as they’re offered an exciting selection of activities, freshly cooked meals with locally sourced ingredients and beautiful gardens. We encourage all of our residents – no matter their length of stay – to get involved and make new friends, whilst being as independent as possible.

 

Day care

Similarly to respite care, day care is usually given as an opportunity for at-home carers to take some time out for themselves – a day at a time, rather than a whole week or more. At Langham Court, we open our day care doors twice per week, welcoming people from all walks of life who need extra support with daily routines. Our day care service provides visitors with opportunities to meet new people, a nutritious three course meal, refreshments and homemade cakes. We like our visitors to feel part of a community, no matter their length of stay.

 

Although caring for a loved one is an important responsibility to take on, you should never feel that it has to consume your whole life, or feel guilty for taking time out. Your health and wellbeing, as a carer, is equally as important. To speak to a member of our team about our care options, please click here.

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11th July

Can the Mediterranean diet increase your lifespan?

The Mediterranean diet is one that’s well recognised for its benefit to human health, with those who eat Mediterranean-based foods perceived as some of the healthiest people on the planet.

 

Cilento, a region in southern Italy, is thought to be home to particularly healthy residents, whose diets are high in Mediterranean staples – including extra virgin olive oil, nuts and vegetables.

 

This diet, in particular, is widely accredited for its ability to reduce the risk of the onset of many serious illnesses – including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers. Largely based on oils, oily fish, nuts and vegetables, the Mediterranean diet focuses on eliminating foods that cause inflammation – such as sugars and dairy – whilst increasing the intake of healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, is known for its high monounsaturated fatty acid content, which can help with weight loss, decreased inflammation and reduced risk of heart disease.

 

Interesting clinical trials, which first took place in France, have since shown that a Mediterranean-based diet reduces the instances of cardiovascular problems. However, the extent to which these results can be applied to the average Westerner’s lifestyle is questioned, considering their contrasting stress levels, circadian rhythm and poorer diets that can have significant implications on their overall health.

 

More recently, a study was conducted in Spain, whereby subjects were either given a litre per week of extra virgin olive oil and a daily allowance of nuts – which are both highly consumed in the Mediterranean diet – or put on a low-fat diet. The results showed that those who consumed the olive oil and nuts presented a 30% reduced risk of heart attacks and stroke.

 

Although the Mediterranean diet cannot be proven to extend your lifespan by a significant amount, it does help the average elderly individual live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Put simply, the diet can’t be solely responsible for longevity; it should be paired with an active lifestyle that limits exposure to harmful toxins. This is, arguably, more difficult in the modern day as a result of increased screen time and reduced physical activity.

 

In addition to staying active and picking up healthy habits, anyone can transition towards a Mediterranean-inspired diet, which largely includes:

 

- Abundant fruit and vegetables

- Nuts, seeds, legumes

- Whole grains, herbs, breads

- Fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil

 

In addition to incorporating the above, it’s advised that in order to maximise the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, you should also reduce the intake of sugars, refined grains, trans fats and highly processed foods.

 

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to contribute towards improved overall health, but it must be combined with an otherwise healthy lifestyle to maximise its benefits on the body.

 

At the Huntington & Langham Estate, we have always believed in this type of balanced approach to care, and indeed life, by considering people’s overall wellbeing rather than simply focusing on their medical care. This has always involved wholesome home-cooking, enjoyment of our surrounding countryside, and an active social life.

 

The importance of this was highlighted, in the last week, when a lady moved in to Huntington House from hospital. Her family had thought she had given up on life, as she had not eaten for almost a week; but to their surprise, she had enjoyed a plate of scrambled eggs within hours of arriving. Medically she is at the end of her life, but holistically, she is now living rather than dying.

 

It’s never too late to benefit from a healthier, more fulfilling life; regardless of whether it helps you live longer, it can certainly help you live better.

 

This blog has taken inspiration from ‘A Visit to the Land of Happy Old People’, a detailed article about the benefits of living a Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle. Click here to read more.

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21st June

A person-centred approach to touch in care

Improving the lived experience of care by enhancing the quality of touch.

 

Touch and the roots of empathy

Physical closeness speaks volumes in every culture. We tend to try and keep the people we love and care for close, remain distant from the people we care little about and push the people we dislike further away! You don’t have to be particularly intelligent or have all your cognitive faculties intact to understand the kind of messages touch conveys. It is a primitive non-verbal language that all mammals share. This form of communication relies upon the faculty of empathy; an ability to identify with and respond appropriately to the feelings and needs of others. This faculty is absolutely crucial to care-giving as well as humankind. Without it we would be lost and alone. Mammals are social animals because they are born with this seed of empathy. Loving and affectionate touch is the water that helps this seed grow strong. Touch and empathy are so closely bound that many forms of touch are actually experienced as empathy. This is because we first come to know empathy through touch, in the very first days or even moments of our life. Lessons in empathic touch start early, before words begin. Each of these tactile experiences are invaluable lessons in caregiving, enabling intuitive compassionate responses to another person’s need for comfort throughout our lives.

 

Touch and personhood

Whilst researching my book, Embracing Touch in Dementia Care, I observed professional carers with exceptional skills in their use of touch. These carers were not trained in any fancy massage techniques or procedures; they were merely doing what came naturally to them. It was as natural as seeing a father cuddling up on the couch with his child, children playing together, partners consoling each other, a mother soothing her baby, or friends congratulating each other. Upon discussing their use of touch I discovered that they had learnt these skills simply through living their life. Their ability to offer tender loving care largely grew from the tenderness, love and care they had received themselves. Like the faculty of empathy, this loving and comforting touch was simply part of their experience of humanity. This experiential understanding of touch is particularly valuable in dementia care; in promoting the bonds of trust and affection at the beginning of our life, these forms of touch and the kind of relationships they convey can function to secure consent to care at the end of our lives when words can fail, and logic and reason falter.

 

Touch and person-centered care

A person-centered culture of care empowers carers to trust in their own sense of humanity enough to convey their empathy with touch, and secure consensual caregiving through the loving affectionate relationships that such forms of touch convey. In this culture of care, carers are able to sustain people's personhood in and through the language of touch, using what I refer to in my book as, “person-centered forms of touch” to meet people’s emotional needs and enrich the quality of caregiving relationships. These experiences of touch do not take a great deal of time or effort - they are not an “activity” or specialist intervention and they certainly don't require any expensive equipment - they are simply moments in touch. The kind of moments in touch that help us know that we matter and that we belong somewhere. The kind of moments that help us feel safe, secure in the knowledge that we are in contact with people who are willing and able to help us in times of need. Most of us take these moments in touch for granted; they are so everyday and commonplace that we rarely reflect upon their significance. Take them away however, and we will start feeling more alone, anxious and insecure and are likely to become more withdrawn, aggressive or “needy”.

 

Concerns about touch in professional care

Given that touch is such a natural and effective way of caring and a powerful form of communication, you would think that all professional care providers would cherish this exceptional caregiving tool. Sadly this is not the case in many care settings; many of the affectionate and comforting forms of touch can be approached with suspicion, doubt and mistrust. Discussions with professional carers about their attitude towards touch, across many different care settings, often reveal a great deal of uncertainty about which kinds of touch are acceptable in care settings, and a lot of concern about how other people (peers, family members, visiting professionals, local authorities etc.) might perceive their touch. In short, there is a lot of fear about “getting too close” and a great deal of uncertainty about how close “too close” is. Unless directly addressed, this can create a confused or touch-averse culture of care.

Confident and compassionate care teams cannot exist in such cultures of care, because these tend to compel care staff to detach from the very feelings that arise from their sense of compassion and, in doing so, function to suppress empathy. Care without empathy is not only meaningless but inhumane; it’s the kind of care that one might accept from a machine but despair over when it’s from a person. In touch-averse cultures of care, touch can become confined to care tasks and procedures. This experience of touch will inevitably shape how they feel about themselves and others. This is particularly the case with the onset of a cognitive impairment; when the reliance upon representational and symbolic systems of communication decreases, people rely more upon their experiences of touch to make sense of their relationships.

 

The role of touch in Huntington House and Langham Court

To develop more confident and compassionate care teams, we need to secure the carers’ freedom to express this part of their humanity in professional settings and to trust in their own lived experience of touch. The “Embracing Touch” training Huntington House and Langham Court have offered their staff as part of the Butterfly Projects aims to restore trust in touch, whilst identifying and removing the obstacles that prevent people living and working in care. By establishing this approach to touch in the pioneering care service, we hope to inspire other care providers to have the confidence and compassion to embrace a person-centered approach to touch in their service.

Managing Director of Huntington and Langham Estate, Charlie Hoare, has commented on the importance of human touch for dementia patients:           

“The use of touch to secure consent for care is vital, but an often overlooked skill. There is often a marked difference between the ability of two people to obtain consent for intimate personal care, such as bathing, and it’s usually a relaxed, soft delivery of question such as ‘Would you like a bath this morning?’, with a hand on the person’s shoulder that gains enough trust for consent to be given. Tailoring the delivery of the question to obtain consent is as important as the delivery of the care itself, and if a care home fails to acknowledge this in its culture of care, then it will be reliant on individual members of staff and can become something akin to a lottery for the people living there”.

A special ‘thank you’ to Luke Tanner, from Dementia Care Matters, for providing the original material for this blog post.

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13th June

Feelings matter most

When a person enters a care environment, it is important they feel as happy and comfortable as possible in their new setting. Much of the stigma attached to nursing homes is a fear of institutionalisation; a loss of independence and having decisions made for you.

 

While routines have their place, the attention given to the feelings of those living in care homes is often downgraded below more ‘service-led’ practices. But the emotional wellbeing of a person has just as much of an impact on their quality of life as any physical or medical needs.

 

Language, for example, is hugely emotive. Here at the Huntington and Langham Estate, we are constantly making strides in the way we interact with the people living and working here.

 

We are now one of a number of care homes in the UK that has adopted the pioneering Butterfly Model. Created by Dr David Sheard, the founder of Dementia Care Matters, the model aims to disrupt the ‘us and them’ culture usually found within traditional care and is led by the ethos that ‘Feelings Matter Most’.

 

For some people, the need to move into residential care may come at a time when they are no longer able to live independently but are still more than capable of making decisions related to their own wellbeing. So, we have taken the decision to no longer use the term ‘resident’ for the people that live here – they are just that, people, and we want to ensure we’re not labelling them or talking about them as though they are tasks; diminishing any sense of worth.

 

Our staff no longer wear uniforms so there is no differentiation between those that live and work here; we are committed to creating a home-from-home environment and give everyone a voice which is valued.

 

By adopting the Butterfly Model and encouraging such a culture change across the whole care home environment, we are hoping it will enable everyone to flourish; helping the people that live here to retain their independence and be involved in their own decision-making, even down to the marmalade they have at breakfast. Everyone has their own personal preference, and this is important. It really is the little things that make a place feel like home.

 

The risk in any care environment is that people’s medical and personal care needs are prioritised, but we forget about their psychological needs; their overall wellbeing and the fact there is more to people than their diagnosis. Ultimately, our goal is to create a culture where people are doing things because they want to, not just because they’re being paid to; because they’re driven by compassion and love, not policies and routines.

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6th June

Is residential care right for you?

If you, or a loved one, are finding it difficult to live independently, then residential care may be the best route to take for the next chapter. Not only does professional care provide residents and their families with reassurance, but it also offers a sense of security that’s often not achieved when living alone.

 

Residential care isn’t quite as all-embracing as nursing care. Whilst residents are provided with nutritious meals each day and helped with personal care, they have access to their own accommodation and en-suite bathroom. The Huntington and Langham accommodation also provides residents with television and telephone points, as well as luxurious lounges and a conservatory for socialising with others. Our carers are always onsite, willingly providing assistance with everyday tasks as and when needed; but those in residential care are, first and foremost, afforded independence.

 

Our residential care accommodation is surrounded by scenic gardens, and features an onsite bar and café. Residents are invited on regular trips out in Surrey, and have the opportunity to take part in activities that are suited to each individual’s residential care needs. These can include baking, gardening and pet therapy. Visitors are, of course, welcome, and we encourage our residents to make the most of socialising opportunities.

 

Although residential care provides the ability to live independently, it can still be difficult to make the decision as to whether this transition is the best option for your loved one. Feelings of sadness, guilt and relief are all common – but if you’re caring for a loved one and struggling to juggle this with other commitments, then it will be within both yours and their best interests to seek extra help. If you’re considering this option, take the time to speak with your loved one about how they would feel about moving into residential care. It might be worth enlisting the help of a professional carer when discussing these options if it proves to be too difficult.  

 

If you think your loved one could benefit from a little help with daily tasks, but is still able to live independently, then residential care could be an ideal long-term solution for both them and you. You’ve got nothing to lose by simply taking a look around a property, discovering everything that they have to offer. If you’d like to explore residential care in more detail, click here to speak to a member of our team.

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Cooking
29th April

Tasty tarts and perfect pies, handmade in our nursing home in Surrey

Last week, two lovely ladies living here in at the Huntington and Langham Estate decided to get their hands dirty in the kitchen and have fun with a spot of baking! Molly has lived here for quite a while and Veronica has only recently moved in, so they haven’t known each other for too long, but they decided to join forces and have some fun together as they both fancied getting creative in the kitchen.

With the introduction of All Care Matters to Huntington House, following the success of Dementia Care Matters implemented from day one in our specialist dementia care home, Langham Court, we have made all sorts of changes to our residential and nursing home here in Surrey.

With All Care Matters, there’s such a strong focus on the wellbeing of the people living here; we believe everyone should be able to lead as independent a life as they would like to here in our home, so we have put all sorts of things in place to facilitate this, and it seems to be going down a storm. As part of that, we decided to build a kitchenette!

This isn’t the typical kind of kitchenette you see in most care homes where it’s used to make the odd cup of tea and slice of toast – this is a proper kitchenette and people living here are encouraged to make use of it whenever they fancy it, so everyone is able to cook and bake whenever they want to.

Although it’s not everyone’s idea of fun, the facility is there to be used at any time, with the team always on hand to help, of course. For people like Molly and Veronica – who are really quite independent, they just happen to be living with early memory loss – it’s the most amazing way for them to be engaged in meaningful activities and fully connect with how everyday life would have been for them in days gone by. It’s these small things like being able to bake that we take for granted.

In fact, Molly was a great baker at home and on quite a few occasions has mentioned that she missed being able to bake. Molly wanted to make jam tarts and said she used to make them every week for her family, so it was a pleasure seeing her in her element, baking for the first time in a while – and it was amazing tasting the finished tarts too!

Molly completely remembered how to make shortcrust pastry from scratch, along with all the exact quantities she needed – all we did was provide the ingredients. She spoke about making apple pie and custard as well as Eccles cakes, so fingers crossed we can make those very soon.

Whilst enjoying making pastry, Molly chatted about growing up in Lancashire, walking about how much she loved cooking for her husband and family. Seeing and hearing Molly during the couple of hours spent in the kitchen was just so wonderful, and everyone who wandered past the kitchenette commented on how great it was to see, smell and taste.

In addition to the delicious jam tarts, we also cooked mini chicken and leek pies! Veronica was keen to stop, chat and get involved, so she helped Molly by getting the pastry cutters out and filling the tins. Both the pies and tarts went down extremely well with everyone, and another baking session is planned for after Easter. Follow us on Facebook to see how they turn out!

We are thinking of starting a recipe book to record our successes – hopefully we won’t have to include any failures, although learning as we go is all part of the fun. Why don’t you pop in and see us at our lovely home here in Hindhead? It would be lovely to see you and you may even be lucky enough to have a sneak peek at our recipe book.

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fibreglass dogs
16th April

Have you seen our Haslemere Hounds? Be sure to keep an eye out!

There are two rather large dogs on the Estate at this very moment… but don’t worry, as if you’re not too keen on canines, you’re perfectly safe with this pair as these two greyhounds are made from fibreglass! 


Bordering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, Haslemere is a lovely market town, and one thing that makes us different is our annual animal artwork project. Have you heard of the Haslemere Hogs or the Haslemere Hares? Well, this year, it’s time for the Haslemere Hounds! And here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, we’re delighted to be taking part again in the 2019 round of this annual animal artwork project for charity.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this project, it’s now in its third year and takes place in and around Haslemere. Here’s an overview of how it started and what it’s all about.

Brian Howard MBE, former Mayor of Haslemere honoured by the Queen for services to the community, thought up the project to help local charities. The idea is to fundraise through the purchase, painting and display of various animal models. Back in 2017 in its inaugural year, we painted Hogs and the project raised £35,000 – last year, the Hares raised over £50,000! Can 2019 go bigger again? We certainly hope so.

The Huntington & Langham Estate has supported this project each year and this year, we have painted Lady Langham and Huntington Hound! People living and working here on the Estate worked together to come up with the themes and decorate the models – what do you think?

The Hounds are all being decorated now, ready to be displayed from May to September – they will then be auctioned off with the proceeds going to a variety of local charities, which is absolutely brilliant for the area. Keep an eye out for them in Haslemere and the surrounding villages as you’ll be able to spot not only our two creations but many others!

Thank you to Brian for 35 years and counting of ‘selfless service’ to the town – we couldn’t be prouder of our care home in Haslemere being a part of this wonderful charitable project and hope to continue to participate for many years to come. Our only question is, what will the next animal be?

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Care Home
2nd April

A great reputation for care in Surrey

Here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, we’re incredibly grateful for every single review of our homes, whether it’s from someone who lives here, a family member or friend, a member of the team or anyone else who pops in!

Recently, the husband of a lady living here described Langham Court as ‘probably the best home in the area, country even, for dementia care’ – we are so thankful for this kind comment and are proud to have made somebody feel so confident in the care we provide for their loved one. It made us start thinking about how lucky we are to live and work in such a wonderful place, surrounded by acres of beautiful countryside, so we wanted to share our thoughts with you.

Right on the edge of Surrey near the border of Hampshire, our residential & nursing and dementia care homes in Hindhead are ideally located to travel up into London or down to the coast, meaning we can offer all sorts of opportunities for exciting days out. We’re also easily accessible for those looking for expert residential, nursing and dementia care in Surrey for a loved one, as we’re located just off the A3 by the Hindhead Tunnel, right by the charming villages of Bramshott, Grayshott, Grayswood and Liphook, as well as the town of Haslemere.

In fact, people travel all the way from places such as Basingstoke, Winchester, Crawley, Farnborough, Horsham, Leatherhead and Guildford for our expert nursing and residential care in Hindhead, and even further afield for our specialist dementia care here in Surrey, including from London, Hampshire and Sussex.

It’s a real team effort to make these homes what they are and to provide award-winning residential, dementia and nursing care in Surrey. We have people who travel from far and wide to help us provide such a wonderful service for the people who call the Huntington & Langham Estate their home, and we hope this shows how much people enjoy working here.

We endeavour to make life as exciting and fulfilling as possible for the people living here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, so we appreciate how lucky we are to have all sorts of attractions nearby to visit; Winkworth Arboretum, Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl, and Hollycombe Steam to name a few of our favourites. As part and parcel of our residential, nursing and dementia care in Hindhead, everyone living here is provided with the opportunity to partake in a wide variety of activities and we also organise all sorts of entertainment here in our purpose-built home.

We have consistently high review scores on carehome.co.uk and are proud to have high ratings from the CQC too, with the Care Quality Commission being the independent regulator of health and social care in England. When it comes to finding the right residential, nursing or dementia care in Surrey for you or someone you love, there are so many factors to consider, but hopefully recommendations from real people who know all about our expert residential, nursing and dementia care in Surrey will help to make that decision a little easier.

To read more about what people think of the Huntington & Langham Estate, visit carehome.co.uk and have a look at the reviews on our Facebook page. If you like what you read, we would love to hear from you – get in touch by clicking on our Contact page. We would love to show you around the Huntington & Langham Estate, so feel free to pop in to see our homes and meet the team.

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The MD's musings
Granny Skills
4th March

Creating connections - that's what it's all about

I recently came across a lady who calls herself Granny Skills, and who is on a mission to preserve the skills, knowledge and traditions of her elders. There has certainly been a resurgence in 'granny skills' recently, and she alone has written five books on the subject and has tens of thousands of followers on social media.

Yet here we are, seeing the same elderly people who have these skills suffering from loneliness and boredom, often developing depression as a result. Yes, care homes help combat some of this with their communal living and 24/7 staff, but there's so much more that could be being done.

It's all very well having people around but unless you have connections with those people you can still feel lonely. I moved to London when I was younger and hated it – I lasted six months. I was surrounded by people but have never felt so lonely. I didn't know anyone, or maybe more importantly, no-one knew me.

Care homes can be similar. With the majority of interactions being with people who are paid to look after you, it can be tricky to break down that 'us and them' barrier and form meaningful relationships. When you need help with intimate personal care, you'd be forgiven for not wanting to invite the carers to sit down and have dinner with you afterwards. Likewise, carers are often encouraged to remain professional and not blur the lines between their personal lives. Our Butterfly Model of care, however, promotes 'attached professionalism', which encourages the people who live and work here to be real with each other – to share their lives with each other.

I might have never known that Mrs Coley (who lives at Huntington House) made lace – she keeps herself to herself, like many of her generation – but I just happened to mention that my daughter, Rose, had started learning to sew and we struck up a conversation. One thing led to another and Mrs Coley invited Rose to come and see her lace-making in action. I'm not sure Rose quite has the patience to make lace yet (she's only four years old!) but when she spotted her name on one of the commemorative bobbins in Mrs Coley's collection, she was so excited.

We've arranged to get together again so Rose can bring in her own sewing to show Mrs Coley, and I think they're both as excited as each other about it. I might be biased, but in my opinion, these inter-generational connections are the way forward for adult social care. Whether it's Ben, a Duke of Edinburgh volunteer, playing the piano for Mr Southgate, a former jazz musician, or Helen, a Greek national working as a laundry assistant, listening to Mrs Bond, a WWII survivor, recount stories of how she narrowly missed being bombed while on 'lookout' in Bath, the connections are always mutually beneficial.

The key is creating opportunities for these connections – a positive staff culture, volunteer visits, and liaising with local schools and nurseries etc. – and enabling them to happen as part of everyday life in a care home. It is often group activities such as quizzes and bingo that are considered the key to tackling loneliness, but while they will always have their place, I believe we should be tapping into the potential of each individual interaction to make people feel truly befriended.

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The MD's musings
Meet Shelley
25th February

Meet Shelley, one of the newest additions to the Huntington & Langham family

A parrot who wasn't shy of using the F-word and a cat with a sixth sense for when someone was close to the end of their life are just a couple of the pets I remember living with people at Huntington House over the years. Sadly, we couldn't keep the parrot (I couldn't understand why at the time - I must have been about six years old and didn't understand the swearing), but I believe it is still behind the scenes at Birdworld to this day.

So, Shelley, the friendliest Bearded Collie you've ever met, is an absolute delight to look after in Langham Court. Since Langham Court opened in 2013, we've had a couple of resident cats, but Shelley is the first dog and is already making friends with Basil, the hairdresser's sausage dog (who incidentally used to belong to someone living in Huntington House).

Shelley was subject to a pre-admission assessment and is currently on her probation period to ensure she settles in and gets on with everyone, but so far, so good! If she isn't found lying in the lounge next to the fire (not a real one - but she doesn't have to know that), she'll be out walking around the grounds with her owner, Carol, or any one of the staff who all but queue up to take her out.

When I first met Shelley and Carol, we ended up chatting about my own dog, a six-year-old black Labrador, Poppy, who is still so excitable she often gets confused for being a puppy. Carol said I should bring her in to meet Shelley. I told her that the last time I tried that, within the first 30 seconds of being in the building, she wrapped herself around the cable to the computer monitor on the reception desk and nearly destroyed the place. Maybe in a couple more years, she said. I thought even that sounded optimistic, but I agreed, in principle.

Like with every aspect of life in a care home, risk assessments and common sense need to be exercised at all times, and we were a tad concerned when a recent enquirer had a pet pig that lived in the house (and then a bit disappointed to learn that it belongs to another family member and wouldn't be moving in after all), but we have never had a blanket 'no pets' policy like many care homes do.

There has long been an understanding of the benefits of pets to people's wellbeing and the sense of purpose it brings to be able to continue to look after pets when perhaps you are unable to look after yourself or have lost elements of your own independence, but these benefits are often not considered to outweigh the risks, such as infections, allergies, and trips/falls.

However, our model of care is based on the understanding that 'Feelings matter most' and that a positive risk taking philosophy can minimise risks while also ensuring that people can retain aspects of their life that are important to them, even when they have to move into a care home - it's care without compromise.

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Young and old play
14th February

Here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, age really is just a number

Many people think that care homes are just for the older generation – but they couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, if you tried to work out the average age of people who walk through our doors, you’ll probably find that it’s around 30! Let us explain…

Here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, we’re here to provide expert care for those in need of a helping hand in our homes. But one other key thing that we focus on is community. That includes sponsoring local events, supporting local businesses and building great relationships with local schools.

That’s why you’ll quite often see local children laughing, learning and playing here in our homes, and we love seeing our residents thrive when spending time with the youngest generation. Our links with local schools bring so many benefits to the people who live here, and we believe this quality time is a key part of our residents being able to lead truly fulfilling lives. In our eyes, it’s something every care home should consider if they’re not already.

We are lucky enough to have great links with fabulous schools. The children come in every week and fill the home with much laughter, along with a unique energy, spirit and openness that’s so refreshing. They don’t see wheelchairs, they don’t see dementia and they don’t see age – they simply experience fun, connections, friendships and cake!

We have had a strong relationship with St. Edmund’s School in Hindhead for over 30 years and over the past 18 months or so, we have been lucky enough to host their reception classes here in our home. Every week in term time, the school’s reception pupils come along to learn, and our residents love having them here. The class alternates between our two homes, and the children usually spend time singing, chatting with our residents, reading books and getting stuck in with arts and crafts, and we also have all sorts of fun things like dressing-up boxes and games. The teachers bring in everything needed to hold each class here, but mostly, it’s about letting the children completely be themselves in the company of our residents.

This is what Karen Bailey, Head of Early Years at St. Edmund’s School, has to say about holding classes here in our home: “The relationship between the two generations is something truly special that just happens naturally. Our visits link young and old through play, giving us a greater understanding and appreciation of another generation that we may not otherwise have regular contact with. The children cannot wait to see their friends every week.”

More recently, we have welcomed the children from PK Preschool. They visit us once a month with their parents to sing, draw, read and play games. The interaction is a delight to see and most importantly, the experience is beneficial to both young and old.

If you are connected to a local school or nursery in the Grayshott area and would like to get involved, we’re always keen to build new relationships; we believe this quality time here in our home is just as beneficial for children as it is for the people who live here, so why not get in touch? There’s nothing quite like seeing these two generations come together and it really does show that age is just a number.

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The MD's musings
Snowy landscape
5th February

There's no business like snow business...

I used to have a love-love relationship with snow. Now it's more love-stress. As an organisation, we've always offered lifts to our staff in our 4x4 in adverse weather, but with constantly increasing staffing numbers and the company's 7-seater 4x4 in the middle of a repair job last week, the snow presented a particular logistical challenge this time.

With around 50 staff on duty over 24 hours and nearly 10 different shift changes across the various departments, it meant driving for the best part of 18 hours on Friday. Throw a couple of fallen trees into the mix, which blocked our drive, and it was probably a 20-hour shift for our stoic maintenance team.

Short of giving them an actual medal and thanking them on bended knee, I'm not quite sure how we can recognise such a valiant effort. Overtime rate and a box of biscuits doesn't seem enough for the role they played in keeping everyone safe and sound.

Perhaps listening to them about how we can improve things for next time, and putting a more robust strategy in place that doesn't rely so heavily on one or two vehicles and people is the kindest thing to do.

During my last driving shift on Saturday evening I was contemplating what takeaway I was going to pick up on my way home only to find our local village had turned into a ghost town. The takeaways and even the off-licence had closed early. And then the responsibility of our situation really struck me.

We can never simply shut our doors and close for the day. A nurse half an hour late for their shift could delay a time-specific medication for someone with Parkinson's disease. And being short of care staff could put someone recovering from a stroke at risk of a pressure sore and infection.

By Sunday morning, everyone managed to make it to and from work under their own steam, for which I was extremely grateful, and remember thinking that I'll never take people simply turning up for work for granted again! Times like these really highlight what an amazing team we have, and how fortunate we are to have people working for us who put other people before themselves.

So, all that was left to do was spread some salt one last time before tentatively checking the weather forecast to make sure the temperature was indeed due to stay above zero for the foreseeable. Long may it last.

All the best,

Charlie

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The MD's musings
Blindfolded role play
1st February

Seeing the world of care through new eyes

Blindfolded role play. Perhaps not the first thing you'd associate with a care home. But it's something that happens quite regularly here at the Huntington & Langham Estate.

A lot of our training for staff focuses on empathy, and when asked what empathy means to them, the answer is often "putting yourself in someone else's shoes".

This is great in principle, but not so easy in practice given that our team members have never lived in a care home, permanently lost their independence or been at the end of their life.

Role play can temporarily immerse you into a life unknown. It can create unexpected feelings and highlight aspects of life we didn't realise we took for granted.

I once went to a 'Dining in the Dark' restaurant and spat out a perfectly edible salad leaf covered in dressing as it felt like I'd put a slug in my mouth. I felt an unexpected vulnerability - my mind went into a state of panic with each mouthful after that salad leaf.

The main benefit of role play is that it takes you out of your comfort zone and into a place where it's so easy to feel as though you're no longer in control. Whether it's being assisted to eat, walk, dress, wash, or whatever, being the other side of the care helps staff to realise how fine the line is between enabling and disabling.

Is there too much food on the fork? Am I giving the next mouthful too soon? Have I explained what it is? If you're helping someone to eat and not asking yourself these questions then I'd suggest it's time to don the blindfold.

Charlie

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Day Care
28th January

A warm, welcoming Day Centre offering fun and friendship

The Day Centre here at the Huntington & Langham Estate has gone from strength to strength over the past 18 months and continues to offer all sorts of activities for everyone. During the summer months, we spent a great deal of time outside tending to the high raised beds – we were growing lettuce and beetroot that was later enjoyed as fresh filling for ham and salad rolls, which were both made and eaten by those attending the Day Centre.

We had a wonderful year here in 2018, with highlights including our brilliant tea dance in the summer, our day trip to Hayling Island, complete with fish & chips and ice cream, regular performances from Kevin the pianist and weekly visits from the children at St. Edmund’s School. We finished off the year by putting together shoebox gifts for members of the community, packed with all sorts of Christmas goodies, including biscuits, sweets, Christmas decorations, soup tins and an invitation to join us for afternoon tea and entertainment here at Langham Court – and we then held a Christmas party and carol concert to draw 2018 to an end.

We currently have vacancies for the Day Centre on both Tuesdays and Thursdays – if you would like to book a place, please contact Vee Hey on 01428 606 143. Sessions run from 10:30am until 3:30pm, costing just £55 per day, and include a wide variety of activities along with a three-course meal, refreshments and homemade cakes.

If you’d like to come and see the Day Centre for yourself before committing to come along, we’re pleased to announce that we’re holding an Open Day on Tuesday 19th February from 11am until 3pm, and we’d love to see you there to answer any questions you may have and show you around.

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The MD's musings
Manicure
18th January

A manicure with real meaning

This is Mrs Malcolm, or Lesley, as she insists on being called, in preference to her given name; Patricia. Like her name, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Lesley.

She is a model. She would say "was a model" but you only have to chat to her for a minute, as I did while she was having her nails done today, to realise she still is a model.

She may not be wearing the latest Yves Saint Laurent creation or jetting off to Paris for a photo shoot, but looking fabulous and paying meticulous attention to the detail of her nails is still as important to her as it ever was.

I must admit, I felt a little sorry for Kelly, being put through her manicure paces and having to ensure Lesley's nails were identical in length, but she was loving it. After all, Kelly had offered to help Lesley with it, recognising how important it was to her, and quite frankly, how often do you get to converse with someone who moved in those circles?

Sure, you might be thinking 'what's the big deal, people have their nails done all the time', and you're right, I haven't chosen this as an example of something that wouldn't happen in other care homes. I just wonder how many carers would see it as an opportunity to transport that person to a time in their life when they had their biggest sense of purpose, and make them realise that they are still that same person?

Lesley is still a model in our eyes, and in that moment she was in her own eyes too.

We provide this kind of meaningful occupation not to prevent people from being bored or lonely (a game of Scrabble might have achieved that), but to empower people to feel like themselves again.

Charlie Hoare – Managing Director, family member and capturer of photos and moments

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Virtual Reality Headset
28th November

The WayBack: challenging dementia with virtual reality

A few years ago, a group of friends decided to team up on a Kickstarter project after seeing their loved ones face Alzheimer’s. They came up with the idea to use virtual reality to trigger happy memories, helping those living with this cruel disease as well as their family members and friends. They called it The WayBack, as sometimes the best way forward is to go WayBack!

Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the biggest health challenge this country faces, costing more than cancer or heart disease?

Alzheimer’s affects our ability to remember, understand and communicate and often leads to severe memory loss and the inability to recognise friends or family members, which is heartbreaking to see.

At some point, this disease will inevitably affect everyone’s lives. We see this first-hand every day at the Huntington & Langham Estate and although we provide support and reassurance to the people who live here and their loved ones where we can, people often feel vulnerable and helpless.

Virtual reality offers a way to go further, which is why we were delighted when we were asked to be involved in this pioneering project, putting new technology to good use and helping to improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s.

The initial stage of the Kickstarter project saw the team ask for help to get the concept off the ground, and incredibly, 230 backers pledged £35,040 to help bring this project to life.

What an amazing achievement! Congratulations to all those involved.

It really was incredible to be involved in such a pioneering project and we can’t wait to see the impact The WayBack will inevitably have on dementia care, both here at the Huntington & Langham Estate and in homes across the country and further afield.

Here’s to the next chapter of this incredible idea that’s sure to change lives, for the better. With the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 already covered, plus England’s World Cup victory in 1966 and the 1969 Apollo landings in the pipeline, what significant event in modern history will we be watching through our virtual reality headsets next? Whatever it is, we hope we can help by testing it out here in our home.

Visit thewaybackvr.com to find out more and to download the free WayBack app.

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Award presentation
20th November

Another award recognising Langham’s exceptional care

Remember, remember the 8th November…as that’s the night when the high-profile Gala night for the National Dementia Care Awards was held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, hosted by Labour politician, Hazel Blears.

Over 450 guests were in attendance, and we’re proud to say that one of our own was in attendance as she had been nominated for an award – Maggie Cain. For those of you who know Maggie, this will come as no surprise! And for those of you who don’t, you’re more than welcome to visit us at Langham Court anytime and see the positive impact Maggie has on our residents’ lives.

We’re delighted to say that on the night, Maggie was presented with the award for Dementia Care Inspiring Leader 2018, which is an absolutely incredible achievement! This is what the two judges had to say: “Maggie has such a big heart and huge compassion. She inspires the staff by simply being herself – she is a lovely human being. Maggie’s greatest joy is seeing others blossom in a culture of kindness, love and respect…family.”

A bit about the awards

Once a year, the National Dementia Care Awards are held, organised by the Journal of Dementia Care, which is a multidisciplinary journal for all professional staff working with people who are living with dementia. This includes those working in hospitals, nursing and residential care homes, day units and the community.

Created to recognise the very best individuals working within the dementia care sector, the awards are highly coveted, identifying those people whose exceptional work and contributions make better, person-centred care a reality. This year, there were 16 categories, with four or five finalists within each of those categories, and two independent judges carefully choosing the winners.

Maggie’s great achievement

Maggie was nominated for the Dementia Care Inspiring Leader 2018 award by Julie Drake, who is the manager here at Langham Court, and notably the 2017/8 National Dementia Manager of the Year.

In Julie’s words, “Maggie is an inspiration to the whole Langham Court care team. She has the gift of befriending everyone she meets and is a cornerstone of the success of Langham Court. Maggie has been one of the team for over five years and continually works to enrich of the lives of the people living at Langham Court and those of their families.”

As her name was announced at the Gala as the winner, Maggie was completely overwhelmed, mentioning in her acceptance speech how she felt extremely humbled, thanking her wonderful team for their backing. Maggie admitted that she is not very good at self-promotion, preferring to spend her time quietly working behind the scenes and making sure that everyone who lives and works at Langham Court always feel like they are ‘at home’. Maggie’s commitment, energy and passion truly reflect the home’s ethos and we couldn’t be prouder of what she has achieved.

To experience Langham Court for yourself, please do get in touch – we would love to hear from you and are always happy to help.

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Box folding
15th November

The Huntington & Langham Christmas Box Project

Here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, we’re taking part in this year’s Christmas Box Project to help those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s a community project that has been set up to help elderly residents in our towns and villages who live alone, as they may not receive any other presents this Christmas, and a box of goodies from us will give them something nice to unwrap.

It’s a nice gesture to make sure everyone has something this Christmas. It’s also a wonderful project for those attending our day centre to focus on, and it has been great seeing them all work together to make, fill and wrap the many boxes we have put together.

Who’s involved in the project?

The readers of the local Messenger group of newspapers fill shoeboxes with lots of lovely Christmas-themed items, then the boxes are delivered across the area in conjunction with local Age Concern groups, church projects, Petersfield Salvation Army, local hospitals, nursing homes and to individual people in the community who we believe live alone.

It really is a fantastic project to help local people; now in its fourth year, it comes back bigger and better each time. Last year, with the help of readers and local businesses, over 1,000 boxes were gifted to the elderly residents of our town and beyond.

What’s in the H&L boxes?

Inside each of the boxes we’ve been making, filling and wrapping here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, we have included a personal invitation to two free concerts being held right here in early 2019. We have also included a handmade Christmas decoration in each box, together with some delicious edible items, such as biscuits and other sweet treats, crackers and custard, soup and steamed sponge puddings! Hopefully our boxes will put smiles on the faces of those who receive them – and we really look forward to seeing each of them in the new year for our concerts.

If you would like to get involved in our day centre’s antics, please do get in touch by calling 01428 606 143 or by emailing us at langham@hlestate.co.uk – we would love to see you here at our Day Centre sometime.

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Care Home Exercise
25th October

In our home, we offer a pioneering alternative to traditional care home life

Before Langham Court opened in 2013, we spent a lot of time researching which model of care to follow, and one approach stood out above the rest. This was the ‘Butterfly’ model, which we saw as the most intuitive approach. It reflected our family ethos here at the Huntington & Langham Estate too, so we decided to follow it from day one.

At the time, there were only a handful of ‘Butterfly’ homes, but now with more homes on board and to positive impact of this model of care so clear to see, we’re so pleased we made the decision back in 2013 – the impact it has on our residents’ lives is evident. We’re proud to be part of the top 1% of UK care homes, with a CQC rating of ‘Outstanding’, but things are about to get even better.

We’re delighted to announce that here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, we’re pioneering a brand-new model of care in both our homes on behalf of Dementia Care Matters, who developed the ‘Butterfly’ model. We’re piloting this new, ground-breaking project to challenge the traditional nursing home model that exists in most care homes across the UK by breaking down barriers that often exist between staff and residents and doing away with service-led routines and language.

Where did the model come from?

For over 20 years, the team at Dementia Care Matters have been paving the way for modern dementia care with their ‘Feelings Matter Most’ approach. Dr David Sheard, who founded it all, said: “We applaud Huntington House for being pioneers. Implementing the best ideas from Butterfly Homes across the whole care sector is the next transformation needed in the UK. All Care Matters.”

This unique model is a huge success in Canada already, and has appeared on front pages of newspapers and on national TV. What emerged from the success of the Butterfly Model was how obvious it was that its core values aren’t just relevant to dementia care, but all care. That’s why, with a potentially revolutionary impact on the care industry, Dr Sheard is adapting the original Butterfly Model to do just that.

Dr Sheard commented, “Feelings Matter Most in life whether you have dementia or not. Emotional care should be at the heart of all care. Butterfly Homes have proven quality of life in dementia care is a basic human right. The mission of Dementia Care Matters is to be a disruptor of all poor care. The essence of great dementia care can now be a model of care for everyone. Culture change across a whole care home enables everyone to flourish.”

Dementia Care Matters at the Huntington & Langham Estate

We have seen first-hand on our Estate how the Dementia Care Matters model works, and we have even won awards for it. Julie Drake, our dedicated Home Manager, won the Best Manager Award at the National Dementia Care Awards 2018 for all that she has done here. We are also finalists at the 2018 National Dementia Care Awards for Best Activities. And it’s all thanks to how we have changed our approach by following Dr Sheard’s advice. You really can see the difference in our residents’ lives, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re so pleased that this approach can now be adopted in Huntington as well as Langham.

A bit more about the ‘All Care Matters’ model

The ‘All Care Matters’ model essentially aims to truly put the ‘home’ into nursing homes and give the people who live in them a voice. When the residents were consulted about their feelings towards taking part in this pioneering project, one person said: “You’re not going to change the marmalade, are you?” Charlie replied, “You will be able to have whatever marmalade you would like.”

While the topic of marmalade may seem trivial to some, the ‘All Care Matters’ model appreciates that the little things in life are important and are a huge factor in making a place feel like home. While one person might have thick-cut marmalade, another might have thin, and someone else might choose to make their own. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’, and in the extreme, each person might have a completely personalised menu for each meal that reminds them of their cherished childhood memories.

What we hope to achieve

Much of the stigma attached to nursing homes is fear of losing that all-important independence and having decisions made for you. As a minimum, the ‘All Care Matters’ model will enable residents to be more independent again by re-engaging people in their own decision-making. As a maximum, it could mean an even more fulfilling life for those living in a nursing home than living in their own homes! To find out more, please do come and see us here at the Huntington & Langham Estate, where we can show you around and answer any questions you may have about All Care Matters and how it has the power to transform residents’ lives.

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Pony
17th August

'Ponies inspiring people' – opening minds and healing hearts

You’ll probably know already if you’ve visited us, but we’re big on animals here at the Huntington & Langham Estate. In fact, it used to be home to a feisty and independent pony named Braveheart. Braveheart came from the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, and when he was here on the Estate in Surrey, he clearly missed his home in Dartmoor.

Braveheart didn’t settle very well, and he tried to escape a few times, eventually managing to break through fencing. The difficult decision was finally made to take Braveheart back to the DPHT, where initially his future was unknown – a rather grumpy pony doesn’t tend to make many friends! However, Dru from DPHT and her team never gave up on Braveheart, and he is now the leader of the pack when it comes to working with young people at the organisation.

The DPHT has built a strong reputation for courses for young people with challenging behaviour and disabilities, with Dartmoor ponies the stars of the show. Their aim is to create opportunities for young people to meet their full potential by providing them with a set of social and emotional skills that will allow them to participate more effectively in everyday life – this could potentially help them to move into long-term employment. At the DPHT, they offer a flexible range of proven courses for students facing challenges such as anger management, lack of self-esteem and confidence, attention and behaviour deficits, disaffection and personal development.

It may seem like an unusual approach but forming a relationship with a pony actually helps young people to build trust ad also develop a bond of mutual empathy, as well as learning to face their fears and develop respect and compassion. Additionally, communication skills, self-confidence, coping techniques and self-esteem improve at the same time, which are vital for dealing with many aspects of everyday life.

Testimonial: “The work by Dru and DPHT is most likened to ‘Equine Facilitated Learning’ (EFL), an intervention that utilises horses to teach people about themselves in the hope of bringing about positive change via the learning of skills, although the inclusion of wild Dartmoor ponies offers a variation to the normal protocol. Participants seem to form a bond with both Dru and the ponies, which allows them to receive constructive feedback in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way so that the participants can come to know themselves better and witness how their actions can have consequences. Skills learnt are said to include teamwork and social skills, trust and motivation, which in turn contribute to the building of self-esteem whilst improving empathy, effective ways of managing feelings and developing greater self-awareness, all important social and emotional skills.” Dawn Chaplin and Katy Hurworth – Final Year BSc (Hons) Psychology Undergraduates, Plymouth University

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table restoration
17th July

Plenty of projects to get stuck in with at day care

At day care here at Langham Court, we organise a wide range of activities for people to get involved with, such as singing, quizzes, baking, gardening, music and movement, arts and crafts, and even DIY – recently, we’ve been doing a spot of upcycling!

Upcycling is a very popular activity, and it encourages people to work together – and better yet, it doesn’t end when a project’s over, as the nest of tables you can see being sanded down in this photo will take pride of place in Langham Court when they’re finished. That means that once the tables are complete, we can all sit back, admire and even use our finished work.

In one of the photos, two gentlemen are sanding the largest of the tables, preparing the surface for the next stage, which will be a much-needed coat of paint. The plan thereafter is to decoupage the top of the table and finally, finish it off with a coat of varnish. Projects like this are a great way of empowering people and giving them a sense of achievement.

We also take great pleasure in growing our own vegetables, and the other photo shows two of our gentlemen busy preparing the soil for the lettuces and beetroot we grew. We then put the homegrown lettuce in freshly made rolls with ham and cheese! Everyone was encouraged to make their own rolls up, which made every bite taste even better. Now we just need to decide what to grow next!

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Day Care
1st June

Transitioning into day care – taking the time to trust our team

Making the decision to come along to Langham Court for day care is a big deal, as there can be many different health, mobility or confidence barriers to overcome before stepping out the door to come and join in the fun – but once you’ve arrived at the Huntington & Langham Estate, you’ll be so glad you did.

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