Christmas at the Huntington and Langham Estate

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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

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

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

Christmas Shopping

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

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

Birds of Prey visit

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

Small furry animals

Huntington House Residents Christmas party

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

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

Christmas Party Time

Christmas party time Santa visits the Huntington and Langham Estate

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

The H&L Elf Express

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

Christmas Day at Huntington House

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

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

 

Embracing a new chapter moving into Residential Care

During the winter months a topic that can be on the minds of many families with elderly loved ones needing more support, is the decision between a move into a residential care home, versus opting for home care or a live in carer.

The unseen advantages of Residential care

Residential care homes are well known as offering a built-in social circle, ensuring that loneliness takes a backseat. Designed with comfort and safety in mind, we focus on adapting to cater to the specific needs of residents through personalised care plans.

Providing residents with support they may not have at home is a given, plus there is an extra layer of reassurance of having someone on hand 24/7. An unseen advantage is that with all inclusive care, food shopping and preparing meals is all taken care of, with the option of communal dining making mealtimes more enjoyable as a social gathering.

Making the choice between live in care and a care home

At the Huntington and Langham Estate, we often have enquiries from people who have opted to try home care first, before taking the decision to move into a residential home.

For many who just need a little extra help with daily living, home care is a great option especially those who can remain in their own home, a place filled with cherished memories and personal belongings.

One of the main reasons we have found new resident start to consider a permanent move into a Residential setting, is that in-home care usually involves scheduled visits from caregivers at set hours of the day and evening, which don’t always match an individual’s routines. Night times are often when people living alone feel their most vulnerable especially during the winter nights, so if assistance is required outside of these hours, it isn’t immediate in case of emergencies or if unexpected needs arise it can be stressful.

We recently asked a potential resident about why they were planning to make the switch to moving into Huntington House.  For them it was because the home care they had in place often involved the rotation of caregivers, which meant they struggled to build a relationship with them, to understand their personal needs and found they were often rushing to their next appointment and rarely had time to sit down for a chat.

Making a change to your way of living inevitably involves tough decisions to be made and we always advise it’s essential to carefully weigh up any downsides, against the potential benefits with individual preferences in mind, when deciding between home care and other care options. Everyone’s situation is unique, and finding the right balance to ensure personal well-being and happiness is crucial.

How our approach offers the best of both options

We recognise the importance to our residents of maintaining their independence and being able to retain control over their plan for the day, personal care decisions, and lifestyle choices. A sense of autonomy and self-determination is a very important part of the Dragonfly Care approach, as is creating a simulating environment during the day.

We don’t work to a fixed schedule or routine, every day is different for each resident depending how they feel or their personal habits. Our homemaking team go beyond just giving practical assistance, they also provide emotional support and companionship.  We recognise having a familiar face around can alleviate feelings of loneliness and contribute to a positive mental and emotional state.

For anyone who isn’t sure about a permanent move and worry about settling in, we recommend coming to Huntington House for a short trial period of 2 weeks or more, to test us out, try the food, meet your potential new neighbours and explore the Estate – you won’t regret it!

Please free to contact us for more information, or to arrange a visit to the Estate and tour our homes and grounds, please call 01428 604 600

Contact Us

An Unparalleled Residential Care Experience

We are one big happy family (we even have competitive games nights!)

You’d be surprised how many people come to Huntington House for a short burst of respite care and request to return full-time afterwards.

That’s because though many of our residents experience the inevitable ailments which come with age, the buzz and activity in our home mean these ailments are a tiny part of an otherwise full and rich life.

However, back in their own home, former residents can feel unstimulated, bored and palpably alone, and these ailments loom large throughout an otherwise empty day.

No wonder they’re so happy to come back.

An unparalleled care experience

Take a walk through our house or grounds on any given day, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a typical family home.  Listen as you explore, and you’ll hear the friendly (and sometimes cutthroat) competition of group games and the excited chatter of another outing being planned.

Feast your eyes on the beautiful resident-made artwork adorning our walls. Feast your taste buds on our delicious food, served family-style and as tasty to eat as it is nourishing.

Meals at Huntington House

This colourful mosaic of care is possible as Huntington House is family owned and run.  The family feel of our house supports us as we do all we can to gently encourage each resident to live their life as an individual, with the independence, personal freedom and expression they enjoyed while living at home.

Residents build relationships with other residents and our staff, which does wonders for their mental health. We help residents to continue with hobbies they used to love and even to learn new ones, thanks to team members and other residents.

Taking part in hobbies

Our residents have a quality of life that just can’t be replicated in a home care or other care environment.

Yes, we have a beautiful house and splendid grounds, a large, well-trained and loving team and years of caring experience, but what really makes us stand out is our steadfast value of meaningful care – the key tenet of the Dragonfly Approach, which we faithfully follow.

The estate

The Power of Meaningful Care

In traditional care, the day is run along task lines, and care can be perfunctory.  Boxes are ticked off throughout the day – “make the bed”, “give them breakfast”, and “hand out medicine”.  There’s barely time to get to know residents and no time to think about them as people with hopes, dreams and desires.

However, at Huntington House, we understand that our relationships with people, places and things all influence who we are and how we feel.

Our life is made meaningful by relationships which meet our need for love, attachment, belonging and comfort.  These relationships make us feel secure, free and able – helping us to feel at home in ourselves, our bodies and our lives.  This is as true at age ten as it is at age 100+.

When there’s a lack of warm relationships, as can happen in other care environments and at home, it adversely affects mood, mental and physical health and quality of life.

As identified in a recent Age UK report on loneliness, physical and mental health difficulties are key drivers in loneliness and ‘can reduce older people’s ability to participate in community activities and inhibit their ability to maintain or establish meaningful relationships’.

Our residents know that at Huntington House, relationships are everything. We ensure that all residents are “free to be me” and able to create a rich, full, nourishing life.

Meaningful relationships

Believing wholeheartedly in the Dragonfly Approach means we value emotional intelligence, domestic living and respect, and we support every resident, caring about and for the whole person so they can write the next chapter of their story.

Our wonderful team magics this ethos to life. All over our house and grounds, and when we’re out on trips and outings, we bring colour, love and care to each resident’s daily life.  Huntington House is one truly big happy family – arguments about Monopoly and all!

Activities and outings

“She refers to them as ‘friends’, and that includes the staff as well as the people living in the home. It is this blurring which makes Huntington special. She is incredibly fond of them. I love that they will sometimes pop in and suggest going for a walk outside, which she loves. It feels very normal and relaxed rather than doing something to or for her. That’s beyond valuable to her.”  – Family member.

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

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

A visit from Haslemere Museum

As a Dragonfly residential home here at Huntington House, we actively encourage our residents to take an active interest in their hobbies and explore new interests.

We were delighted to welcome the team from Haslemere Museum to Huntington House, to share with our residents a selection of beautiful shells from around the world, fossils and sea creatures.

Haslemere museum Haslemere Museum

Their fossil collection has over 20,000 specimens, mostly from England but with some from around the world including New Zealand, Scandinavia and North America.

Shell collection

Afternoon Tea on the Estate

What better way to enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having this summer, than to host afternoon tea in the shade.

Afternoon tea on the estate

Geoff, Mal and Charlie Hoare were joined by Audrey, Christopher, Lynn and Anne who are residents of Huntington House.

Pimms O'Clock An afternoon in the shadeFamily gathering

As a dragonfly home, we regularly host events and create meaningful moment for our residents to create memories and share time together with our family around the grounds.

With such a sunny and warm afternoon, everyone had a lovely afternoon and enjoyed their delicious homemade cakes, tea and a cheeky glass of pimms, whilst sitting in the shade of the pavilion by the lake.

Our resident taxi service, was on hand to take everyone back home, on a tour through the estate’s extensive grounds.

Huntington House taxi service

A huge thank you goes to our chefs who made the delicious sandwiches and cakes.

7 Simple and Effective Ways to Improve your Mental Health

In testing times, it’s not just our physical health that becomes vulnerable. Our mental health suffers, too, and often we don’t realise it’s happening until negative emotions begin to surface.

In fact, research has shown that on average, mental health has worsened by 8.1% as a result of the covid pandemic, according to The Health Foundation.

 

This means that it’s never been more important to look after our mental health, and that of our loved ones. So, how can we ensure that we’re setting ourselves on the right track?

7 simple and effective ways to improve your mental health today.

 

1. ENJOY THE PRESENT

Living mindfully and savouring the present is one of the best ways to improve our mental health. Reliving painful past experiences, as well as worrying about the future cause unnecessary bouts of anxiety and depression to surface.

As we let our thoughts drift to negative experiences and thoughts, we’re actively bypassing what’s happening in this very moment – a moment you’ll never get back.

The green gym

When you notice your thoughts drifting, try the following steps:

  • Sit in a comfortable position, and close your eyes.
  • Relax your muscles, and pay close attention to what’s going on around you; notice the smells, sounds, and the feel of your clothes against your skin.
  • If it helps, imagine yourself in a peaceful setting – this could be a beach, or a rainforest.
  • If you notice your thoughts beginning to drift, accept them and slowly let them wash away as you bring your attention back to the present.

Trying this mindfulness exercise can help train the mind to focus on the now – something that many of us find difficult to do when we’re surrounded by everyday distractions.

You can adopt this approach during your everyday activities, too. Next time you head out for a walk, try walking in silence for a while and pay close attention to everything you pass; you’ll likely notice things you haven’t before.

 

2. GET THOSE ENDORPHINS FLOWING

Endorphins, our ‘happy’ hormone, are essential to life. They allow us to feel positivity, hope and joyfulness – all of which contribute to a healthy state of mind.

Personalised care

One of the easiest ways to release more of this happy hormone into our internal system is by staying active. You might, for example, try heading out for a brisk walk, or engaging in some stretching activities that promote healthy blood flow.

 

3. FALL IN LOVE WITH THE SMALL THINGS IN LIFE

When we can learn to appreciate the small things, such as the smell of freshly cut grass or the very first sip of fresh coffee in the morning, we create a sense of inner peace and gratitude that others may take for granted.

Residents on the terrace

Since we live in such a fast-paced world, it can take some effort to slow down and find joy in our basic, everyday items/rituals – but doing so transforms our default mental state for the better.

 

4. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Perspective is everything. It shapes the way we see the world, as well as our own individual lives.

If you place a heavy focus on your misfortunes, for example, the world will become a solemn, untrustworthy place to be.

In contrast, if you try to look for the positives in every situation and focus on the good things that happen to you, the world will become a better place in your eyes – and you’ll likely find that your relationships with others will improve, too.

Residential Man Smiling At Camera

 

5. BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR STRENGTHS

Too many of us focus on our weaknesses, forever hoping to improve several aspects of our physical and mental being.

Whilst it’s healthy to have goals, it’s never healthy to place all of our attention on what we can’t do.  Instead, focus on and celebrate your strengths.

Residents kitchen

Perhaps you’re a keen learner who always likes to try new things, or you have an eye for fine art or an expert baker. Whatever it is, be thankful for your innate talent and put it to good use whenever you can.

 

6. ENJOY MORE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS

Strengthening our relationships is an easier task for some than it is for others. However, doing so can have a profound impact on our mental health, giving us more socialising opportunities and the chance to develop deeper bonds.

As humans, we are naturally sociable creatures; we crave the company of others, and when we’re deprived of this, feelings of loneliness tend to surface.

Dragonfly care

Next time you’re feeling like you could benefit from the company of a family or friend, try picking up the phone and giving them a call. Alternatively, you could head out to a local group/club in your community and form new friendships.

 

7. RESTORE YOUR INNER PEACE

Once you have found inner peace, feelings of stress and anxiety will start to melt away. One of the most effective ways you can do this is by learning to forgive.

Forgiveness does not always come easy, and a large part of it depends on circumstance. But what many of us fail to realise is that suppressed anger and resentment for an individual or past event largely contributes to generalised anxiety and stress on an everyday basis.

If you can, try to forgive and let go at least one thing that’s causing you to feel unpleasant emotions. It’s a kind of therapy that we can do to ourselves that brings us mental and emotional relief.

At Huntington and Langham Estate, we support our residents with their physical and mental health through our holistic care approach. From welcoming our new PAT dog to celebrating #GladtoCare Week, we’ve been spreading cheer in abundance.

To find out more about what we’ve been up to, take a look at our social channels. Alternatively, click here to speak to a member of our team.

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.

Why 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.

The importance of emotional wellbeing

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.

The Butterfly model explained

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.

People not residents

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.

No uniforms

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.

“Free to be me”

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.

Learn more about our care

Pet therapy opening minds and hearts

The Estate Ponies are inspiring our residents

You’ll probably know already if you’ve visited us, but we’re big on animals here at the Huntington & Langham Estate.  In fact, the estate used to be home to a feisty and independent pony named Braveheart.

Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust

Braveheart came to us from the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, and when he was here on the Estate in Surrey, he clearly missed his home in Dartmoor. But, 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.

Animal Therapy

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

The Ponies of the Huntington and Langham Estate

Whilst Braveheart may have headed home to Dartmoor, our remaining ponies can be seen by the residents in the fields outside of Huntington House and Langham Court and are a great source of discussion and amusement on walks around the estate.

Horses Around The Estate

Little Charlotte loves to bring her pony on walks with Grandma mal to meet the residents at a weekend.

H&L Ponies

We are always delighted to welcome visitors to the Estate for a tour around the grounds and our homes.  Just get in touch and let us know you are coming and we’ll get the kettle on!