June 2024 Newsletter from the H&L Estate

Like many families we are getting ready for the school holidays and planning a series of activities, days out and trips away to entertain the children.  At this time of year we are often contacted by local families who have a family member living with Dementia, for advice about suitable activities to all enjoy together, so have shared this in our latest website article.

June has been a wonderful month with the warmer weather, everyone is delighted to be able to spend time around our grounds with family and friends.

Meaningful Moments (3)

 

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May 2024 Newsletter from the H&L Estate

Our focus throughout May has been supporting Dementia Action Week, which is a cause very close to our hearts.   Involving our residents from Langham Court was an important part of this event and they did a great job of finding nostalgic items at a local car boot sale for the Sensory Trail, which we held around the Estate.

Being part of the wider Greyshott community is also important to us all here at H&L and we had a wonderful day meeting old and new friends at this years village Fete.  Some less welcome visitors to Huntington House this month, was a swarm of honey bees who took residence in my office ceiling, before being safely moved to a new hive in the garden!

For anyone at the beginning of their journey of moving into residential care, we know it can be overwhelming when it comes to the subject of finances, so have compiled a useful guide to funding options, which is detailed below and available on the website

Sensory trail for Dementia action week

 

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April 2024 Newsletter from the H&L Estate

We are delighted to share the news of the recent renovation of what is now one of the largest rooms in Huntington House, complete with wet room and views across the valley, included this month is a virtual tour, where I share some of the history of this part of Huntington House.

What a wonderful day trip in April The sun shone and it was warm enough for ice creams during our historical trip to see Arundel Castle!  The gardens are looking fabulous with tulips in abundance for the annual festival. Everyone enjoyed seeing the glorious colours in the gardens and the stunning castle.

Meaningful Moments

 

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A virtual tour of our new room in Huntington House.

Take a virtual tour of this newly refurbished room in Huntington House 

This newly refurbished room has been converted into one of the largest rooms in Huntington House, with plenty of space so that the layout can be flexible, depending on the preferences of the resident, with space for any furniture they wish to bring with them to make it feel like home.

Situated in an interesting part of the Victorian building, the room has high ceilings and low windows on the first floor. It once had a vaulted ceiling for the ballroom downstairs, with the organ set against the wall and gallery area to watch the dances below.

With views across the golden valley which is a National Trust woodland in the distance, with the horses grazing in the fields beyond. Perfect for watching the changing seasons.

The newly refurbished room also includes an en-suite wet room and certainly worth coming to take a tour in person.

Intergenerational Easter at the Estate

Easter at The Huntington & Langham Estate was eventful, kicked off with a special delivery of carefully handcrafted cards from the children at St John’s Infant School in Churt. Colourful and creative, the cards started many a conversation about the meaning of Easter, signs of Spring, finger painting, and of course how much everyone enjoys chocolate!

Easter cards

Managing Director Charlie Hoare, who attended St John’s Infant School himself over 30 years ago, said: “it was lovely seeing the residents reminded of their own childhood through the interactions with the children from St John’s. Indeed, it reminded me of my own! Everyone enjoys a bit of reminiscence. It brings a gratitude for having experienced that chapter of our lives.”

Easter fun

Residents spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the Lindt chocolate bunnies gifted by the Hoare family, taking part in an egg hunt, and catching up with family.

Other Spring events coming up on the Estate include a Eukele concert, a visit from Haslemere Museum, and trike rides around the grounds with Cycling Without Age.

Sing along

The Estate will also be opening up their grounds to the public with a dementia-friendly sensory trail on Saturday 18th May (10am-4pm) as part of Dementia Action Week.

March Newsletter from the H&L Estate

When we first opened Langham Court, one resident commented that it was wonderful to feel of some use, and it has really stayed with me and remains at the heart of what we do across the Estate. Within Langham Court, The Butterfly Approach embeds this into our care culture.

Throughout March there have been great examples of the varied ways in which the team embrace the benefits of empowering our residents to not only regain confidence through the meaningful experiences we have shared, but embrace new skills and share in fun times together.

march news

 

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Flower power at our Dementia care home

We often associate dementia with memory loss, but it can be the loss of confidence that comes with the symptoms of dementia that has the biggest impact on people. Having to be reminded of your own children’s names, realising you are repeating yourself, and needing support with daily life can have a huge knock-on effect to your self-worth.

However, we use empowerment to re-establish people’s sense of purpose. At Langham Court we tap into the skills of the people living and working there to ensure everyone has the opportunity to contribute to their community.

One of our carers happens to also be a florist, so rather than simply buying a bouquet for someone’s birthday or to welcome a new resident, she will bring in flowers for people to arrange for the same purpose, making the gift of giving even more special for all.

Flower Power

Seeing the fruits of their labour being enjoyed and appreciated by others helps these budding florists to feel appreciated.

Managing Director, Charlie Hoare, says “When we first opened Langham Court, one resident commented that it was wonderful to feel of some use, and it has really stayed with me and remains at the heart of what we do”. Langham Court uses a care model called The Butterfly Approach to embed this into our care culture,

You can find more information about the butterfly approach here

February Newsletter from the H&L Estate

Our team have done us all proud yet again, demonstrating how we will always go above and beyond, in the care we provide. 

This month for example, with the weather being so wet, they have invested time in creating activities including our Valentines Day party and cocktail making class, which always brings out a smile in everyone.

Love in the air

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Respite stays may not work miracles but they can work wonders

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

Growing up in a residential care home

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

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

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

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

The impact of media headlines

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

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

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

Changing perceptions at the School gate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitioning into permanent care through a respite stay

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

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

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

The wider benefits of respite stays

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

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

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

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

A chance to spend quality time together with a loved one

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

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

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

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

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

What you need to know about arranging a Respite stay

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

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

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

A final thought

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

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

Visit The Estate

January Newsletter from the H&L Estate

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

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

Winter Menu

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