There is much excitement in the air at Larchwood Care Homes across the country thanks to a new online digital wellbeing platform.

We are proud to have partnered with Oomph! The UK’s leading wellbeing business for older adults, to roll out their Oomph On Demand platform to all of our care homes in England, Wales and Scotland.

Oomph On Demand is a welcome addition to the well-established activity programmes at each of our homes. All Larchwood Care Homes have at least one dedicated activity coordinator organising a varied and engaging wellbeing calendar of events each week.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, our residents would enjoy regular visits from community groups, entertainers and fitness instructors, as well as enjoying day trips in the local area. During the last year, these have sadly been put on hold. However, our teams have been innovating with technology to ensure that our residents continue to do the things they love most.

From touring the world on virtual cruises to hosting virtual Christmas parties with relatives via Zoom, technology has been hugely important in keeping everyone active and entertained during lockdown periods.

A New Way to Stay Active

Following the first lockdown of 2020 the Oomph! team launched their innovative Oomph On Demand wellbeing platform brimming with digital content to further enhance the mind, body and soul of care home residents.

Thanks to our partnership, Larchwood Care residents and care teams have a wealth of interactive quizzes, musical performers, exercise classes, virtual escapes, and history documentaries at their fingertips 24/7.

While Oomph On Demand will be great to assist with group activities on large smart TVs, it can also be accessed on a one-to-one basis on our homes’ activity tablets or residents’ own devices whenever they wish.

The platform also comes with an abundance of training and resources to assist our Larchwood Care teams with their activity planning.

Encouraging Engagement With Technology

Lynn Fearn, managing director of Larchwood Care, said: “The Oomph On Demand platform is an exciting addition to our extensive activity plans for the homes. Also, it helps us to encourage our residents to engage with technology more effectively.

“At a time when inviting people into our homes such as intergenerational groups, dance teachers or entertainers is not possible, these on-demand activities will help in keeping our residents stimulated and active. Our homes are usually a hive of activity so it is important that we look at every way we can to continue to enrich the lives of our residents at this time.”

Ben Allen, chief executive of Oomph Wellness, said: “I am delighted that Oomph! will be partnering with Larchwood Care on the launch of our new digital wellbeing platform – Oomph! On Demand. Oomph! On Demand provides a wide range of expertly created wellbeing content all in one easy to navigate platform. I am so pleased we can offer this resource to care teams and residents at Larchwood Care Homes, that will enhance meaningful engagement 7 days a week.”

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With Christmas just around the corner, we wanted to take the time to share some news from Larchwood Care Homes across the United Kingdom. 

Following another difficult few months of varying visiting restrictions across all of our homes, we are proud to say that our teams have continued to ensure our residents are well cared for and continue to enjoy fulfilling lives.

Creative Thinking

The creativity of our staff is something that has really shone through during the pandemic. They have worked hard to come up with new things for our residents to enjoy while also adapting old favourites. Summer fundraising events are something we look forward to each year, welcoming relatives and friends into our gardens for fetes and BBQs to raise money for the residents’ fund. While these events have not been able to go ahead this year, our homes have looked to other innovative ways to fundraise. In this newsletter, you’ll read how one home called on some established names from the world of literature and film to help them raise funds.

Remembrance Goes Ahead

Remembrance commemorations are hugely important to many residents in our homes. With the usual remembrance events cancelled across the country this year, Larchwood Care teams put their thinking caps on once again to ensure our residents could continue to mark this occasion in a safe way. From knitting fundraisers to in-home services lead by staff members and stunning handmade memorials, you’ll find out how they ensured remembrance could still go ahead.

Awards and Recognition

We’ve also taken some time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our Larchwood Care teams with our Staff Recognition Week. A week dedicated to thanking staff for all they have done during this challenging year to keep our residents safe. In this edition, you’ll read how they celebrated and how their hard work has been recognised with a prestigious industry award nomination!

You can download the Autumn/Winter 2020 edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter by clicking here.

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Staff at Avonbridge Care Home in Hamilton have surprised their residents by redecorating the walls at the home with a brand-new mural.

The staff decided to create the mural depicting a typical Scottish high-street after overhearing residents talk about their desire to go shopping in the local town centre once lockdown restrictions allow.

The brightly coloured mural features shops, hairdressers, cafés, grocery stores, and even a post office. The staff also included a variety of colourful nature scenes in the mural, such as cherry blossom trees and flowers.

The mural sparked a number of conversations amongst residents about their favourite shops, their favourite high street buildings and the places they’re most looking forward to visiting when restrictions allow.

Familiar Sights

The murals featured at the Care Home in Hamilton are specially designed to bring comfort to those living with dementia. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, these familiar sights have been a welcome addition for everyone.

Moira Buchanan, one of the residents at Avonbridge, said that she thinks the mural is gorgeous. She loves the bright colours and the feeling that she has everything she is used to seeing on her doorstep.

At Larchwood Care, it is important to us that our residents feel connected to the local community, especially during these difficult times. Reminding them about comforts, such as visiting the local shops, is just one example of the ways that our teams go the extra mile to ensure that our residents live happy, fulfilled, and stimulated lives.

Our homes have dedicated activities teams that work hard to create a varied programme featuring our residents’ favourite pastimes. Our teams also endeavour to provide our residents with new opportunities and experiences to find things that they enjoy.

 

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As we head towards Autumn, we are delighted to deliver the latest edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter. Despite visiting restrictions, our teams have worked hard to ensure our residents have enjoyed a fun-packed summer.

With plenty of sunny days over the last few months, our residents have been able to make the most of our gardens, with many able to welcome loved ones for Safe Outside Visits.

In this edition of Larchwood Life, you will discover how we have been improving many of our outside spaces, keeping residents in touch with local communities and reminiscing with the silver screen.

The Great Outdoors

We love to see our residents relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors. That is why we have been working hard to improve the gardens at Larchwood Care Homes. Residents have enjoyed getting involved in these projects and getting hands-on with the planting. You’ll learn how we have been ensuring these spaces are accessible for all, with sensory elements to enhance the experience for those with dementia.

Getting Creative

At Larchwood Care, we are incredibly proud of the creativity and determination of our teams. Not only has the coronavirus pandemic presented many challenges around keeping residents in touch with loved ones, but it has also meant that we are not able to invite our residents’ favourite entertainers and activity providers into our homes. It has also put a stop to our much-loved outings. In this edition, you’ll discover some of the inventive ways our teams have been able to ensure our residents continue to enjoy their favourite events and activities.

Movie Premieres

On downloading the newsletter you will also learn how the kindness of the local community has helped residents of two of our homes reminisce about happy times at the pictures. Thanks to some very kind donations, residents have enjoyed movie premieres in their own homes.

You can download the Last Summer 2020 edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter by clicking here.

 

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Welcome to the first digital edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter. With visiting restrictions currently in place at our care homes across the United Kingdom, we believe it is more important than ever to share good news from Larchwood Care’s residents and teams. 

At Larchwood Care, we are working hard to ensure that our residents’ relatives and supporters of our homes can stay in touch with the great things that have been happening to keep life for our residents as normal and fulfilling as possible under difficult circumstances.

In this edition of Larchwood Life, you will discover how technology and social media have become an important part of maintaining contact with loved ones while also combatting loneliness during life in lockdown.

Maintaining High Standards of Care

With routine regulatory inspections on hold due to visiting restrictions, great ratings for Larchwood Care Homes have continued to be reported and celebrated by our teams and residents. In this newsletter, you will be able to read about the fantastic standards achieved in the eyes of the Care Quality Commission and the Care Inspectorate.

This edition also provides an insight into how Larchwood Care has been ensuring the health and safety of our residents and staff by sourcing and distributing appropriate PPE to all of our homes.

Community Kindness

Celebrating the kindness of our communities is another big theme of this publication, demonstrating that the general public’s admiration and appreciation of the social care sector reaches far beyond Thursday evening’s Clap For Our Carers event

On downloading the newsletter you will also discover how events such as VE Day, birthdays, and even a hen do have continued to be made special for our residents thanks to our incredibly caring and creative teams.

You can download the May 2020 edition of the Larchwood Life May 2020 Newsletter by clicking this link.

 

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Residents at Avonbridge Care Home in Hamilton recently received the opportunity to grill their local MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall, and Stonehouse, during an official visit to the home.

Christine McKelvie, who is also the current Scottish Minister for Older People and Equalities, spent an afternoon chatting with residents about what is important to them and their views on local issues. The residents really appreciated having their thoughts listened to.

Following her chat with the MSP, Avonbridge resident Agnes Brown, commented: “It was good getting to speak to Christina. I used to pay attention to politics but don’t really bother as much now, but it was good to speak to her about what was going on in our area.”

She joked: “I was hoping she could tell us what was going on with this Brexit carry-on, but I don’t think even she knew what is going on with that!”

Creating a Dementia-Friendly Environment

Mrs McKelvie also spent time having a tour of the facility and met members of the care team. During the tour, she learned of the home’s plans to adapt further areas of Avonbridge Care Home for the benefit of residents living with dementia.

Commenting on her visit, Christina McKelvie MSP said: “It was great to visit Avonbridge again and get a look around the lovely home. I had a wonderful afternoon chatting to the residents and hearing about all the work the staff have planned to revamp the home to make it even more dementia-friendly!”

Upcoming plans include installing specially designed murals to aid with reminiscence therapy. Depicting scenes from times gone by, these murals can help to create a familiar and comforting environment for those living with dementia. The team at Avonbridge will be installing these over the next few weeks.

Avonbridge’s Home Manager, Michelle Ruiz-Beltran, said: “We are delighted to be a part of our local community. That’s why it was such a pleasure to welcome Ms McKelvie to look round our home and spend an afternoon discussing local issues with our residents.”

 

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A resident of Avonbridge Care Home in Hamilton has celebrated her 100th birthday with a very special guest. Martha Whip began her birthday celebrations with one-year-old Erin Winton, who was born 99 years later on the same day.

The home holds a weekly Music Makers and Shakers class, where residents are joined by local parents and their children for a morning of music and movement. Erin attends the class with her mum Laura Provan. After hearing they shared the same birthday, they could not wait to have a photograph taken together.

Laura said; “Erin absolutely loves coming to the Music Makers and seeing all the residents every week. It was so lovely to see Erin celebrate her first birthday with Martha.”

Michelle Ruiz-Beltran, Care Home Manager of Avonbridge, added: “Martha is a lovely member of the Avonbridge family, and we have thoroughly enjoyed celebrating this milestone birthday with her.

“It was great to see Erin and Martha enjoying their birthdays together, at almost 100 years apart, they are an unlikely but wonderful pair.”

An Official Visit

Martha’s birthday celebrations did not stop there! Later, residents of the home joined Martha’s friends and family in the lounge for an official visit. As Martha entered the room, she was greeted by Ian McAllan, Provost of South Lanarkshire Council and Deputy Lieutenant, John McKenzie. This was followed by a loud cheer of “surprise” from the crowd.

Martha was then presented with her card from the Queen and a bouquet of flowers in front of her friends and family. Shortly afterwards, surrounded by giant “100” balloons, members of the Avonbridge team delivered a celebration cake, while the room erupted into a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”

Billy Whip, Martha’s son, said: “Mum had a great time on her birthday and the home went to a great deal of effort to make sure her day was special. We couldn’t believe it was Erin’s first birthday on the same day. It was really nice to celebrate two big birthdays together.”

 

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Residents of Avonbridge Care Home in Hamilton have been giving a little back to the local community this Christmas.

The home organised a collection of much-needed food items for the Salvation Army Foodbank as well as selection boxes for the children’s ward at Wishaw University Hospital.

The appeal received a heartwarming response from residents, their families, visitors, and members of the Avonbridge team. This meant that we were able to deliver several bags full of food essentials and Christmas treats to the foodbank, and a sack full of selection boxes to the children’s ward.

We would like to pass on our thanks to everyone who took the time to make kind donations to our appeal.

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Residents and their families were treated to a flurry of snow at Avonbridge Care Home in Hamilton last weekend. The home opened its doors to the local community for its annual Christmas Fair.

The Avonbridge lounge was filled with stalls selling Christmas wreaths, handmade cards and gifts. Visitors enjoyed a fine selection of homebaked cakes and the chance to win some great prizes on the tombola.

Once again, a very special visitor greeted residents and children in the Avonbridge Grotto. Mrs Claus spent time discussing Christmas memories with residents and finding out what the children would like Mr Claus to deliver on Christmas Day. To add to the magic of the afternoon, a snow machine created a festive flurry for all to enjoy.

This year’s Avonbridge Christmas Fair created some happy memories for our residents and their families and helped raise money for exciting activities and trips next year.

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Residents from Avonbridge Care Home in Hamilton were greeted by a surprise visitor during a cruise along the canal at Kirkintilloch. The Seagull Trust run cruises along the canal all year round, and their boats are fully accessible with lifts for those with mobility issues. Therefore, this is a great way for our residents to get out and enjoy our local waterways.

In the run-up to Christmas, the Seagull Trust decorate their boats with Christmas lights and decorations. During cruises in November and early December, Santa comes aboard to spread festive cheer and to give out presents to those that have made it onto the good list.

Our residents thoroughly enjoyed their trip, reminiscing about Christmases over the years and discussing their own family traditions.

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