With warmer summer days upon us, residents at Larchwood Care Homes across the country have been making the most of their beautiful outside spaces.

In the summer edition of Larchwood Life, you’ll learn how our residents have been enjoying garden parties, fundraisers and seasonal colour in the great outdoors!

Fluffy New Residents

While a great number of our homes boast revamped garden areas full of summer blooms, the Avonbridge family in Hamilton have welcomed some new feathered friends to their courtyard. In the summer newsletter, you’ll discover the residents’ joy of hatching chicks and watching them grow. Nurturing the hatchlings proved to be incredibly soothing for many of the Avonbridge residents, bringing back fond memories of chicken coops and fresh eggs for many.

A Good Old Knees Up For VE Day

Following the nationwide celebrations of last year’s 75th anniversary of VE Day, the teams at our homes were keen to create another memorable day for our residents this year. Once again, the 8th of May saw our homes decked out with Union Jack flags, banners, and hats, as the sounds of Vera Lynn and Glen Miller filled the air. In this newsletter, you’ll read how we took time to reflect on those who lost their lives during the Second World War but also recreated the street party atmosphere of 1945.

Raising Dementia Awareness

With many Larchwood Care homes specialising in dementia care, raising awareness and supporting vital research into dementia are very close to our hearts. Earlier this summer, our homes held many events for Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week and Cupcake Day. In addition, some of our residents and team members took on challenges of their own. Download the Larchwood Life Summer Newsletter below to learn more about Sam’s cycle challenge and a sponsored walk that brought residents and loved ones safely back together.

You can view the Larchwood Life Summer Newsletter here.

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A Droitwich care home has whisked residents back to May 1945 for its VE Day commemorations.

Recreating the sights and sounds of the historic day, the team at Ravenstone Care Home on St Andrews Road organised a memorable celebration for their residents.

76 years to the day, the home was decorated with Union Jack flags, bunting and bowler hats. Residents enjoyed watching old newsreels of the original celebrations, looking at black and white photos and singing along to wartime songs.

Thanks to the home’s Oomph On Demand digital activity platform, the Ravenstone residents also took part in interactive VE Day quizzes, immersive puzzles and craft activities.

Sharing Fond Memories

With a wealth of memories conjured by the day’s activities, residents couldn’t wait to share their own stories from the time.

Many recalled vividly where they were when the news of the end of the war in Europe came. One resident said: “I spent VE Day walking through the park with a South African sailor. He didn’t know the area and popped his head over the garden fence. He was a real gentleman!”

“We joined in all the street parties, as many as we could. We couldn’t figure out where they got all the food from. It was a big relief. I was at the front of the queue for the jelly. It came in different shapes like a rabbit for example.”

Another added: “All the family came out and formed a big circle. We were thrilled at all the food. I remember some American people being there, they latched onto the ladies!”

The Droitwich care home often holds reminiscence-based activities for its residents to encourage enjoyable conversation and the comfort this provides.

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Larchwood Care, one of the UK’s leading providers of care homes for the elderly, has been shortlisted for the prestigious LaingBuisson Large Residential Care award.

2020 has been a very strange year for everyone, not least for our residents. Our teams have gone to great lengths to keep those in our care safe during the pandemic. In addition, they have done an incredible job in enhancing residents’ wellbeing in the absence of visits from loved ones.

We are delighted that the hard work and dedication of our teams across the country has been recognised with a finalist place for the prestigious LaingBuisson Large Residential Care award! This year, the awards will take place in a virtual format on Thursday 22nd April.

To be shortlisted, entrants must display excellence in residential or nursing care for older people, with a focus on innovation and engagement with service users within a larger organisation.

The key drivers for the nomination were:

  • Larchwood Care’s commitment to supporting staff with training and career progression
  • The use of technology and innovation to ensure the efficient operation of Larchwood Care Homes. With in-house tech products including Care Portal, the IMPaCT Audit system and the HowDidWeDo? feedback app
  • Improvements in regulatory body ratings over the last 4 years. Including CQC scores rising from 41% Good or Outstanding overall to 85% Good or Outstanding

Lynn Fearn, managing director of Larchwood Care, said: “I am very proud that the organisation has been shortlisted for the LaingBuisson Large Residential Care award. This is a very important award and to have been shortlisted as a finalist from the many excellent applicants, is a major achievement in itself.

“As a care provider, we firmly believe that whatever an individual’s means, they deserve to feel safe, be cared for in a dignified and respectful manner and receive that care in as comfortable an environment as possible.

“I look forward to the awards being announced in due course and would like to congratulate everyone at Larchwood Care for getting this far. Without each and every member of staff being as dedicated as they are, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

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Spring has sprung and there is a great deal of optimism in the air at Larchwood Care Homes across the United Kingdom. 

In the months since our last newsletter, there have been some considerable steps forward in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Amid a backdrop of encouraging vaccination rates and emotional reunions with loved ones, our teams have ensured residents remain active, entertained and full of the joys of spring!

Green Shoots of Recovery

In the Spring edition of Larchwood Life, you’ll get a sense of the excitement our residents have for their Covid-19 vaccinations and the step towards normality this has the potential to provide. This excitement was only overshadowed by the introduction of a regular designated visitor for each resident inside our homes in England and Scotland. While our residents in Wales have had to wait a little longer for government guidance, in this issue of the newsletter you’ll get to read about some of our residents’ first emotional reunions.

Sailing into Spring

Our dedicated activity teams have started 2021 with a spring in their step with a wealth of new ways to enhance our residents’ wellbeing. What better way to spend the colder months of the year than seeing the world from the comfort of your own home? From learning Mandarin and experiencing Chinese culture for Chinese New Year to celebrating Australia Day with ‘Bushtucker Trials’ our residents have been reminiscing about their travels and discovering new destinations. The Spring edition of Larchwood Life also shares how one home took its residents on a month-long world cruise without leaving Scotland!

An Exciting New Partnership

While our teams have been working hard to keep residents active and entertained, we appreciate how challenging this can be while unable to welcome our favourite performers, therapy pets, exercise professionals and community groups into our homes. That is why we have partnered with Oomph! the UK’s leading wellbeing business for older adults. The Oomph! on Demand platform allows residents to enjoy exercise classes, entertainers and quizzes at their leisure while providing our activity teams with a wealth of ideas and resources.

Read all of this and more in the Spring 2021 edition of the Larchwood Life Newsletter by clicking here.

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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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A Droitwich care home resident has starred in their own CBeebies Bedtime Story worthy video for National Storytelling Week.

Ravenstone Care Home resident Audrey Prince, 90, gave a stellar performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears on the home’s Facebook Page. Her fellow residents helped with the production by creating Goldilocks themed drawings that were shown on-screen throughout the video. The hand-drawn images included pictures of Goldilocks herself, grizzly bears and bowls of porridge.

The video has delighted the home’s Facebook fans, who have shared their praise and thanks, with many commenting on Audrey’s fabulous recital of the childhood favourite.

National Storytelling Week focuses on encouraging people of all ages to explore reading books and sharing stories with one another. An important part of Ravenstone’s activity programme includes spending time and reminiscing. Events such as National Storytelling Week provide the perfect opportunity for residents to be able to engage in reminiscence activities.

A Childhood Favourite

Audrey said: “I had a lot of fun reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears to our followers on Facebook. It is a childhood favourite which has been enjoyed by many generations and will be for many more years.

“One of my favourite books as a child was A Peep Behind the Scenes because it is just such a great story.  I read it so many times as a child.  It is a sad story though, it made me cry.”

Wendy Stokoe, home manager at Ravenstone care home, said: “Celebrating National Storytelling Week is very important to us as a home as it gives us an opportunity to share stories with one another. This can be childhood favourites, adult fiction or even telling our own stories to each other.

“The residents had a lot of fun and we have discovered some fantastic new stories to get stuck into!”

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The residents of a care home in Droitwich are delighted to have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Ravenstone Care Home was among the first in Herefordshire and Worcestershire to receive the vaccine on-site. The vaccinations were administered by the Droitwich Integrated Care Team at the home in a Covid-secure environment.

Ravenstone resident Betty Powell was told by the vaccination team that she was one of the first residents to be vaccinated in their own care home in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.  Betty said: “I am so grateful that I have been given the vaccine. Everyone at Ravenstone has been fantastic all through the pandemic. I know how hard they have worked and appreciate that it can’t have been easy. So I’d like to say a heartfelt thanks.”

A Wonderful Day for the Ravenstone Residents

Home Manager Wendy Stokoe said: “This is a wonderful day for our residents and their families. We are truly grateful to everyone who made this possible. It has been a difficult time, and we still have some way to go, but we’ve been celebrating this wonderful milestone today because it means that at last, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my amazing colleagues, our wonderful residents and their family and friends who have supported us throughout the pandemic. We are really looking forward to the day when once again we are able to relax the restrictions on visiting and finally the day when all restrictions can be removed – that will be the day we have a big party!”

The staff and residents at the home are now awaiting the date for their second vaccination.

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Ravenstone Care Home residents in Droitwich were thrilled to receive beautifully decorated Christmas cards from local children in the run-up to Christmas. 

At a time when digital capabilities are changing how we communicate with one another, our residents love to receive handwritten cards and letters. Thanks to its location in Droitwich town centre, Ravenstone has excellent links with many local community groups and organisations. Under normal circumstances, the home would welcome children from the local Salvation Army pre-school to spend join residents for intergenerational visits. However, during the visiting restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, these have sadly not been able to happen.

Care home residents benefit greatly from interactions with the younger generations. This helps promote social and memory skills, improve mood, and the children can learn a lot too. This is why we are keen to maintain our links with the pre-school from a distance. As you can imagine, our the Ravenstone residents were filled with joy when the children’s handmade letters arrived.

Residents enjoyed seeing all of the wonderful colours and hearing what the children had been doing in the lead up to Christmas. In addition to these cards, another local child took the time to write to each of our residents individually.

The Wonderful Christmas Post

The hand-written Christmas wishes didn’t stop there! Later in December, a batch of cards and letters from volunteers all over the country arrived at the home. Part of ‘The Wonderful Christmas Post’ initiative, each resident received a personalised Christmas card. Not only were they addressed to each resident personally, but the authors also wrote about each residents’ interests too. Messages ranged from discussions about whiskey to a selection of quiz questions for our quiz champion!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the groups, organisations and volunteers that have thought of our residents this year.

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Even though Remembrance Day celebrations were different this year, Droitwich-based care home Ravenstone ensured residents could still commemorate. Paying respects to those who fought for our country, and those that continue to serve in the Armed Forces.

Ravenstone resident John Tarleton received a memorial wreath from his military regiment to ensure he could continue take part in this year’s Remembrance celebrations. John served in the Royal Mechanical Engineers and laid his wreath in the home’s garden.

John requested that the wreath was then taken to Droitwich War Memorial. At the memorial, it was laid by Dylan, the son of carer and Royal British Legion member, Sarah Moore.

With two members of staff also members of the local Royal British Legion branch, the home was in the fortunate position to be able to hold their own socially-distanced Remembrance commemoration complete with the last post for its residents.

Keeping Connections with the Local Community

Wendy Stokoe, home manager at Ravenstone, said: “It has been a very strange year for everyone. However, we have been working hard to help the residents feel included as part of the wider community, as well as feeling safe and stimulated within the home.

“Remembrance Day is incredibly important to many of our residents. Particularly for those who are veterans or who have family members who have served. So we knew we needed to find a way to mark it appropriately, even if we couldn’t visit a public event.

“We gave our residents time and space to reflect and remember and share stories of their own experiences and those of loved ones on this significant day. We hope that next year we will be remembering with family and friends in the community, together again.”

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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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