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 and residents at Taunton based care home Oake Meadows have contributed to a bespoke poetry book alongside some of the UK’s leading poets and writers.

The care home, which is located on Wyvern Road, partnered with some wonderfully creative people for the project. These included award-winning filmmaker and author Dave Jeffery, filmmaker, publisher and author Justin Park, and authors, editors and twins C.L. Raven.

The book, named ‘We Are Family: Poems from a Care Home’, is available to purchase on Amazon Kindle or as a physical book. All funds raised through the sale of the book will be sent directly to the Oake Meadows Residents’ Fund. The home has now received the first-ever copy to share with the residents and care team, particularly those who contributed to the book.

A Wonderful Project for Residents

Louis du Toit, activities coordinator at Oake Meadows and designer of the book’s cover, said: “This is a wonderful project and we are both honoured and excited to work with some of the UK’s leading writers for this. We are huge fans of all of their work. This is a real coup to be able to get them involved with our upcoming poetry book. This project has been in the offing for some time and it seems like the stars have finally aligned for us to get it completed!

“At Oake Meadows, we really believe that we are part of one big family. Creating the book in aid of the residents, and managing to get some star names involved, is an amazing feeling and is our way of demonstrating our thanks and gratitude to our wonderful residents.”

If you would like to discover more about the book or to purchase a copy via Amazon, please click here.

 

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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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A brand new unit at Larchwood Care’s Oake Meadows Care Home in Taunton is helping to reduce unnecessary hospital stays in the town.

The new facilty has opened at the care home in partnership with Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Somerset County Council and Larchwood Care, to rehabilitate people recently discharged from hospital.

The unit, which has been given the name ‘Willow’, offers ongoing support and assessment for patients leaving acute care at Musgrove Park Hospital. With 15 bedrooms and a mix of specialist staff from all three of the organisations involved, the wing specialises in reablement and physiotherapy.

Willow unit is one of three approaches being utilised to reduce long, unnecessary hospital stays in the Taunton area. This works alongside greater support and therapy at home as well as short term reablement, to help individuals achieve a return to independent living.

Lynn Fearn, Larchwood Care’s Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to be working closely with the NHS trust and county council to host the Willow Unit at Oake Meadows.”

“Leaving hospital and returning home, can be a difficult process, particularly when the individual has been away for some time. This facility enables them to gear back up towards independent living in a safe and comfortable environment.”

Supporting People to Live Independently

Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Somerset County Council said: “Somerset County Council is delighted to work with our partners to launch this new facility. Our aim is to improve lives and support people to live independently, and this new facility will help those leaving hospital to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Kate Smith, who is responsible for therapy services at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “We are very pleased to be able to offer additional care through the Somerset Home First service for patients who need support to get back to their usual daily routine after leaving hospital.

“By working closely with the excellent trained staff at Oake Meadows Care Home, our patients will continue to get the care they need with a much-reduced risk of being readmitted to our district general hospital.

“On average we are seeing that patients who benefit from the Home First service tend to stay five fewer days in hospital than they normally would have.

“And, many of our patients and their families have told us that they were very happy to leave hospital sooner with support from therapists.”

Residents of Oake Meadows Care Home in Taunton, Somerset, have been learning about life ‘Down Under’ during a week of Australia Day celebrations. 

As well as learning about the history, residents have also sampled some of the culture and music native to the country.

The week of Australia Day activities began with two epic movie screenings in the home’s ‘Meadows Movies’ cinema room. Residents watched three of the country’s most famous actors in action. First, they were captivated by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman’s romantic performance in ‘Australia,’ while later they were on the edge of their seats watching Russell Crowe in the action-packed ‘Master and Commander.”

The following day, the Oake Meadow’s residents enjoyed testing their knowledge of ‘Auz’ with a themed quiz and word search. After working up an appetite tackling trivia, we decorated biscuits with the colours of the Australian flag. These did not hang around for long!

A Lesson in Aboriginal Art

Arts and crafts are very popular activities at Oake Meadows, and this week they took inspiration from the colourful designs of Aboriginal art. The activities team spent time researching the patterns, colours, symbols, and their meanings to ensure that the session was both fun and educational.

For many, the highlight of the Australia Day themed activities came on the final day when we made and tested our very own Didgeridoo. Finished in the same bright colours and patterns we had learned about earlier in the week, the Didgeridoo brought the celebrations to a cheerful and tuneful end.

At Oake Meadows Care Home, we strongly believe that you are never too old to learn something new. Our activities team work hard to create a varied programme that features favourite pastimes, as well as providing plenty of opportunities to find new things to enjoy.

 

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Residents of Oake Meadows Care Home in Taunton, Somerset, have been busy carrying out their New Year’s resolutions.

The start of a new year and a new decade seemed the ideal opportunity for residents of the care home to set some goals and talk about their aspirations for the future.

We spent a day gathering residents together in the lounge or chatting to them in their rooms about the things they would most like to achieve during 2020. They thought long and hard about their New Year’s resolutions and came up with some ambitious, but achievable objectives.

Oake Meadows resident Andree, 72, vowed to; “Make healthy choices.”

Dennis, 85, a fellow resident of the home, expressed his wishes to; “Achieve more and stay healthy.”

Sheila, 92, said she would like to enjoy; “More country walks and… Cider.”

Vince, 72, joked that this year he would like to; “Change my luck.”

And Olive, 78, promised; “To tell no more dirty jokes.”

Focusing on the Future

Our discussions about New Year’s resolutions involved many quick-witted answers and plenty of laughs! The conversations also helped residents to focus on plans and hopes for the coming year.

We firmly believe that moving into a care home does not mean that life has to completely slow down. Having goals to reach for and ambitions to achieve can have a really positive effect on mood and wellbeing. This helps residents live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

As a resident of Oake Meadows, you will always find something exciting, a little bit challenging, and fun to do. This ensures that everyone in our care has the opportunity to live life to the full, experience a sense of achievement, a sense of purpose, and have plenty to look forward to.

 

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On Bonfire Night, residents of Oakes Meadows Care Home in Taunton celebrated with an action-packed evening of entertainment. The fifth of November is the perfect night to reminisce about childhood memories. With the sights, sounds, and smells all unique to the event, it really does conjure up vivid recollections.

Residents invited friends and family to join them for a Bonfire Night Party. Local singer Ray Dennings entertained the crowds, while residents danced the night away. Everyone got to enjoy a large buffet, with a few Bonfire Night treats and a fizzy pop fountain!

To finish the evening, residents gathered at the windows of the lounge to watch their very own firework display.

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Residents at Oake Meadows Care Home recently received an invite from students at Richard Huish College in Taunton. They were invited to join the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ in the college’s main hall to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Residents enjoyed coffee, cake, and a good old chat with some of the college’s Health and Social Care Students. The students were able to practice their communication skills with the older generation, while residents had a great time watching entertainment from the college’s Music Students.

Click here to find out more about Oake Meadows Care Home

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