Tasty treats as residents celebrate Burns Night

Residents have celebrated Burns Night in fine style with poetry, quizzes and traditional Scottish delicacies
Haggis, neeps and tatties were on the menu for homemade lunches and suppers, all in honour of the world famous 18th century bard Robert Burns.

Here at Amberwood House  our team members dressed in tartan and began the day with poetry readings and a quiz about Burns trivia.

Residents could then opt for lunch in the dining room or take advantage of a ‘haggis trolley service’ enabling those who preferred to dine in their bedroom to take part.

It featured a platter of haggis, neeps and tatties specially prepared and cooked by Head Chef Gary Parsons.

Staff brought the mobile meals while carrying small saltires, the blue and white diagonal cross that is Scotland’s national flag.

Our Companionship Team member Rebecca Osborne said: “Recipients of our room-to-room trolley service had the pleasure of being served by a lovely new Scottish waitress wearing a dodgy hat, doing a highland fling and singing ‘Donald Where’s your Troosers’.

“We continued the Scottish theme by letting our hair down later in the day for a rousing rendition of ‘My Bonny Lies over the Ocean’.”

[caption id="attachment_4808" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Wilma Millett and Companionship Team member Corrine Wareham[/caption]

Resident and proud Scot Wilma Millett said: “We were all happy to celebrate, enjoy the fun and sample the haggis.”

All 21 Colten Care homes hold a Burns celebration every year, joining with millions of people across the world who mark the anniversary of ‘Rabbie’s’ birth in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1759.

Residents get a taste of their very own beer at brewery visit

Three of our homes have been putting their very own brewed beer to the taste test
Our residents  and the residents of The Aldbury and Avon Reach visited Poole Hill Brewery to taste beer they had named in a Colten-wide competition.

During the summer, residents from all of our 21 homes were invited to take part in a beer tasting session with beers from the local brewer Southbourne Ales.

The aim to was to collectively choose a great tasting beer that would become ‘The Colten Beer’.

Three beers were sampled and scored for taste and appearance and residents then suggested names go with each one.
Elaine Farrer, Chief Operating Officer for Colten Care said: “We knew our residents loved their beer, but few could predict how many would enjoy this activity and how many brilliant names they would come up with.
“In fact, we had so many great names to choose from, we decided to go with three differently-named beers from three different homes: The ‘Crafty Colten’ chosen by the residents of Avon Reach, Frothy Pop chosen by residents of The Aldbury  and the ominously-named Residents’ Revenge, which was given its moniker by Amberwood House.”

[caption id="attachment_4795" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Pictured: Amberwood House residents Len Fowler and Jim Smith and their Colten Companion Kirsty Richmond-Cole (centre)[/caption]

The beer was brewed by Poole Hill Brewery inn Bournemouth and six representatives from across the three homes were hosted by the owner of the brewery, Jennifer Tingay, for a tour of her premises and a final tasting of their newly-bottled beers, labelled with their winning names.
Abdul ‘Hobi’ Sabih from The Aldbury said: “Our beer tastes great. I have already drunk all mine!”

His fellow resident Frank McCord agreed: “It’s been fascinating to visit the brewery and to learn more about the brewing process.
We are definitely looking forward to drinking more Frothy Pop at The Aldbury.”
Jim Smith, a resident of Amberwood House, said: “I was very interested to learn about the history of beer and brewing. Jennifer is a very good host and of course the tasting of our Residents’ Revenge was a highlight!”

Jennifer said: “It was lovely to host all the Colten residents. We had a quiz and they asked some really good questions about brewing before enjoying a tour and of course their tasting.

“The designs for the three different beer bottles which have been created by Colten’s own designers are wonderful. Some of the best I have seen.
“We are pleased to know the residents from Colten Care can now enjoy their own crafted local beers having played such an enthusiastic part in the process.”

Seas of red as our residents honour the fallen  

Residents have knitted, sewn, crocheted, painted and sculpted thousands of poppies as heartfelt tributes for Remembrance season
Many of the handmade works feature in outdoor hanging displays designed to prompt visitors and passers-by to stop and reflect.

As well as poppies, homes have held arts and crafts sessions in which residents – including many service veterans – have painted pictures on the theme of wartime sacrifice and shared their thoughts and memories with each other.

Residents here at Amberwood House, spent two months preparing an exterior floral ‘waterfall’ made entirely from the ends of recycled plastic bottles.

Companionship Team Leader Kirsty Richmond-Cole said: “It soon became apparent that the residents were addicted to creating the poppies and they started a factory line which consisted of stations for painting the first coat, drying with a hairdryer, adding a further coat, painting the poppy centre, further drying and then top coating.
“When they were all ready, I spent three evenings in the rain, drilling holes in the poppies, erecting the chicken wire, attaching the poppies to the wire with paper fasteners and creating the display. The finished result was worth it and amazing.”
Marjorie Hutchings, one of the residents involved in the artwork, said: “Creating such a large display was so enjoyable. It is beautifully eye-catching considering it is all made out of recycled plastic.”

In Salisbury, the finished display at Braemar Lodge  numbered more than 1,900 handcrafted poppies.

While most were made by residents, families, staff and close community contacts, the home also received donated poppies from as far afield as Scotland.

[caption id="attachment_5112" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Amberwood House in Ferndown produced a poppy waterfall using the ends of recycled plastic bottles. On the left is resident Jim Smith and Companionship Team colleagues Sharon McVicar, standing, and Kirsty Richmond-Cole. On the right is Home Manager Diane Nicholls with residents, from left, Mary Whitehouse, Marjorie Hutchings and Noreen Hewitt.[/caption]

Resident Delia Bailey said: “I am an avid knitter so was delighted to have been part of this project. I started to knit poppies in August and made 140 in total. The display looks splendid and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.”
The home’s Customer Support Advisor Tanya Williams said: “We were completely overwhelmed with the response to our call for poppies, including so many from friends in the community and anonymous donors.
“It has been a labour of love but the finished display has far exceeded our expectations.”

St Catherines View collected nearly 1,500 poppies after it reached out to the community to help with a display.

Among those who responded to a Facebook plea from Companionship Team Leader Laura Sheldrake was a lady, Jackie Jenkins, who lives in Yorkshire.

Chris George, chairman of the Royal British Legion Winchester Branch, who visited the home to see the display, said: “It is important that everyone gets the opportunity to be able to remember our fallen heroes and Laura and her team have made sure that this can happen for the residents of St Catherines View.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to the home and to meet some of the residents at the home, a very humbling experience.”

In the New Forest, team members at Belmore Lodge in Lymington filmed residents sharing their wartime memories.

Footage of the discussions was shown to an audience gathered in the lounge, prompting Lauren Cooper, Companionship Team member, to say: “It was incredibly reflective and moving.”
One relative, Gill Knight, who was present, said: “I think it is great what they have done here. I heard the residents talking about their memories and it was just so special.”
Belmore Lodge also invited residents to make clay poppies and produce their own paintings on the subject of Remembrance.

Among activities at other Colten Care homes, residents at Bourne View in Poole painted poppy images on pebbles for distribution in the neighbourhood, Whitecliffe House in Blandford held a poppy-themed colouring competition with local schoolchildren and Newstone House in Sturminster Newton welcomed the Shroton Ukulele Band to play at a British-themed Remembrance afternoon.

All 21 Colten Care homes hold annual services of Remembrance in line with wider Armistice Day commemorations.

A key aim is to honour veterans living in each home and families with current serving personnel.

At some homes, including Brook View in West Moors, Dorset, residents are invited to join official parades and services taking place in the community and to lay wreaths.

Residents enchanted by animal magic

Residents cooed over a menagerie of weird and wonderful animals during a visit from Creature Teachers
We hosted a Bearded Dragon, a snake and even an African Pygmy Hedgehog called Peri Pickles.

Rebecca Osborne, a member of our companionship team at Amberwood House, said: “The visit from Creature Teachers was a huge success.
“Animal specialists Lisa and Jade introduced us firstly to Abraham the bearded dragon and Luna the Albino Corn Snake – Luna apparently eats four mice every two weeks, which he swallows whole.
“I wasn’t sure how many takers there would be to actually touch Luna, but most of our residents gradually felt brave enough and said they were surprised how soft his skin was.”

Resident Mary Whitehouse, said: “I couldn’t see myself holding a snake, but surprised myself today!”

Peri Prickles, the three-year-old African Pygmy hedgehog, was a bit shy to start with, but gradually came out of his tight ball and delighted resident Pat Fisher with his endearingly cute face and twitchy pink nose.

[caption id="attachment_4789" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Mary Whitehouse with Echo Barn Owl[/caption]

Perci the rabbit was also hugely popular with most residents who were keen to have a stroke of his soft fur.

Last, but certainly not least, was majestic Barn Owl ‘Echo’. And willing residents were able to wear a special glove and watch as Echo flew towards them and perched on their hand.
Rebecca said: “Wilma smiled and exclaimed: “Heaven” when Echo landed on her hand. It was clearly a priceless special moment she will never forget.”
Two residents are particularly fond of owls – Ray O’Neil and Amy Brown both used to rescue the birds in their younger years – and both were happy to recall some of their memories.

Ray delighted some of his fellow residents by sharing stories from his past role as an RSPCA Inspector.

Resident Judy Brown summed up the visit with: “It was an amazing experience.”

Red Nose Day fun brings smiles all round

Residents and staff from our care homes let their hair down, dressed up in Red Noses and glasses, donned crazy hats, wigs, feathers and pom poms, and enjoyed lots of games and activities to raise money for Comic Relief.
The day of fun at across our 21 homes in the south included cupcake sales, singalongs of vintage comedy songs, hair dyeing sessions, fancy dress parties and exercise bike challenges.

Our home said hello to a familiar face when Brotherhood of Man singer and former Companionship Team member Nicky Stevens returned to entertain residents and do her bit for the appeal.

Nicky was happy to join in with the dressing-up activities and, microphone in hand, even serenaded resident Ray Cox with a rendition of the song Where Did you Get That Hat?. In reply, Ray quipped: ‘I don’t know but it cost too much!’.

At Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst, there was a competition to guess the number of balloons making up a giant Red Nose given pride of place in the lounge.

The contest raised more than £70 on its own, prompting resident Frank Coumbe to say: “It was a great way of raising money for Red Nose Day.”

The winner was declared to be Head of Domestics Hanahi Idi who guessed the correct number of 103 balloons and scooped a basket of goodies as his prize.

The day delighted new residents as well as those who have participated in charity activities at homes before.
Iris Barnes, who only recently moved to Kingfishers, said: “It was my first time experiencing Red Nose Day events here at the home. I really liked having fun with the dressing up. I thank everyone for letting me take part in all this for such a wonderful charity campaign.”
At St Catherines View in Winchester, residents were invited to apply bright red hair dye on willing volunteer Laura Sheldrake, the home’s Companionship Team leader.
Resident Jo Gough said: “Doing Laura’s hair reminded me of my mum doing my hair when I was a child. It was great fun.”
Colten Care Operations Director Elaine Farrer said: “Our residents and team members don’t tend to need much excuse to dress up and have fun. We are always delighted when Red Nose Day comes round and we can all get involved and show our support. It’s all about giving vulnerable and disadvantaged people the chance of a better future.”
The fundraising marathon, launched in 1988 and held every two years, supports people in the UK and around the world.

In the past two years, Comic Relief organisers say funding has helped 11.7 million people at risk from a wide range of challenging circumstances including poverty, disease, domestic abuse, hunger, violence, discrimination, fear and mental health issues.

This year, a key focus is encouraging donations to support civilians fleeing the war in Ukraine.

[caption id="attachment_3479" align="alignnone" width="1917"] Enjoying the Red Nose Day fun at Kingfishers care home in New Milton, Hampshire, are, from left, residents Polly Walker and Joan Lakeman, Companionship Team members Sue Hawkins and Rose Arcellana, and resident Iris Barnes.[/caption]

Care home characters leap off the page for World Book Day

Residents and staff got well and truly into character as they celebrated the World Book Day annual celebration of reading
Hagrid from the Harry Potter stories and the hedgehog washerwoman Mrs Tiggy-Winkle from Beatrix Potter were among the literary favourites gracing a red-carpet catwalk.

As each character appeared in costume for the parade, backed by clues to their identity given in song, assembled residents were invited to guess and shout out their names.

The laughter began immediately when Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, aka our Home Manager Diane Nicholls, was misidentified by one audience member as Old Mother Hubbard.

And on seeing our Companionship Team Leader Kirsty Richmond Cole dressed as Wally from the Where’s Wally books, several residents were invited to don the trademark hat and glasses too.

Kirsty said: “We all got excited about picking these much-loved characters and finding outfits to dress up in to bring them to life. It certainly sparked a lot of interest, with smiles and laughter all round.“

[caption id="attachment_4783" align="alignnone" width="768"] Resident Judy looks for Wally[/caption]

Our Companionship Team member and musical entertainer Rebecca Osborne was on the catwalk dressed as Minnie Mouse while the prize for the best costume – a hamper of pamper treats – went to Housekeeper Diana Skee for wearing a head-to-toe ‘101 Dalmatians’ outfit.
Kirsty added: “Most of our residents are pet lovers and were amazed she wasn’t too hot in all that get-up.”
One resident, Len Fowler, spent part of his World Book Day visiting Ferndown’s public library to pick out some new reading material.
The day finished up with a quiz in which residents were invited to match a series of characters to the books that made them famous.
Resident Joan Harris said: “It was just wonderful to see all the staff and residents join together to have so much fun.”
World Book Day is an annual celebration of reading marked in more than 100 countries. It was first held in 1995 and is an initiative of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

A Valentine’s Day full of love, laughter and happy memories

Residents spent Valentine’s Day reminiscing over their wedding days, feasting on cakes and sharing ‘getting to know you’ dates.
We used the official day of love to celebrate friendships old and new.

Our Companionship Team member Corinne Wareham said: “We have some new residents at Amberwood House and we decided to create a lovely atmosphere for making friends, with our lounge and dining room decorated in pink, red and white and our tables festooned with confetti, roses and little chocolates.

“Our Companion Rebecca Osborne provided a beautiful start to the day by singing famous love songs.
“Then, at lunchtime, each resident picked a name out of a hat to determine who they would sit next to, to open up new conversations.
“And in a ‘Guess the Valentine’ game, we looked at a ‘tree of love’ featuring original wedding photos of 14 residents and tried to guess who was who.

“Quite a few of the men proved easier to identify than the ladies. But in the end, we worked together to correctly match everyone to their wedding day photos.”

In the afternoon, residents had a great deal of fun with the activity ‘Take a staff member on a date’, where they chose staff members with whom to share a 15-minute ‘date’ to get to know more about them.

Corinne said: “It really was a great chance to get to know each other better.

“Sarah, one of our carers, learned a great deal about Judy’s first date with her husband back in the 1950s while our waitress Kate learned from Ray that he had been married to his lovely wife for over 60 years.”

[caption id="attachment_4768" align="alignnone" width="804"] Colten Companion Corinne Wareham and resident Ray Cox enjoy the fun and games at the Valentine’s Day celebrations[/caption]

A sumptuous, Valentine-inspired afternoon tea was enjoyed at 3pm and afterwards Corinne read some famous love letters from people such as George W Bush, Henry VII and Vita Sackville-West, which provoked conversations about important letters residents had received over the years.
She said: “Many of these letters had been received from family members when they had lived overseas during the war and had been kept safely for years as precious mementos.
“It was a lovely day spent encouraging new friendships and remembering good times.”

Flower power delights residents

Residents have had a blooming good time with a day of all-out ‘flower power’
They and staff put their imaginations on a floral footing to brighten up the winter.

Floral-designed bunting, table decorations and serviettes helped give the dining room and lounge a vivid blast of colour while residents and team members put on their most flowery and flamboyant shirts, scarves and dresses.

Some residents also put orchids in their hair and wore Hawaiian-style lei garlands.

As well as dressing up, activities included the opportunity to make bouquets and displays and take part in a quiz about national flowers and flags from around the world.

There was also a flower-themed singalong led by our Companionship Team member and musical entertainer Rebecca Osborne featuring popular tunes such as Ramblin’ Rose, Daisy Bell and Paper Roses.

[caption id="attachment_4801" align="alignnone" width="768"] Wilma Willet with her handmade fabric flower for international flower day.[/caption]

Wilma Millett was among several residents who made their own floral decorations. She said: “We had a wonderful day that certainly cheered everyone’s spirits in the middle of winter.”
Fellow resident Pat Fisher said: “It was a happy day. We were all singing and the decorations were cheerful on a dull day.”
Companionship Team Leader Kirsty Richmond Cole said: “There were some very eye-catching decorative flowers on display. The home looked beautiful and residents had lots of fun. It was all inspired by International Flower Day and the joy and appreciation people can have from flowers.”