War of words as residents from four of our care homes dabble in Scrabble

Dedicated Scrabble fans from four of our care homes were quick to mind their Ps and Qs as they enjoyed a friendly battle of words in multiple encounters.
Players at our care homes in Dorset and Hampshire pitted their wits against each other to search for the ultimate word score using giant Scrabble boards.

While Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst welcomed friends from Kingfishers in New Milton, there was similar gentle rivalry as Amberwood House in Ferndown took on visitors from Bourne View in Poole.

The inter-home fun, timed to celebrate National Scrabble Day, lasted several hours and featured a sweepstake so non-players could feel involved by guessing the number of words the teams achieved in each game.

At Amberwood House, staff reflected the theme of word play by dressing up as something beginning with the first letter of their name.

Companionship Team Leader Kirsty Richmond-Cole was a Kite, Clinical Lead Hanna Rehbein was a Hot Dog, Home Manager Diane Nicholls was a Dragon, Nurse Anika McQuirk was Alice in Wonderland, and Maintenance Manager Christian Blanch was Clark Kent, unveiling a Superman top from under his shirt.
Kirsty said: “We decided to dress up so residents could have a good laugh and join in with the celebrations even if they had decided not to play. We did have some strange looks and one or two belly laughs. Resident Don Cussen asked us if we had lost our marbles!”
The Bourne View team – Harold Faircloth, Wendy Barnes and Peter Prior – arrived at Amberwood House just before lunch, taking a stroll around the garden and enjoying fish and chips before sitting down for the competition.

In the end, Amberwood House put up three teams itself, with residents Marjorie Hutchings, Rita Bryant and Noreen Hewitt having a closely fought match with Harold, Wendy and Peter.
Kirsty said: “There were some clever moves and a few challenges on words and Marjorie, Rita and Noreen jumped into the lead. But Harold, Wendy and Peter refused to give in and made a word score of 41 which enabled them to go in front. As it went on and with a final push from Marjorie, Rita, and Noreen, Amberwood House cheered with joy as they cleared their rack with a fantastic move and won the game.”
Marjorie said: “It was great to welcome our visitors. Hopefully, it’s the start of more get-togethers. We all love Scrabble, it’s a definite favourite.”

At Woodpeckers, there were also multiple matches with some ties open to family and friends as well as residents.

The most successful residents’ team was Jo Bray, Pam Welch and Molly Wolstenholme.

Companionship Team member Sian Harris said: “Over an hour and a half of playing and 75 words later, Jo’s team were the clear winners with 307 points against 239. Jo also won a prize for the longest word. This prompted a lot of laughter as her word was ‘headstones’.  One resident said, “you have to laugh at these things, even if it’s dark humour!”

There was also National Scrabble Day fun with games between residents living at Avon Cliff home in Bournemouth.

National Scrabble Day is celebrated annually in honour of the game’s creator, an American architect called Alfred Mosher Butts who was born in April 1899 and came up with his invention in 1938.

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.”

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.”

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.