Telling a Story of Wellbeing

It’s National Storytelling Week this Saturday 27 Jan to Sunday 4 Feb. To celebrate, we’ve written a feature-length round-up blog to tell the story of all the activities that took place across our homes for our January theme of wellbeing.  


The wellbeing of our residents has always been our top priority, and throughout January we encouraged all of our homes to shout about the things they do to promote mental and physical health. In general, these activities are designed to encourage social interaction, enhance function, adapt and develop skills, maximise independent activity, and minimise the need for support. 


We split things down into five focus categories and selected a handful of our homes to focus on how they tackled each section below. 




Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Extensive research from well-established studies, and newer projects which focus on age concur that meaningful learning activities have a positive impact on physical health in residents within a care home setting. To this end our homes frequently host seminars and live workshops for our residents.  


This month Springfield was treated to an interactive video call seminar from Oomph Wellness all about bees. Bees are so important to our planet, as without them and other insect species it wouldn’t be long before the UK ecosystem collapsed. It is estimated that it would cost UK farmers an incredible £1.8 billion a year to manually pollinate their crops. Our residents learned all the ins and outs of bee habitats, climate change, and the pollination process. 70 different crops depend on or benefit from bees, whilst animals for livestock rely on feed crops, making bees vital to everything in our daily diets, with meat, eggs, dairy, and crop products all benefiting from our buzzing friends. 


Laurels and Pine Lodge enjoyed a visit from Zoolabs on Wednesday January 10 where residents and staff all had the chance to handle exotic species of snakes, lizards, and spiders! The fantastic keeper of the animals gave one-on-one instructions on how to hold, pet, and give affection to each animal, while peppering everyone with amazing information about each species. Not only is this a great opportunity for our residents to learn about and experience handling fantastic animals, but it’s also the perfect way to encourage new sensory experiences.  




Physical health plays a major role in the wellbeing of our residents across all our homes. We promote exercise for training certain muscle groups to encourage stronger bodies in the elderly. We also develop the cardiovascular health of our residents with exercises designed to increase heart rates, be it through armchair exercises or taking a walk around the wonderfully landscaped grounds of our homes and exploring the local countryside. West Cliff Hall were superstars throughout January in this area, with multiple walking trips to visit local shops and nearby farmlands. They also deployed resistance bands to get our residents stretching and working up a sweat, whilst games of balls and skittles brought out the competitive side, especially with prizes up for grabs! 


Several of our homes employed their state-of-the-art VR headsets to encourage a range of physical motions. From catching butterflies to walking tours of Paris and other real-world locations, our VR MyndVR headsets are available across half of our homes and are rotated on a cycle so that all residents get the chance to experience them. 


It might not be a driving factor in heart or muscular health, but many of our homes also bring in salon staff to primp and pamper our residents. Everything is available, from a gentleman’s cut and shave, to a full perm followed by a manicure and pedicure. We appreciate that many of our residents have gone their entire adult lives investing time and money into making themselves look and feel as best as they can by visiting salons, so why should these practices stop when living in a care home? 




Research has reported positive associations between social connection and a range of physical health outcomes among long-term care home residents. These findings suggest an important role for social connection in promoting physical and mental health. To this end, our teams work hard to promote as many positive social interactions between themselves and the residents, other residents, outside activity support staff, family, and friends.  


It was interesting to see the different take around the homes for promoting social interactions as an important factor of overall wellbeing. Malden House encouraged their residents to draw or write something that represents themselves or is important to them on hexagonal cards. These cards were then presented back and discussed among the residents to encourage group reflection. Malden Deputy Manager Gabrielle Clee commented on the importance of these tasks. “It’s so vital to remember we are all individual and valuing the differences in each other and respecting what we all care about makes us special.”  


Tegfield House went down a different route by arranging for therapy dog Shadow to pay a surprise visit to their residents. Shadow was an absolute delight and brought much happiness and comfort to everyone at Tegfield House. Thank you to Rose and Shadow from PetsAsTherapy. 


Spurred on by the fantastic visit by Zoolabs, Laurels and Pine Lodge challenged their residents to answer a number of questions such as “If the home could have a pet, what would you like it to be?” or “If you could spend a day with the Activity Coordinators, what would you like to do?” Activity Coordinator Sadie Brown enjoyed this task stating “This morning our residents enjoyed talking about what they would like/ love to do. This activity encourages residents to talk to others and find out about their lives, it relieves stress and helps build friendships and connections.” 




January is always the biggest month of the year for revellers to atone for their festive sins and kickstart the new year with crash diets to lose weight and get healthy. This isn’t strictly necessary at Hartford Care as our Quality and Operations teams always ensure our residents enjoy healthy and balanced meals, made fresh every day by our catering teams. All food served in our homes is carefully scrutinised for nutritional value and vitamin intake to make sure our residents get everything they need to thrive. That said, it didn’t stop all our homes from creating extra special meals throughout the month to promote healthy living and wellbeing.  


West Cliff Hall chose to bolster resident vitamins with a Mad Hatters Alice in Wonderland-themed mocktail fruit smoothy bonanza! Four different fruity mocktails were created and blitzed together by the activity team, the Blue Flamingo, Wonderland Surprise, White Rabbit Colada, and Pocket Watch Punch! Springfield also got involved in the smoothy making, with their own repertoire of delicious fruity mocktails, with residents joining in on the preparations. 


Tegfield on the other hand decided to dispel Blue Monday by hosting an afternoon tea session with a smorgasbord or baked goods and homemade cakes. We probably can’t claim this one as a boost to January weight loss, but it’s also important to treat yourself and bolster your mental well-being, and they certainly know how to do treats at Tegfield!  




We have further recent studies that have explored elderly care home residents and their experiences of maintaining a sense of purpose in life: a core component of psychological wellbeing. Conclusions can be drawn that care homes should offer varied opportunities for residents to engage in purposeful activities to support their mental health and wellbeing.  


Malden House wanted to give something back and focus on the wellbeing of birds, whilst also giving them a sense of purpose for their own wellbeing. Many of our residents are keen bird-watchers, and all enjoy the outside aspect of helping nature. The creation of bird balls is an important activity for supporting local avian populations, especially during winter months for birds that don’t migrate.  


Tegfield fired up the Blu-Ray player and got some films on the go as part of their purpose-led wellbeing activities. It was National Popcorn Day to boot, so with plenty on standby to munch down, many residents enjoyed the film screening, and a buzz could be felt in the air for this exciting activity.  


West Cliff Hall were also busy making bird balls throughout January, and they also had some great opportunities to paint with professional equipment and instructions from local artists. Painting and the arts bring joy and the ability to communicate feelings even when we can no longer communicate. We use arts-based activities to create a state of tranquillity and reminiscence, which is why it is such an important activity within a care setting and fundamental to our day-to-day health. Any form of creative expression goes a long way to promoting positive wellbeing, people pay good money to learn how to paint and express themselves visually, so enabling our residents to do this is a powerful tool in our wellbeing arsenal.  


As we mentioned before, this is just a quick look into what was going on in just some of our homes as a focus on wellbeing during the month of January. Our dedicated teams of Activity Co-ordinators and Catering staff ensure that our residents are always living life as fully as possible, this was just a spotlight on the day-to-day of life at Hartford Care.


For more information on the care we offer, visit our care pages. 

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