The Friends of Elmwood support the work of the home. Situated within a residential area of Croydon, Surrey, Elmwood Care Home is a purpose built 60 bedded care home offering Dementia, Nursing, Respite care and End of Life care.
The Friends aim to improve the quality of life of the residents of the care home by working with staff, residents and relatives.
The Friends of Elmwood are looking to develop services on the site. We have found that this is particularly valued by some residents who through deteriorating health do not have the confidence to come out of their rooms. Alongside this we support the care homes’ activities’ coordinators by providing extra pairs of hands during organised activity sessions and outings.
Mitzi Isaacs - Case Study
Elmwood Care home is in the parish of Holy Saviour Church Croydon; where Mitzi is a member of the Church. As part of the Church’s Pastoral Care Mission to offer support in the local community she has become a volunteer at the Elmwood Care Home. She has experience after thirty years of working in Social Care and Care Home Management.
With her Vicar Reverend Catherine and some other members of the Church they made contact with the Activities Co-ordinator at Elmwood Care Home and were made to feel very welcome. After due process of recruitment by Attends she has been visiting residents at the home at regular intervals, including doing a monthly remembrance service led by Revered Catherine, with residents, staff and visitors. A group from the Church have also gone around the Home singing carols at Christmas time.
During her free time, Mitzi likes to do some reading, gardening and enjoys going out visiting places of interest to her. She loves working with the staff at the care home and meeting all the lovely residents, she said “they are all very interesting, they still have very engaging personalities and history”. During her volunteering experience, Mitzi has formed friendships with people at the care home, “I gained new friends among the residents, staff and certainly with the activities coordinators”, she stated.
Maturity, patience, good listening skills and experience in social care has really helped Mitzi to be the best volunteer that she can be. “I have worked with people with dementia for many years and I have seen the challenging behaviours, I believe that I am very good at trying to calm the situation if anything does happen to occur”, she said.
To be a good care home volunteer, having an interest to work in the care home environment is vital, but also having an interest in the residents and the individuals themselves is just as important. “They should try to understand the person and see them as an individual with life skills and experience and not just as the condition that they are in now”, Mitzi stressed. “They have a history, so treat them in a way where they can recognise that they are individuals with a past”, she added, showing that Mitzi’s mission as a volunteer is to treat residents with respect and dignity.
The most important part of the day for Mitzi is that she is able to engage and spend some time with people when she is at the care home, “it gives me satisfaction knowing that I have done something meaningful”, she said. From her own positive experience, she strongly advises others to join a care home, “just do it and find out as much as you can about the people at the care home, they are all very interesting and have a lot of great stories to tell”, she added. Mitzi would recommend anyone to volunteer at a care home because, “at the end of each day at the care home you will feel truly rewarded and gratified”.
On Saturday 22nd of September, Friends of Elmwood helped to set up a few rose arches at the Elmwood Care Home in the hopes of planting a colourful array of flowers and roses to complement the garden.
Waleria, the wellbeing coordinator at the home, has taken great pride in the garden and is in the process of developing one area into a rose garden for the residents to enjoy.
The Friends were delighted to be able to help with finding this addition, allowing the roses to be seen easily from the nearby activities room.
Friends of Elmwood – End of Life Sitters Project
On 30th March 2017 an End of Life Sitters project was launched at Elmwood Care Home thanks to a grant from Awards from All.
The project was created following a series of consultations with family members, residents and staff of the care home we found a strong need for a service that focused entirely on the residents’ comfort in their final hours of life.
The Friends of Elmwood provide training for volunteers to offer companionship and emotional support as well as deliver simple relaxation techniques or a soothing touch to help residents find comfort and peace.
Our aim is that no resident will die alone. We believe that people deserve a holistic care that is tailored to the individual’s needs. Those who approach the end of life have the right to a farewell with dignity and compassion, and with regard to their last wishes. Cultural and religious ceremonies might be some of the residents’ wishes as well, which Friends recognise and fulfil to help residents find spiritual meaning and closure.
Local volunteers will play a key role in the delivery of End of Life Sitters project. Providing this opportunity for people to make a difference to their elderly neighbours can break down islands within the local community. Local residents will be given the chance to connect and spend time with the residents at the very end of their life. The initiative will strengthen Croydon’s community as local volunteers learn from and engage with the older generation in a humbling experience. This project is a chance to learn that care homes are not places to be afraid of or to avoid.
NCS Elmwood Visit
On Friday 25th August 2017 the staff and residents at Elmwood Care Home were pleased to be joined by a group of young people taking part in their National Citizenship Service for a Jamaican themed party with food and music to match
The residents enjoyed the party as they were able to chat to the volunteers and just relax and have fun. One resident mentioned how she missed having get togethers and explained how it had “been 3 years since I had seen young people talking and laughing together”. These visits are very important to residents as they are able to meet and talk to new people, which is often difficult for residents particularly for those with debilitating illness’.
The following week the group returned to the home for a gardening project, where it was decided that they were going to paint the garden furniture as many residents pointed out that garden furniture had lost its original colour. Then to top off the visit the volunteers planted big ceramic pots and over 200 spring bulbs across the Home’s garden to bring colour and life in the spring.
Friends of Elmwood Committee meeting
On 25th October the Friends of Elmwood held their Committee meeting
The Committee discussed an End of Life Befriender project. It was felt this would be very beneficial to the home and the residents. there was also some discussion of how we can aim to improve the garden area.
Visit of Duke of York
On Tuesday 11th October 2016, the Duke of York visited Attends offices to be updated on our work.
As part of his role, he is patron of each of the friends groups in care homes.
Pictured here, he is talking to Nichole, project manager, and Kahlil who is newly appointed to the team. He was delighted to hear of the progress to date.
We know your time is valuable and any time you can spare for us will make a big difference. You could volunteer at a one off event or regularly, it is entirely up to you.
If you don’t see a volunteering opportunity to suit you then please get in touch because we could develop an opportunity just for you. If you would like to volunteer please download the application form and return by email to email@example.com