The Friends of Oaklands support the work of the home. Situated within a residential area of Laindon, on the outskirts of Basildon, Oaklands Care Home is a purpose built 55 bedded care home offering Residential and Respite 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 Oaklands 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.
Dementia Cafe December - Oaklands
At this month’s Dementia Café, on 5th December 2018, Friends of Care Homes were excited to have hosted a large group of residents, along with any carers or visitors living with dementia, in the dining room of the care home.
The Dementia Café runs on the first Wednesday of every month where residents are joined with carers and visitors who live with dementia, familiar or new, and have a chance to gather around to catch up and have a chat about their fondest of memories.
Before the residents and visitors were invited in, Friends and staff members of Oaklands Care Home helped to set up a table full of multi-sensory equipment that the residents can enjoy, as well as a number of tables for morning coffee. These tables included 3 tier cake stands full of Mr Kipling cakes, mini mince pies and a selection of cupcakes, ready to be served with tea or coffee. There were also gingerbread men set out for the residents to decorate and show their creative side.
Once everyone had settled in the café, one member came along to play some Christmas carols with his accordion whilst everyone was enjoying their tea and conversing with each other. The minister from the local church was delighted to join the group to sing the lead in a number of hymns whilst a visitor was playing the keyboard, encouraging everyone to sing along with him in harmony. The residents happily sang along and some even from memory. This month’s café created a loving atmosphere, gathering everyone around just before Christmas time; the residents all left with great smiles on their faces, appreciative for all the help that was put into setting up the café.
Christmas festivities - Oaklands
This season, Friends of Oaklands are making sure that no one is left out of the Christmas festivities. To make the season a little warmer for the residents at Oaklands we delivered 12 bottles of prosecco for them enjoy. We wish all the residents and staff a very Merry Christmas from the Friends of Oaklands team.
Dementia Cafe 3rd October 2018
At this month’s Dementia Café, on 3rd October 2018, the Friends were delighted to host 17 attendees.
The Dementia Café is set up on the first Wednesday of every month at the Oaklands Care Home from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Local residents who may be struggling with Dementia are also invited to join the care home residents at this café, where they can seek support and advice.
A speaker named Alison arrived at this month’s event at the Dementia Café, she is from the Essex Wildlife Trust. In her speech, Alison talked about dementia-friendly walking trails in the local area near the Oaklands Care Home and described other ways of finding nature based recreation. This speech informed the residents, visitors and their relatives on all the benefits of making walking more accessible to those who are living with dementia.
The morning was finished off with a short piano recital, performed by one of the café regulars.
Oaklands Open Day
On Saturday 11th August, Friends of Oaklands held an open day for the residents’ family members and members from the local community. The day gave everyone the opportunity to look around the care home, get a feel of the atmosphere and to enjoy some quality time with the current residents of the Oaklands Care Home.
The open day created an exciting atmosphere as everyone had the chance to get up to something different and to meet new people from the community. It was not just any event; this day built a link between the community and Oaklands, bringing people together. “It is lovely to see that people in this community care about their older people”, one local resident expressed.
There were all sorts of activities taking place during the day, such as a visit from the Pygmy goats and baby chicks, which the residents and visitors particularly enjoyed. There was also a raffle that was set up by the Friends of Oaklands team for everyone who was there. As for lunch, everyone gathered around for a barbeque while there were stalls set out to sell homemade crafts.
As a result of this day, Oaklands’ residents had the chance to come out of their rooms to communicate and socialise with the visitors. This event not only gave the residents’ loved ones an opportunity to visit the place in which they stay in, but also benefitted the residents themselves as they got to meet new people. Overall it was a successful event which led to the recruitment of a new volunteer for the Oaklands Care Home.
Dementia Cafe - Oaklands
On the 2nd May, the Friends of Oaklands launched a new dementia café.
Consultation with local community highlighted that there was no similar service locally.
The care home generously offered their dining rooms and a venue, as long as it could be fitted around residents’ meal times.
The Friends team on the day included Catherine, Marie, Nichole, Chloe, Sydney, Julian and David.
The first job was to clear down the dining room for breakfast, and then setting up the room for the café. The Friends had to purchase the cakes, as well as napkins and cake plates. Additionally here was lots of literature to set out which had been donated by the Alzheimer’s Society.
There was a degree of “breath holding” to see whether anyone would come. Everyone was delighted when 11 people who had never been to Oaklands before arrived: a mixture of people living with dementia and their carers.
The final job of the day for the volunteers was to tidy up, and lay up the tables for lunch.
Catherine Wood, Chairman of the Friends of Oaklands said “We are very grateful to Hc-One and its staff at Oaklands, as well as the hard work of the volunteers. The project has been successful thanks to a grant from Awards for All, which has made the new initiative possible.” The Dementia Café will take place on the first Wednesday of every month between 10:30 and 11:30 am at Oaklands Care Home at Dunton Hills, Laindon, Essex SS16 6SX
Friends of Oaklands Care Home – Multisensory Equipment Project
Friends of Oaklands Care Home received a £1790 grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help to run a Multisensory Equipment project.
With this project, we will purchase a specialist sensory case for the elderly as a tool to exercise sensory perception. The case will include a variety of equipment for residents with dementia and those who might need some sensory stimulation.
The sensory case contains tools which will give the residents the opportunity to exercise visual, olfactory and auditory perception. Musical gloves will give the residents the opportunity to play music with ease and the fruits card game will allow them to recognise and match fragrances with fruits.
Additionally, cushions and armchair covers of various textures will constitute a tool to explore tactile perception.
The kit will be a chance to build a bridge between trained volunteers and the residents, form new meaningful relationships developed through leisure whilst simultaneously improving their physical health. Our volunteers will contribute to improving the lives of residents by exercising day-to-day tasks which involve sensory stimulation. Thanks to this project, residents will gain confidence in recognising textures, sounds and scents and, consequently, improve their concentration and memory.
The Multisensory Equipment project is one more step forward in making residents’ lives more enjoyable and meaningful.
Friends of Oaklands - Trolley Service
On 19th September 2016, Friends of Oaklands Care Home received a grant from the Award for All to launch a Trolley Service.
The service offers residents of Oakland care home a range of goods to purchase including books, music records, cards, toiletries, gifts, and sweets. The residents can make independent choices and treat themselves or their loved ones by choosing items from the “shop on wheels”.
Not only does Trolley Service respond to residents’ need of purchasing basic goods, but it also provides an opportunity to chat with volunteers on duty. Visiting the residents’ room on a regular basis allows volunteers to engage with residents and brighten their day with a chat. Conversation – a seemingly simple act – can make a great impact on an elderly person’s sense of well-being. The Trolley Service also captures some of the elements of life happening outside of the care home which residents long for the most. Incidental chit-chats resulting from the service stand a chance to become a beginning of friendships and meaningful relationships between residents and volunteers, allowing volunteers to play an active role in making residents’ lives more enjoyable.
NCS Summer Visits
In August 2017 Oakland’s was fortunate enough to have two teams of NCS (National Citizenship Service) students come in to volunteer with the home.
The aim of these projects was to further improve the garden areas of the home and for the students to spend some time socializing and entertaining the residents. Some of the students had never visited a care home before and were nervous to begin with, however after 3 days were quickly settling in and getting to know the home and its residents.
The area of the garden which the team focused on was to the side of the home which was a patch of land which had not been touched since the home had been built. Several of the resident’s rooms overlooked this neglected part of the home’s garden and none of them were very keen on it. The students worked very hard to ensure the ground was level, so that they could then plant new woodland shrubs and plants. Bird tables were assembled to attract wildlife and make the space more intriguing for the residents to look at. One resident had particularly identified this area as being a “sad sight” from her room. Unfortunately she was in hospital when the students visited but on her return she was delighted to see the difference.
In the afternoons the students spent time with the residents, talking to them, helping them with craft and hearing their stories. One group sang and some of the boys played snooker with a couple of the male residents.
The residents were delighted with the NCS visit to the home with one resident saying that ‘it was like a breath of fresh air”.
Friends of Oakland’s Visit
In November 2017 the Friends of Oaklands spent some time at the home with the intention of improving the front area of the home.
This is an area that had been overlooked during the work by the Fords volunteers and the NCS students’ visits but which is the first part that visitors to the home see.
The paths were jet washed, making it look like a completely new pathway and tubs of plants redone with a more appropriate winter theme. One of the residents came out to inspect the work and announced that she was very pleased with it. Several passing visitors also commented that it looked lovely.
Oaklands Christmas Table Sale
On Friday 1st of December the Friends held their table sale at Oaklands care home.
The key aim was to give residents who can’t go outside the chance to choose items for their friends and family. It was a lovely event which managed to raise £96.00.
Catherine Wood, Chairman said “It’s a lovely way to start the Christmas season. It is lovely to see the residents picking out things for family members”.
New Project - Friends of Oaklands- Trolley Service
The Friends of Oaklands are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our application to receive funding from Awards for All, to begin a new project at Oaklands.
This project will be a trolley service, with the aim to improve each of the lives of the 80 residents of the home. By setting up a trolley service it means that Friends can visit the residents in their room on a daily basis, to offer the option of buying items or just having a chat. Following from this, other activities will develop.
What happens on the trolley will vary: it may be sweets one day, toiletries, or books on another or even a theme for the holidays, for example Christmas. It will be an opportunity for the residents to treat themselves or a loved one, even if they are unable to get out to the shops. Even if the residents don’t wish to buy anything, the trolley service will encourage friendly chats on a daily basis and help to ease the loneliness and isolation that can occur.
Volunteers will be trained and will run the trolley service, to give the residents a chance to see new faces and make some new friends.
The residents will be encouraged to request items such as socks or toiletries, and the trolley will have some small freebies to give away.
After working at Oaklands Care Home for 18 years, Marie Pearson eventually retired in December 2014.
She left the care home with the intention of taking care of her husband and spending more time with their 3 young grandchildren.
After only a few weeks out of work however, Marie realised she missed the home too much and returned as a volunteer to see the people she once cared for full time.
Each Wednesday afternoon Marie feels as though she is returning to her work place. The difference is now she gets to spend her time enjoying tea and conversation with the residents that she now considers friends.
While Oaklands is a larger care home with upwards of 55 residents at a time, Marie takes her time to form a relationship with each person. While she does not know if the residents always recognise her due to the amount of people with dementia, she still continues to look forward to her afternoon conversations with each of them.
She spends a great deal of time with one couple in particular, Jack and Anne. While Jack suffers from dementia and does not always remember Marie, Anne always enjoys seeing her. The two women knew each other when they were young and often spend hours reminiscing about “when they worked together” and laugh about “what they got into.”
Marie feels it is her ability to relate to each resident that has helped her form long lasting relationships inside the home.
Many of the people Marie has met inside the home have made an impact not only on her volunteer or work life but on her personal life as well. Marie is extremely happy to have the opportunity to continue volunteering and plans to continue doing so for as long as possible.
Friends join in National Care Homes Open Day [16th June 2017]
The friends were delighted to join in the festivities at Oaklands to support National Care Homes Open Day. Marion, accurately guessed the weight of Milly, Winning a Large bottle of Champagne, and Sue won the prize for guessing Herbie's weight.
|The Friends set themselves a challenge…|
|26th & 27th May 2017|
What was it all about?
The Friends of Oaklands Care Home set themselves a challenge to see how much of a difference they could make for the residents over a 2 day period on 25th and 26th May.
Due to the recent development in community care, by the time residents come into a home they tend to be physically frail or suffer with memory issues. Many residents tend not leave home as their confidence levels aren’t high, and they just can’t face it. The home then becomes an “island of the old”.
The aim of the challenge days was to add value to the residents’ lives by creating different “destinations” within the home, and providing them with the chance, wherever possible, to lead independent lives.
Across the two days, four projects were proposed:
- Decorating the Dining Room
This was chosen as residents and relatives had previously commented that the dining room space needed to be freshened up. People wanted it to feel more like a restaurant.
- Overhauling the Courtyard Garden
Since the courtyard had first been created it had never had a spring clean and it was decided that a Zen garden as an addition would be a relaxing place for residents.
- The Rear Garden
To improve the use of the rear garden it was proposed to build a huge pagoda to provide shade for the residents. Additionally, painting the fences and putting in yards and yards of planting were on the agenda.
- The Trolley Service
To launch a trolley service that carries things like sweets, toiletries and books for the residents to purchase. This service is to encourage more choice for the residents, and a greater feeling of independence around how they live their lives.
How we did it?
The Friends could not have achieved all these projects on their own and so set about reaching people locally in the Laindon area. The Friends group were delighted to be supported by 20 members of staff from Fords, who split into groups to support the different projects.
In addition to a generous donation by St John’s Church, the Friends managed to raise around £3000 towards materials. The local Tesco’s store also supported this project, and very kindly donated flowers to be planted in gardens.
At this point, the Friends had all that they needed to start the job…
The time that would be required to complete the project was a bit of an unknown. The volunteers had set aside two days for this, and ended up being on site for the entire project. For the first day, volunteers were on site from 8am to 8pm, and on the second day from 6:30am to 8pm. The first day identified a need for some extra pairs of hands so the Friends made persuasive calls to get them!
Project One – The Dining Room
For the residents, the dining room is typically a very popular place to be. It’s used as a destination to catch up with each other over dinner, or simply to go to for a change of scenery.
The Friends looked at the dining room and wondered what they could do to freshen it up. They noticed that food has lost its interest for many of the residents so by making the dining room look more inviting, residents would be encouraged to spend even more time there.
The aim was to create a warm, comfortable and welcoming environment for residents. The Friends agreed to:
- Clear the room
- Repaint the walls so that the room is more bright
- Repaint all the woodwork
- Clean the natural woodwork and floor
- Replace all furniture and pictures
The stunning re-decorated dining room had a “restaurant” feel to it. It had cream coloured walls and tables laid out for residents to eat alone or with their friends and family.
Project Two – The courtyard
The Friends noticed that the front courtyard felt a little unloved and lacked vibrancy. They looked at the space however, and felt that it had heaps of potential to be brightened up.
They planned to have an overhaul at the courtyard and to create a ‘Zen Garden’ for the residents to enjoy. The group of volunteers who supported this project came up with a plan to make this ‘summer ready’, and for it to be a place where residents could frequently visit. This meant:
- Painting the fence panels, planters and benches green
- Having the floor jet sprayed with a pressure washer to take off dirt
- Having the ‘Zen Garden’ installed
- Buying a water feature and setting it up
- Having planters cleared and planted up
- Buying hanging baskets
- Placing cotswold chippings all around the garden
Some of the residents’ windows overlooked the garden, so the Friends thought it would be a fantastic idea to add flowers that were donated from Tesco’s to areas that were visible from the rooms. One of them had a bird table, and that was given a coat of paint too.
Having new flowers in a vibrant, well looked after courtyard means that the residents will engage in more outdoor activities. It will mean that they can really make the care home their home.
Project Three – The Rear Garden
The rear garden was the biggest of the four projects as it was about creating an exciting new experience for both the residents, staff members and volunteers. There was quite a lot of space in the rear garden, and had a lot of potential to provide facilities for all to enjoy.
The plan for the rear garden was to:
- Install the pagoda
- Remove raised bed in the centre of the garden
- Paint the fences, benches and plinths
- Plant flowers around the edge of the garden
- Put together kick boards at the edges of the flower beds
When installing the pagoda, the Friends were very fortunate to have a team of engineers volunteer to help them, who also happened to be very competent builders. They are used to working together on similar “challenge” projects. On day one around ten worked in the rear garden starting off by digging out the base for the pagoda and after two full days of hard work, the residents were presented with a very beautifully built pagoda.
Project Four – The Trolley Service
With help from volunteers, a trolley is now available for residents to purchase items; everything from sweets to toiletries, cards and gifts. The aim is to help residents feel supported, embracing independence by making a choice when purchasing an item off the trolley. This also allows them to have a chat and be in the company of a volunteer as they come to the room. Having a trolley shop will have a positive impact not only on the life of a resident but also the volunteers.
Friends of Oaklands Committee meeting
The Friends of Oaklands held their committee meeting on 20th January 2017
A bid has been submitted for funds to purchase mobile multi sensory equipment to help residents with dementia
Friends of Oaklands committee meeting
The Friends met on Friday 9th December at Oaklands Care Home
The Friends met on Friday 9th December at Oaklands Care Home to plan for Christmas and the January volunteers lunch. Bids have been submitted for multi-sensory equipment and an electric piano and we discussed also future bids that can be submitted to support the end of life befriending project. The Friends have purchased a present for every resident from the money raised at our recent table sale.
Friends get ready for Christmas
This year the friends groups at Oaklands, Larchwood, Horsefair and Amarna House are doing a table sale for the residents.
On 24th November, Wendy and Catherine got together to price everything. With over 500 donated items given mainly by Attend connections.
The aim of the project has been to enable residents who can’t get out to choose something to give their loved ones.
Friends of Oaklands Committee meeting and Volunteer get together
The Friends of Oaklands held their committee meeting and a volunteer get together on 21st October
The Friends were delighted to have the leader of a local church come on board as a new committee member. They are currently planning their Christmas table sale.
Following the recent successful bid to Awards 4 All we are now looking at other funders who may be able to help with purchasing mobile multi sensory equipment for the residents and also support a volunteer led end of life befriending project
The volunteer get together was well attended and there will be another event in January.
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.
New Service Funded
The committee of the Friends of Oaklands are delighted to announce that they have just been awarded funds to deliver a trolley service into each resident’s room.
It will take a little while to get set up, but hopefully will be fully operational by Christmas.
Friends bring Christmas to Oaklands
On Friday, the Friends held their first table sale at Oaklands.
Goods were donated, and prices kept low so that everyone could participate. Nothing cost more than £4.
Wendy and June supported some of the residents as ‘personal shoppers’ as residents were able to choose from a huge cross-section of gifts. Joyce said “It was lovely to be able to choose some little surprises for the family myself. My daughter has always done it for me in the past.”
Raising nearly £200, Catherine Wood, Chairman said “The first priority is to buy gifts for the residents, not least because some have no family or friends and get very little.”
Particular thanks goes to the staff of the home, especially Denise and Marion for helping make it all possible.
Additionally the friends gave mulled wine, Prosecco, mince pies and chocolate for everyone: residents, relatives, visitors, staff and friends
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 firstname.lastname@example.org