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Blenheim House Spring Blessing
At our Blenheim House Care Home in Melksham on Wednesday the 20th of March we welcomed a gathering of faith leaders from the community to celebrate the first day of spring. Along with our residents, the local ‘Bless Melksham Choir and Musicians’, relatives and some guests from our local community. They were all our guests of honour with a special thank you to Adrienne Westbrook the Mayor of Melksham.

After a wonderful morning listening to and singing along with the choir, we all joined Father Vincent and our other guests from other denominations in a joint Blessing for the home, it’s residents and the community, before sharing a wonderful lunch and a lovely catch up with friends. Thank you to everyone, a great example of how a community can come together. 

Is your loved one moving into a care home? Here are some ways to make them feel comfortable
Moving into a care home is a big step for everyone, but there are many ways you can help your loved one settle in. Take a look at some of our suggestions to see how you can help family and friends feel more comfortable in their new home. 

Decorate their room
Photos of loved ones on the walls, their much-loved ornaments by their bedside, even a splash of colour with their favourite house plant; a few simple ways to bring some familiarity to their new bedroom. Does your loved one have a particular chair that they always sit on to read the morning papers? Then bring it with them! This is their home, so if they want to bring familiar furnishings then they are more than welcome to do so.

Visit them
Make a real effort to visit them as much as possible. Seeing a familiar face, especially in those first few weeks, is so important and will help your loved one feel more comfortable; it also gives them something to look forward to, knowing that their family and friends are coming to visit. We don’t have structured visiting hours, giving you the opportunity to visit whenever you want. 

Help them socialise
Sitting with them in communal areas and helping them make conversation with other residents is the perfect way to help your loved one feel more settled, especially if they are quite shy. Building new friendships can be difficult, at any age, so be mindful that they may need some help gaining confidence.

Keep the routine
Encourage your loved one to carry on with their usual daily routine; they can still enjoy reading their favourite newspaper with a cup of tea, or partake in a spot of gardening. Staying with us means that they can still enjoy doing the things that make them happy.

At Blenheim House, we have an incredible team of people on hand 24/7 to offer our residents support and companionship. You can rest assured that we will help your loved ones settle in as quickly as possible, they’ll be enjoying their time with us in no time.

How music can help someone living with dementia
If your friend or relative is currently living with dementia, you will know all too well how important it is to try and evoke positive memories – and music is just one way to help achieve that. 

We all have that song or piece of music that triggers happy memories to come flooding back. And it’s no different for those living with even the most advanced stages of dementia, music is a tool that can be used to stimulate positive interactions.

According to AgeUK, music and singing is known to be a key feature of dementia care, unlocking memories and improving mood by accessing parts of the brain that other forms of communication just can’t reach.

By playing music during everyday activities, it has the potential to help a person recall the memory of that activity, which in turn could improve cognitive ability over time. It can also lessen distress during daily routine activities such as getting dressed. Playing meaningful music, such as a song from their wedding, or something they used to sing to their children, can tap into memories and emotions.

There are so many ways that music can help a loved one with dementia, not only by helping them connect with people around them, it can help them express feelings and encourage social interaction. It can also help with physical aspects and mobility, by encouraging dance and movement.

At Blenheim House, we have specialist teams to help our residents that are currently living with dementia. We offer specifically tailored activities and the highest standards of care in a safe and comfortable environment, offering support whatever stage they are at.

Five activities to do with your loved one
As you get older, it becomes more important to have an active life. It’s not just about being physically active, it’s about ensuring your loved one is getting a positive quality of life in their older years, from simple activities like watching their favourite film, to learning a new skill.

Here are five different activities you can do with your loved one, helping them to lead an active and fulfilled life.

Explore local community groups
Does your loved one enjoy a spot of knitting? Or have they always wanted to learn a new language? Go out and explore the community groups in your local area, it’s the perfect way to spend some time with your loved one, while giving you both the opportunity to learn a new skill at the same time. We regularly play host to community groups here at Blenheim House, get in touch to find out more.

Take a trip down memory lane get out some old photos. going through your loved one’s mementos will give them a chance to tell stories and relieve happy memories.

Get cooking
Were your loved one’s roast dinners a staple when you were growing up, or are their sweet treats legendary? Get them back in the kitchen and give them a chance to pass on their secret recipes to the younger chefs in the family.

Exercise together
Whether it’s a spot of yoga or an aerobics class at the local gym, exercising together will keep you both healthier, it’s also a great way to meet new people – which is very important if your loved one is living on their own.

Take on the gardening
Gardening is the perfect activity to do if your loved one enjoys being outdoors. Help them plant some seasonal bulbs and work together to keep their outside space looking beautiful.

The importance of mindfulness for older people
There are many positives to older age – and while life can still be as fun as ever, it’s important to look after your mental wellbeing. Mindfulness is a technique that can be practised whatever your age, through meditation. It can help a person become more aware of their thoughts and gives them the opportunity to manage them, and in turn helps eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. 

The National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) recommend mindfulness-based therapy to those who have experienced depression, and Cancer Research UK suggests that meditation can be used as a form of complementary therapy to help patients cope with the symptoms surrounding cancer. Using mindfulness techniques can also help those living with dementia, as meditation and breathing exercises can help people cope better with the anxiety, depression and the stress that dementia can often cause.

Yoga is another way to practise mindfulness. The gentle exercises and poses in yoga not only help with a person’s physical wellbeing, but the breathing techniques you learn during a yoga practise can help encourage a positive mental attitude, something that is so important as you make your way into your older years.

How to meditate
Mindfulness can consist of breathing exercises to help calm the mind and offer relaxation.

Here are some simple steps if you want to help a loved one practice meditation at home:

• Sit on a chair with your feet on the floor, arms relaxed either by your side or on your lap
• Gently close your eyes and focus on the breath flowing in your body.
• Continue to focus on your breathing, if your mind wanders on to other things, just guide it back to focusing on the breath.
• Carry on focusing on your breathing and you will eventually become calm. Stay in this state for as long as you like, most people focus on this for a few minutes, but it can be shorter or longer if you prefer.
• When you’re ready, begin to become aware of your surroundings, before opening your eyes and finishing your meditation.