In this section you’ll find News on MHL activities; a blog with good practice stories from care homes across the UK (don’t forget to share your own stories!); info for press and our library of resources and videos.
News and Media
www.achoirineverycarehome.co.uk. Please help us spread the word!
Listen up My Home Lifers, ‘Live Music Now’ have created more fantastic resources for you to use in your care homes. New resources include videos, new research findings and toolkits to help both care homes and musicians perform more, higher quality singing.
‘Live music now’ through its research has found that regular live music can significantly enhance quality of life for older people living in care homes, as well as staff, carers and family members.
“Creativity and innovation are key ingredients in outstanding care homes, and regular singing and live music activities can help care homes positively address all five key questions our inspectors ask of care homes.” – Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
“A Choir in Every Care Home” is a new set of free resources to inspire and support care homes to engage with music. The project is a unique collaboration between 35 leading national organisations from adult social care, music and academic research. It is led by Live Music Now, Sound Sense and Canterbury Christ Church University, and funded by the Baring Foundation.
During the past two years, these organisations have worked together to investigate the growing evidence that singing and music benefits the elderly, and find examples of best practice. It includes surveys of over 400 care home staff and musicians, the largest ever review of academic research about music for older people, and its findings on quality assessments have been supported by the CQC itself.
“I know that the arts are really important to me in my life. I love going to the theatre, cinema and music. I don’t see why that should be any different when I’m old, or if I’m living in a care home.” – Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC
The latest resources from the project are being launched simultaneously on 20 September 2017 at the “Best Practice in Care” conference in Birmingham, and at the “Campaign to End Loneliness” event in London.
Consortium leader Evan Dawson of Live Music Now says: “We are all living longer lives, which should be celebrated, rather than feared. Later life should still be a time of exploration, creativity and happiness, even whilst living with dementia. The evidence we have seen demonstrates that music is an incredibly effective tool to achieve this, if it is done well. It needn’t be expensive, and everyone can benefit, including care staff and families. There’s nothing else like it!”
Of the research, Professor Stephen Clift says: “Taken as a whole, research on group singing for older people shows convincingly that singing can be beneficial for psychological and social wellbeing, and that it may be helpful in helping people to manage a wide range of health issues, including mental health challenges and physical health problems associated with chronic respiratory illness and Parkinson’s. It is clear also that singing activity can positively engage people across a spectrum of severity with dementia.”
“This is only the beginning,” says consortium partner Åsa Malmsten of Sound Sense. “Music is essential to our lives, and proven to benefit our mental and physical health, regardless of age or background. If the care sector embraces this, the evidence and resources we have collected could improve the quality of life of millions of people for years to come.”
Details and photographs available from Live Music Now : 020 7014 2829 : email@example.com
Great news! A new piece of research – The Optimal Study – shows how the NHS and care homes can work better together to improve the lives of those who live in them. It recognises that care homes are playing an important role caring for older people with very complex needs, including high levels of dementia and suggests that, going forward, care homes need to be viewed by the NHS as equal partners. One of the most important findings is that it takes time and effort on all sides to improve relationships. You can now feel more confident in asking for this time from NHS colleagues, as there is evidence that this will benefit your residents and the shared care that you give. Why not be courageous and share a short film of the Optimal Study https://youtu.be/bxgp8W-aPb8 with your NHS colleagues to open up a dialogue about ‘What is working well now in your relationship with each other?’ and ‘What more could be done to make it even better?’
Dear My Home Life Friends
If you love opera, stately homes and great company, it’s a must. If you’re not an opera buff, it’s the best introduction I promise.
On behalf of Davina’s Fund and the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action, to show our appreciation of what you and your organisations do, I invite you to an extraordinary afternoon that will enhance your quality of life!
6 Characters in Search of an Opera is supported by a range of UK care organisations and Skills for Care has just agreed for us to have their official backing.
Supported by UK care organisations, the opera is designed to entertain, bring joy and challenge societal attitudes towards the world of care.
Click on the following link https://youtu.be/Xc-jcMljuW4 to find out more.
The event will be held on Saturday 1st July 100pm to 9pm at Stockton House, Stockton, Wiltshire.
Dress: Informal but colourful, no Jeans.
RSVP to Annie Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org Or to find out more please email the My Home Life Team email@example.com
Part-time voluntary placement in a team promoting quality of life in care homes offering events organisation & communications experience
My Home Life has an exciting new volunteering opportunity. We are looking for someone interested in helping us to build and support the movement of people involved in taking forward our shared My Home Life vision of a world where all care homes for older people are great places to live, die, visit and work.
We carry out a broad range of activities that a volunteer could get involved in, but we’re particularly looking for support in communications and events. We can be quite flexible about time commitment, but it would be helpful if you were available for some hours on two days a week (based on feedback from our previous volunteers).
We are open to applications from people from all walks of life: from current students to retirees, and anyone in between. If you’re interested in some time developing your career plans and CV-building during your volunteering placement, we’d be happy to support that.
The placement is based in the School of Health Sciences at City University London. This is an unpaid voluntary position, though travel expenses from London Zones 1-6 can be covered on request.
This opportunity will assist you in gaining the following skills:
- Problem solving/Creativity
The organisation has indicated the following requirements from volunteers who want to take this opportunity:
- Good eye for detail; Excellent written and spoken English; Working knowledge of Office programs
If you’ve had a look around this website (www.myhomelife.org.uk), like what you see and want to arrange a chat about this volunteering opportunity, Please call Tom Owen 07910 198634 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Care homes play a vital part in supporting families, especially at times of transition. Working with relatives can be rewarding, complex and at times challenging.
The latest My Home Life bulletin celebrates the great work that managers and staff do to support families when they visit and offers some examples of good practice from relatives and staff.
Thanks for reading and please keep sending in your great stories!
How to make the most of mealtimes in care homes.
In our new bulletin we talk about food – everyones favourite subject. But, it is not just the food that makes mealtimes enjoyable. We asked care homes around the UK for their best practice tips for when it comes to creating a social mealtime, increasing appetites and involving residents, relatives and staff in decision making.
ALIVE IN ME – By Tudor Evans, Hengoed Park
I can still hear her singing
in her high, clear voice
humming around our house
two streets from the colliery,
riddling the ashes
from the stove in the scullery.
I can still feel his strong arms around me,
carrying me to the mine
to lie by the huge fan, 28 feet tall,
the lungs of the pit,
to cure my whooping cough.
My Mother, my father,
They’re alive in me.
I see her young,
glossy hair marcel-waved,
in her yellow twin set with the nipped-in waist,
laughing, joy blazing out
like a firework flaring
I remember him at my bedside
His big hands placing the candles,
To drive my nightmares away.
Still keeping me safe, they’re alive in me.
Writing ‘Alive in Me.’
Deb Llewellyn, creative writer, told us about how she worked with Tudor to create the poem ‘Alive in me.’
“For the last two years I have worked as a Writer in Residence for Age Cymru, in two care homes in the Swansea Valley. I listen to the residents and work collaboratively with them to form their words into poems – sometimes based on stories and memories, sometimes in response to stimuli such as paintings, photographs and objects.
It was in Hengoed Court, Swansea that I met Tudor Evans, and it was a privilege to write this poem with him. We wrote it over the course of several individual sessions. Tudor shared his memories with me of growing up in the mining town of Grovesend near Pontarddulais. His father was a miner and we spoke at length about his work.
As a young boy, Tudor caught whooping cough and his parents feared for his life. One night Tudor was struggling for breath, and in desperation, his father carried him to the enormous fan which circulated air throughout the pit. He believed that being in this strong air current would allow Tudor to breathe. It worked, and Tudor recovered. The vivid childhood memories that Tudor has of his parents form the core of this poem. Writing it was his act of tribute to them.”
What makes a good care home?
Mum never wanted to go into a care home; she used to say “they are all full of old people sitting around sleeping.” She based this on her visits to ‘old people’s homes’ when she used to entertain them as a member of her local church club choir – when she was in her eighties!
Her memory was deteriorating, and it was becoming more obvious that despite the home care she was receiving in addition to the many hours of family care, this was not enough to keep her well and safe at home.
We found a lovely care home. I was given a ‘fob’ to open the front door and I was told this is your Mum’s home, so come and go as you please; just visit her like you did before.
Mum was so happy, she had her own room, personalised with photographs and memorabilia, she had her own TV and her daily newspaper delivered.
She went out in the minibus, she enjoyed activities, she had her hair done, and her feet! She was also able to attend a church services on Sunday which was very important to her. There was such a friendly relaxed atmosphere, no set meal times or routines, everything revolved around how people were and what they wanted to do and at what time. Person-centred care at its very best. Mum enjoyed many impromptu sing-a-longs, and an old film on TV or making cakes, which were then eaten for tea. She loved hats and beads and would select a hat and beads from the coat stand in the corridor whenever she passed by I never knew what she would be wearing on her head when I visited!
The wonderful staff knew Mum so well, her likes, dislikes and little foibles; they treated her with compassion, devotion and humour.
There were phone calls on days when Mum was having a really good day, very bright and alert and staff wanted me to know so that I could visit her and enjoy this.
So many things that made a difference; when Mum went off her food, a carer went out and bought a variety of snacks which were then left for her to eat at will and when Mum returned from hospital following a fall, carers were able to rehabilitate her and get her walking again where the hospital had failed.
At the end of her life Mum became weak, spending much of the time asleep. During that time she was never alone, and everything was done to keep her comfortable. The last days of her life were calm and serene; she was cared for by carers who knew and loved her and this gave me great comfort.
Many thanks to Marianne Manser for sharing her story.
“I am taking out sharing, friendship, and continuity of My Home Life Suffolk – lets meet again”
These were the words of one care home manager who, along with 20 others, attended a day together last week to celebrate the completion of the leadership support programme and to explore how they can continue the momentum in Suffolk.
This impressive group of managers have taken great strides in leading their homes to deliver quality of life and are now associates of the My Home Life national movement.
Congratulations to these managers in Essex who have completed the first Domiciliary Care Leadership Support programme with My Home Life. We have loved working with these great people who have and continue to do amazing work in promoting quality of life for our frailest citizens.
If you’re interested in the Leadership Support programme or the other packages of support MHL offer, visit our Working Together section.