Christmas at Belmont

Thank you to Homebase for donating our 7ft Nordic Christmas tree to our home last year! They ran a community project where five local projects in Bodmin were eligible for a free Christmas tree, although there were only five places, we were lucky enough to have one! One of our colleagues had told us about the project, and we were more than happy to engage. We decorated the tree, with some of the residents, and we used it as great tools for reminiscence therapy. People loved the look, feel and smell of the real tree! On the 12th December, we had our annual Christmas and golly; it was a very merry success! We had lots of fun playing pass the sprout, singing carols, having a dance to some Christmas music. Marion, our Chef, had made lots of festive delights and the residents loved eating some Christmas Cake and having an excellent hot mulled wine! We had a raffle going, and there were lots of fantastic prizes won, and even had a ‘guess the Christmas cake weight’ competition. It weighed 4.7kg, and a family member had won it! She guessed 4.3kg, so she wasn’t too far off! Well done to her! 

Christmas day was also a day of fun. The day was made so special by the residents, and the team loved spending the special day with them! Residents, colleagues, family and friends all had a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, cooked by our chef Jason. The Residents of Belmont enjoyed opening their Christmas presents from the Belmont, this year we wanted to give the gift of sentiment, so everyone had a wooden engraved photo frame. They seemed to love it and appreciated the thought!

We had a fantastic Christmas and December was a very busy month for Belmont!

Family and Friends Meeting

Belmont had our first family and friends meeting of 2020! We had lots to discuss, and we have an excellent turnout. Some were unable to attend, so they contributed via email and phone! It was a fantastic meeting, and we made some exceptional progress! 

Our agenda was quite in-depth, and we discussed some essential things that are coming up for 2020! As Belmont is a specialist dementia nursing home, family and friends input is vital as they provide in-depth knowledge and information about what our residents like. Once they make the preferences, we then present ideas to our residents, so that they are not overwhelmed with choice. The purpose of this meeting is to keep family and friends of Belmont updated with progress for them to make ‘preferred initial options’. The residents then can be supported to make the final decision. 

At this meeting, we were missing the sunshine, so we brought it back to Belmont and discussed the summer menu. Our Chef Jason made a tapas type lunch where we got to trial and tasted some of the choices for the summer menu. The deconstructed lasagna bowl and quiche Lorraine was a massive hit! We shortlisted for our meaningful activity coordinator; we’ve picked some potential names for the residents’ wings’, and some dementia friendly colour schemes to enhance the residents’ environment. We’ve talked about future plans and even established a team of individuals who will help with the recruitment and interview process going forward.

We deem co-productive relationships with residents, family, staff and friends essential and at the heart of everything we do at Belmont. We pride ourselves in working in a genuinely person-centred way, and with our residents’ wishes and well-being at the forefront of everything that we do!

 Thank you to all of our attendees and feedback from those who couldn’t attend! Next step: Residents meeting to sign off the recommendations!

Piano donation

Research suggests that listening to music or singing along to songs provide emotional and behavioural advantages for people with dementia. Musical memories are often maintained in dementia because the areas of the brain that links musical memory are often undamaged by the disease. Belmont Nursing home specialises in dementia nursing care, so we do anything we can to support people who have a diagnosis of dementia. We have a can-do attitude, so when we saw that someone was giving a piano away on social media, we snapped up the chance. We consulted with our residents who were really keen on the idea, and some reported to us that they had a piano when they were little, so that was our answer! After a conversation with Cornwall Salvage, they donated us the piano and even delivered it to us! The piano is a George Roger’s piano, and it now is in our lounge! 

The deep mahogany colour and noise from the piano provides an excellent reminiscence tool to our residents as it reminds them of memories from when they were much younger, we have encouraged some to play it, and family and friends alike! It appears that everyone knows how to play chopsticks, so at least it is a tune that everyone knows! We have sent out an appeal to the local community to see if anyone would like to come and play, so watch this space! 

We are so grateful to this local business for donating this piano and can not wait to see it being used in full swing! 

Robotic Pets

People with dementia can find caring for an animal to be a source of support and stress-relief. A person living with the condition can also benefit from companionship and friendship from keeping a pet and may provide a sense of purpose. But there may come a time when the pet’s owner is no longer able to look after them. It’s hard to know whether keeping a pet is the right choice. Many people with dementia benefit from comforting dolls or teddies or interacting with lifelike robotic animals. If a ‘fake’ pet brings the same calming effects as a real pet, perhaps that’s an option to explore first. (Alzheimer’s society) 

***Drum roll please*** At Belmont, we provide specialist dementia nursing care, and we strive towards person-centred approaches and creative care delivery if it means taking calculated risks in reducing a resident’s anxiety or distress. So naturally, we were thrilled when Plymouth University contacted us to be part of their research and trial project, assessing the benefit and the effects of robotic pets for people who have a diagnosis of dementia. 

New to 2020 we will be trialling them and reviewing the effects the therapy pets have on those people who feel stressed, anxious, having a diagnosis of dementia or mental health issue, or even for curiosity purposes! We will be feeding information back to Plymouth University who be coming to ask for feedback. We are so excited to be part of this project and cannot wait to update you on their progress!

We are lucky enough to be training a robotic cat and dog. 

Only the next question is, what do we call our new furry friends? Once we receive them, we will be running a little competition where residents, family and friends can choose a name for our pets. We will be asking for a 50p donation to guess the name of the pets, and the money raised will go into our residents’ comfort fund!