Happy Care Home Open Day Friends!

Homes across the country are celebrating Care Home Open Day today. This year’s theme is ‘Friendship’ focusing on “the importance of connecting with local communities, developing lasting relationships and encouraging intergenerational rapport.” Many of the homes Ladder to the Moon work with are participating.

As Head of Creativity and Connection at Ladder to the Moon, I hear stories every week about connecting with local communities, developing connection and intergenerational friendship. As part of our Outstanding Activities programme, participating homes receive a creative resource box every month, with sparks and resources to generate social engagement under a different theme.

Our Westerns Creative Resource Box (*please note: contents are potentially magic, trained magicians will see better results)

Our Westerns Creative Resource Box (*please note: contents are potentially magic, trained magicians will see better results)

The day one of these boxes was opened in a dementia unit the local preschool were on a tour of the home and they happened to walk in as the box was opened:

“I’ve never seen the children and the residents relax so much in each other’s companies.” Outstanding Activities participant

The children took the lead, ably demonstrating all our Ladder creative behaviours: being open, playful and curious!

“They just dove in; so spontaneous and unplanned.”

It’s incredible how much impact “encouraging intergenerational rapport” can have. One “rather stern gentleman”, softened when the Westerns box was opened and the school children happened to be passing.

“He’s only been with us a couple of months and now we know he can soften, he is playful, has wicked sense of humour; it has really opened up a door. If we’re having difficulty getting him dressed in the morning we’ll pop one of the westerns hats on and that’ll prompt that lightness and he’ll relax.”

One of our participating homes has set up a relationship with a local school where six children visit the home once a month for 3 months; then another 6 from the same class for the next quarter, leading to a party with the whole class at the home at the end of the year. Parties are a great way of acknowledging celebrating and building relationships with local communities. Happy Care Home Open Day everyone!

Outstanding Activities programme inspires positive changes to environment at Graham Care’s Hailsham House

Outstanding Activities programme inspires positive changes to environment at Graham Care’s Hailsham House

Activity Leaders participating in Ladder to the Moon’s Outstanding Activities programme receive a box every month containing inspiring resources. Every box has suggested activities, guidelines and top tips for stretch and success engaging residents, including those at risk of isolation, involving colleagues and the wider community. 

All our tips and suggestions, however, are the tip of the iceberg. The key to boxes’ impact is... 

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National recognition of Ladder’s expertise as our Outstanding Activities programme is declared a NAPA Recognised CPD Course

National recognition of Ladder’s expertise as our Outstanding Activities programme is declared a NAPA Recognised CPD Course

I’m delighted to share that Ladder to the Moon is now a NAPA Recognised CPD Provider.

Ladder to the Moon is also featured in the NAPA Training Directory, which will be distributed to all of the NAPA members with their magazine this month. The Directory only includes organisations that are known to NAPA and who aim to share and uphold their values:

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Outstanding Activities causes shift in staff from “resistance” to “expectation” at Norse Care

Ladder to the Moon believes that providing meaningful occupation for everyone living in care requires a whole service approach. Supporting this goal, I often hear about the challenge of enrolling and engaging colleagues. Staff are “not up for it,” “don’t see it as their job,” “task orientated,” “resistant.” When opinions such as these are first raised in a room on a Development Day, I often turn from the speaker to other participants and ask if this resonates. Usually this enquiry is met with assenting murmurs, even shouts.  

This was exactly what happened in a room in Kings Lynn on our Outstanding Activities programme six months ago. Aspiring life enrichment Leaders from three Norse Care homes had been on Ladder to the Moon’s Outstanding Activities programme for four months at the time. They were all showing tenacity in the face of different challenges in the workplace, but could all relate to resistance and cynicism from staff. 

Cut to six months later. The Outstanding Activities programme has inspired staff engagement, a tye-dying craze, home calendars, more trips out, visits to each other’s homes, staff interest, connections, contribution (including from residents who usually don’t), pantos, discoveries, tea ceremonies.

One home was sharing the good news of two members of staff expressing interest in activities provision, then went on to reflect that despite these seedlings of engagement, they are still facing resistance from staff. I turn to the room and ask if this resonates…

….... and I am faced with a thrilling silence.

Not this time! No, resistance from staff no longer resonated with the other two homes. Staff from High Haven reflected on being in "a very different place than six months ago: the culture of expectation has changed and staff have accepted that the new expectations around social engagement are here to stay."

When they joined the programme, there were many staff vacancies, team leaders back in the home were “not enthused” and one participant expressed no hope for change from her colleagues. Change, as it happened, was possible. It happened in less than a year. Given Creative Leadership, resistance can change to expectation.