At Hallaton Manor we recognise how important a full, creative and varied Social Activity Programme is for our residents. Two social activities co-ordinators are employed together with visiting therapists. Research shows that certain activities can help to improve a residents’ physical and mental wellbeing. Our Social Activity programme is thoughtfully composed.
The aim of the programme is to build an individual’s self-esteem, confidence and self-belief so we never set tasks that are not achievable but encourage the resident to try new or old experiences and, where possible, take responsibility for an activity.
There are many therapies that are run alongside the Social Activity Programme and that are very valuable for residents who have dementia or mental health issues.
A purpose built building outside the home which is used as a hairdressing salon, nail bar and light therapy room. Reflexology, aromatherapy, Reiki and massage therapies are also given here, the residents being given a reminder card for their next appointment.
The benefits that animal therapy can bring to our residents are well documented. Animals can help to promote and improve speech and communication. For some, an animal can provide a trigger in the resident’s memory and a focus of attention that can lead to verbalisation in people who are otherwise aphasic. They provide friendship, create special bonds and they help residents to relax and reduce anxiety.
There are chickens, rabbits and during the summer months, two lovely Shetland ponies that roam the grounds of the home. A trained Pet Therapy Dog, owned by our Social Activities and Therapies Manager is a regular visitor to the home, providing warmth and friendship for less able residents, and physical exercise for those able to walk and play with her.
The residents take responsibility for grooming, feeding and even mucking out the ponies and taking them for walks around the garden. They also have the responsibility for collecting the eggs and putting the chickens away at night. These responsibilities help the residents regain a sense of worth, that they are being useful in caring for the animals.
THE HAPPY HORMONES
Seratonin and Dopamine are often labelled the ‘Happy Hormones’ as they play a role in increasing positive mood and emotions. At Hallaton, we endeavour to complement traditional medical interventions in treating depressive illness and low mood with natural and proven methods of increasing the production of these hormones: Light and sunlight; massage; exercise; nature and music.
Research has shown that light therapy can benefit patients suffering with depression. Certainly, daylight and sunshine can help to lift the mood, but in the darker months, we have found that our light therapy has benefited some residents.
Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Massage Therapies
We offer a range of holistic therapies to all our residents and have a visiting qualified therapist. Reflexology can be given alone in a quiet and restful environment or together with aromatherapy. Both these therapies have benefited residents most of whom are calm and relaxed during the sessions and lose any anxieties.
One of our Activity Co-Ordinator's is also qualified in Reiki and Indian Head Massage and we also offer hand and arm massage. All these therapies promote the production of serotonin and dopamine, enhancing well-being, relaxation and reducing anxiety.
Exercise is one of the best ways to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. Walking, jogging or a knock about football game in the grounds are encouraged and use of the exercise machines - rowing machine, ski walker, tai chi, cycling machine etc - located around the grounds increases aerobic capacity too.
Exercise assists residents to regain strength and movement that have been lost through illness or confinement and can improve cognitive function. Those residents whose mobility is restricted are offered armchair exercise and are enabled to access our outdoor facilities.
We are fortunate to be situated in the glorious open countryside of Leicestershire, so nature is on our doorstep. Walking and Talking Therapy outside the constraints of the building itself on a ‘green walk’ helps to reduce levels of stress, depression and anxiety.
Staff or key workers accompany residents who gain a sense of freedom and frequently unburden themselves, residents who have reduced mobility have access to safe and beautiful country lanes and can participate in country walks.
Singing is great for the brain; it relieves stress and research shows that singing stimulates multiple areas of the brain at the same time. This may enable people with an impairment in one part of the brain to communicate using other areas of their brain. Singing can also prolong the sounds in each word, which may make it easier to pronounce them. Very often, we have found that people who find it difficult to communicate verbally can sing a song that they knew in the past, perfectly, exercising the brain and giving the dementia sufferer great pleasure and a sense of satisfaction.
Musical entertainers come into the home and deliver a programme of music that is relevant to our resident groups. Residents join in, playing percussion instruments and singing and dancing. Music is available in many areas of the home through ‘Alexa’ and through a jukebox in the café/restaurant and CD players in the relaxation spa. Our Karaoke sessions are among the most popular social activities that are offered in the home.
Based upon our resident’s ‘social history’, we offer talking therapies, supporting our residents to talk about their thoughts and feelings and adapting the conversation to each individual.
Staff work with the resident to establish any concerns or anxieties they may have and the resident is given the opportunity to speak openly about their feelings, relationships and how they feel about their diagnosis. This has, in the past, helped in re-establishing and then maintaining a healthy relationship with their friends and family members.
We also provide sensory therapies for our residents with smell, touch and taste. We know that smells can bring back happy memories for people, sweet smelling flowers, home baking and freshly mown grass for example. Touching something soft like an animal is comforting and relaxing as well as tasting things that remind of us of happy days.
We promote lots of reminiscing therapies, such as holidays, days at the seaside, toys and games and home life from the past. We sometimes put on our own shows so we can take a trip down memory lane together.
Art and Creative Therapy
These activities give our residents the chance to be creative, helping with their own self exploration and can be a great way for residents who sometimes struggle to express verbally their emotions. Residents enjoy the moment and achieve something for themselves. Baking, knitting and crocheting, painting, making birthday cards and Christmas decorations are among the creative activities that can be pursued at the home.
Among our other activities we enjoy going out into the community and visiting a variety of different environments for shopping, coffee mornings, visiting garden centres, special interest sites such as steam railways, stately homes, nature reserves etc which gives the residents the opportunity to socialise in a different environment and bond as a group better. We also find that the more able residents take responsibility for assisting the less able, thus enhancing their sense of worth.
The home has the ambience of a family home, not just a care giving service.
The team at Hallaton Manor is committed to improving the brain function and well-being of our residents using natural and alternative therapies to complement traditional medical interventions. We hope that this will enable us to review medications taken by our residents with their doctors and, in some cases, reduce their intake over time. This in turn will reduce the side effects that residents can suffer from taking the medications.
We understand that not all of our residents will benefit from complementary therapies and careful monitoring is required to assess their effectiveness. All residents have the choice whether or not to participate and many have seen great benefits.
‘You are what you eat’ they say - there is a lot of research that suggests that this is very true when considering brain function.
Of course, any part of the body that is not functioning properly can affect how well our brain functions and can impact negatively on our mood, exacerbating dementia symptoms, depression and other mental illness. So, at Hallaton Manor, we are keen to provide a healthy, balanced diet that not only provides the right ingredients for better brain function, but also cares for the heart and intestinal function.
We use fatty fish in many of our meals. This includes Salmon, Trout, Albacore Tuna, Herring and Sardine. Fatty fish is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, major building blocks of the brain, sharpening memory, improving mood and protecting your brain against cognitive decline.
The brain uses Omega-3s to build brain nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory. Omega-3s help slow age-related mental decline and can help with Alzheimer’s disease.
Residents are encouraged to eat blueberries, a so called ‘superfood’. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that may delay brain aging and improve memory. Residents sprinkle blueberries over their breakfast cereals, or enjoy them as snacks. Our Chef adds them to smoothies which are offered to residents throughout the day.
Turmeric and its active compound, Curcumin, have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits which help the brain and joints. Research has shown that it has reduced symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin may help new brain cells grow and may help to delay age related mental decline. Other spices such as ginger and cinnamon are also well known for their health promoting properties and whenever possible, spices are incorporated into the meals provided for our residents.
We encourage residents to eat green vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, peas, leeks, lettuce, courgettes, celery, spinach, kale, watercress and coriander.
The majority of our vegetables are fresh and locally produced. Broccoli is packed with powerful plant compounds including antioxidants, it’s also very high in vitamin K. A few studies in adults have linked a higher vitamin K intake to better memory and cognitive status. Beyond vitamin K, broccoli contains a number of components that give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which may help protect the brain against damage. Leafy green vegetables help with memory loss.
Seeds and Nuts
A variety of seeds and nuts are provided as a supplement to the resident’s breakfast choice. Our staff are constantly vigilant for signs of allergy, but the health benefits of seeds and nuts are well documented and many have been labelled as super-foods.
They are rich in many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can have health benefits such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, reducing cholesterol levels and boosting brain and heart health. Some may have a positive effect on mood and depression and many are a great source of fibre.
Research has shown that eating nuts and seeds regularly could sharpen memory and brain function as they contain a host of brain-boosting nutrients including vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, niacin and Omega-3 fatty acids, to name but a few!
Hallaton Manor provides fresh fruit daily for our residents. Oranges, bananas, strawberries, apples and grapes and other seasonal fruits are available throughout the day. Fruits are also blended into smoothie drinks that are easier to consume for some of our residents.
According to one study, having higher levels of vitamin C in the blood is associated with improvements in tasks involving focus memory, attention and decision speed. Oranges and other fruits high in vitamin C can help defend your brain against damage from free radicals.
Residents are encouraged to eat eggs regularly and they are always provided at breakfast. Omelettes are also available at lunch and teatime. Eggs are a good source of several nutrients linked to good brain health including vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline.
Choline is an important micronutrient that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and promote proper brain function and development.
Oats are among the healthiest grains on Earth - they are a gluten free whole grain and a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.
Oats are metabolised more slowly than other grains. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits including weight loss, controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of heart disease. Oats are provided every day at breakfast in the form of porridge or oatmeal.
You can view or download copies of our 'Natural and Complementary Therapies' booklets here:
Social Activities - view, download, print
Nutrition - view, download, print