Last month here at Gibraltar Nursing Home, we celebrated World Religion Day which calls for acceptance of all religions and were reminded of the comfort that it brings to many of the people living with us. Religion can be contentious for some, so acceptance of others’ beliefs is vital if we are to live together in harmony. Gibraltar have a policy of total acceptance, whatever a person’s beliefs.
Gibraltar welcomes religious figures of many different faiths, inviting them into the home regularly to interact with family members. An example of this being the Catholic bi-monthly communion which is held for Carol Kaseleht in her room, with Father Nicholas James from the St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Monmouth. Carol thoroughly enjoys this interaction, especially the “good conversation” they share. Father Nicholas agrees and feels “the interaction is important to Carol, she is a very interesting lady and I enjoy coming to the home and speaking with her.”
Carol has been living at Gibraltar Nursing Home since 2012 and is a practicing Catholic. “If you have to live in a home, this is a good home to live in” Carol says with a smile.
When talking with Carol you can see how important the communion is to her, Father Nicholas visiting regularly keeps connected to her faith.
Gibraltar Nursing Home supports and follows the message of World Religion Day, encouraging family members of all religions to continue partaking in their faith in the comfort of their home.
A move in to a new home can be stressful, but can also be exciting, at Gibraltar, we feel moving in to any new home should be a continuation of one’s life, we believe life shouldn’t change just because your new home is a care home.
Fiona Mirylees, one of our family members, moved in to Gibraltar Nursing Home in February. During the course of her first few weeks, the team focused on finding out Fiona’s likes, dislikes, favourite pastime hobbies, previous occupations and holiday destinations. If Fiona went on holiday prior to moving in to the home and she was able to travel, why not carry on with the same tradition?
One of the team members had seen an advertisement placed by Willets of Coleford, a travel company, who had partnered with the Queens Hotel in Paignton offering a 5-day “Turkey and Tinsel” break. Fiona showed an interest as well as some of her neighbours who live within the grounds in the Independent Living Village. So, plans were put in to action and Phil Hannant, Village and Home Liaison, along with 2 care team members supported 14 people, all from the home and Independent Living Village travelled down to Paignton for a fun pre-Christmas break.
The 5 days included a mock Christmas Eve with festive food and entertainment, then on the Tuesday, the group visited the beautiful Buckfast Abbey and later devoured a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and complimentary wine. Instead of taking ‘Boxing Day’ to relax, the group hired wheelchairs for those that needed support and went for a leisurely stroll along the sea front, taking time to embrace and appreciate the cool sea air and picturesque views.
Fiona had such a wonderful time, as did all, and was thrilled to be able to take the trip with friends. She said “to be able to go on holiday still whilst living in a home is wonderful, I’m looking forward to next year’s trip!”
Every Tuesday evening there is an Art Club held at Gibraltar Nursing home, part of the 95 bed Gibraltar Care Village in Monmouth. They use an innovative Household Model of Care which has been rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. This creates a homely, domestic environment for the residents, who are referred to as “family members,” around ten percent of whom, live with dementia.
Part of their model of care aims to keep everyone happily occupied, rather than sitting, doing nothing, and they do this by offering a range of activities that can be chosen from. Art Classes are on offer and they have proved to be popular. The weekly Art club is attended by not just the interested family members, but is open to the local community, too.
Fiona Mirylees is 73 and a regular at the classes and has been a Gibraltar family member for the last eight months. She is passionately interested in all forms of art, but particularly in her favourite medium, which is painting, using watercolours.
She told us “I think it’s a good therapy for me and I’m learning a lot. When I look at my most recent painting, a picture I copied from a postcard from the Isle of Skye, I can hardly believe that I painted it myself!”
These are extraordinary words, coming from a lady who admits she did not really want to live any longer when she first arrived.
“I’d been burgled, losing some irreplaceable family items and involved in a serious car accident, which had really knocked my confidence. Also, I didn’t really know anyone here, but within a few weeks of moving, I have made some very good friends. Now I’m glad I came here and look forward to each Tuesday evening. Art has been like a miracle for me.”
Fiona has several of her paintings of flowers on display in the communal areas of the home and cites Van Goth as her favourite artist.
“I love his pictures with his bold brush strokes and primary colours. I really like bright colours as they are more cheerful.”
Since moving to the home, last February, as her painting skills grew, so too did Fiona’s interest in reading and writing. “I used to be shy and terrified of everything, but art has really helped me to come out of my shell.” she admitted.
“Activities offered within care homes should play a central role” says Professor Martin Green of English Community Care Association. "Purposeful activities stimulate residents and improve their wellbeing. It’s important for all residents and particularly for those people living with dementia”
Louise Lakey, Alzheimer’s Society’s policy manager, says: “There continues to be a deep-seated pessimism about the quality of life that a person with dementia, living in a care home can have. Truly person-centred care can be achieved, if meaningful activities are in place that reflect the pastimes, hobbies and preferences of residents.”
The activities on offer at Gibraltar Nursing Home, such as gardening, music, day trips, playing games, watching films in their own cinema, or dips in the aqua-therapy pool, support their family members to be occupied, stimulated and engaged, which is an excellent way to maintain their quality of life. They also have other benefits, too, such as improving mood and reducing agitation.
To join or find out more about the Home and the Art Classes, speak to Gibraltar Nursing Home reception on 01600 775 800.