How one care home is supporting residents with mental health and wellbeing as well as care
A new partnership between NHS England and Age UK reveals that more is being done to offer mental health support to older people.
The partnership was set-up after new research discovered that in the UK, six in ten over 65s have experienced depression and anxiety, yet more than half did not seek any help because they felt they should “just get on with it”.
Pine Martin Grange in Wareham reveals how they inspire positive health and wellbeing amongst their residents.
As the family liaison manager at Pine Martin Grange, Lorrain Puckett supports people’s decision to move into a care home, making the process as stress-free as possible.
Talking about her role, Lorrain said:
“There is a common misconception that moving into a home will have a negative impact on wellbeing, when in fact, it can have the opposite effect. Many of the ladies and gentlemen that come to us have previously been living alone and long for companionship. Moving into Pine Martin Grange offers them the chance to be part of a community, to make new friends, to socialise every day and to take part in activities they wouldn’t necessarily take part in if they were living at home.
“My role is to help the ladies and gentlemen live a fulfilled lifestyle, something that is extremely important when it comes to maintaining a positive mental attitude. Getting to know the residents personally and what they enjoy doing enables me to ensure this next chapter of their life is truly enjoyable.
“We regularly take part in activities, visit the local area, socialise and eat together, all of which is essential for the wellbeing of our ladies and gentlemen. We have a fabulous range of activities which we tailor to suit the interests of those who stay with us, from music sessions to book club and bridge night – we even took one resident sailing! Everything we do is to ensure our residents stay happy and engaged.”
Lorrain strongly believes that staying connected with your local community is an equally important aspect of positive mental health.
“For our ladies and gentlemen, it is fundamental that they feel connected to their local area when moving into Pine Martin Grange. Whilst we aim to create a strong sense of community within the home, it is just as important to feel part of the wider community. My role is to ensure that strong links are built with the local community. We regularly have visits from local musicians, charities and community groups and even run a weekly lunch club with the local primary school, bringing two generations together.”
For anyone considering a care home, either for themselves or for a loved one, Lorrain’s advice is to visit a few different homes to find the one that makes you feel most comfortable.
“As much as it is about asking the right questions, I think what’s most important is how you feel when you walk into the care home. The atmosphere, the staff, the other residents and how they interact can tell you all you need to know.”
Caring for the wellbeing of others is a role that extends to the families as well as the residents at Pine Martin Grange, explains Lorrain.
“Family members must sometimes make the difficult decision to move their loved one into a safer environment if they are no longer safe in their own home.
“This is often the case when a loved one is having lots of falls or has been diagnosed with dementia.
“It can be a very difficult situation for the families who are often conflicted about the decision to move a loved one into care and may themselves be struggling with the dementia diagnoses. Our job is to support them in their decision, offer help and advice and to look out for their wellbeing, just as we would with our residents.”
Lorrain was recently recognised for going above and beyond in her role at the ‘Dormy Awards’, a ceremony organised by the owner of Pine Martin Grange, Dormy Care Communities. Presented with the ‘Community Engagement’ award, Lorrain was delighted to be recognised for the work she does on a daily basis.
“It made me feel extremely proud, not only of what I have achieved but to work for Dormy Care and be part of such a fantastic team,” she said.
“Pine Martin Grange is really one big family.”
As her award demonstrates, Lorrain takes her role in the care industry seriously and it is comforting to know that those of us who will eventually grow old will have both excellent care and mental health support.