Remembrance garden opens at Birch Green

Skelmersdale care home Birch Green has unveiled a colourful new Rose Garden of Remembrance.

The purpose built care home, which provides high quality nursing and residential care for 74 older people, has established the rose garden to provide a comforting area for people to use to remember their loved ones.

Ken Nolan, chairman of Springhill Care Group, operator of the home, was on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the facility, joined by Birch Green general manager Catherine Shawarby, residents, and Ron Stoneley and Eric Newall whose late wives were both residents at the home.

The garden has been opened to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week, an annual event run by the Dying Matters Coalition, a group dedicated to promoting public awareness of death and bereavement. Staff at Birch Green are promoting the concept of ‘Living Well’ and breaking the taboos about talking about end of life issues.

General manager Catherine Shawarby said: “The garden is designed to allow people to walk around, sit in quiet contemplation, or sit and chat with friends.

“We designed it to be an enjoyable place to while away the hours, or simply to pass through.

There is also room for people to place a rose to remember a loved one, a small memorial, or even a butterfly to join our collection on the wall.”

Maritime museum visit for Birch Green residents

A group of residents from Skelmersdale’s Birch Green Care Home went back to their roots recently with a visit to Liverpool.

The group of eight, all of whom were from Liverpool before taking up residence in Birch Green, took in sights including the iconic Liver Building on their way to the Albert Dock where they spent time touring the Maritime Museum.

The visitors enjoyed exhibitions including a special display of the Titanic and its connections to the city, and trying on costumes relating to the period in history.

Karen House, activities coordinator at Birch Green, said: “Everyone had a great time, and were happily reminiscing about their time growing up in Liverpool.

“Two of our residents had spent time in the Merchant Navy when they were younger, and the docks brought back memories of ships coming and going. Another had fond memories of meeting his father, a worker on the docks, after a day’s shift had finished.

“Liverpool is a great destination and the visit was truly worthwhile, with plenty of smiling faces and stories being told during the day out.”



Horse whispering!

A Lancashire care home rang to the sound of horse’s hooves recently thanks to a special visit.

Birch Green Care Home in Skelmersdale had arranged for a visit by miniature horses Indiana and Jenson, just 34 inches tall.

Residents with past equine experience and connections were invited to interact with the animals first including Bill Wright, a former horse owner who fed them carrots before recalling some of his experiences.

Resident Barbara Roberts, who has a share in a race horse, joked that the tiny animals would be too small to win many races!

The visit had been organised by staff member Christine Bullen through friend Steve Lafferty, the owner of the horses.

Residents inside and outside the home got the chance to meet the horses as they were led inside to the television lounge, and staff and family members got in on the act to get to know them.Christine Bullen said: "Being around these lovely animals who were so well behaved was of real therapeutic benefit for the residents and we’ve had some great responses to the activity.”


They’re off!

Residents at Birch Green Care Home got into the spirit of the Grand National recently with a special celebration event.

Keen to recreate the atmosphere of the Aintree event taking place elsewhere in Merseyside, residents, family members and staff at the Skelmersdale home were all invited to join a sweep, and special hats and fascinators were the dress code of the day.

The party atmosphere at the home was completed thanks to sherry and lemonade, and fresh cream strawberry cup cakes.

Thrilled staff member from the EMD unit, Elaine Delooze picked eventual winner Neptune Collonges, and resident Billy Murray – a former horse owner himself – came in second place with Sunnyhill Boy.

All profits from the event have been donated to the resident fund.

Lifestyle survey helps shape activities at Birch Green

A unique portrait of life at Birch Green in Skelmersdale has been created after residents were surveyed about life in the care home.

Information from The Residents Lifestyle Survey has now been collated to help plan future activity.

The survey studied six specific areas of life at the home: entertainment, themed events, family support and resident lifestyle, community links, trips out and in-house activities.

It was designed to give a snapshop of the views of residents regarding their lifestyle, to look back at their experiences and opinions, and to identify future planning needs. Visual aids were available to help residents recall past activities and events.

Results showed that entertainment at the home had been very popular, with comments including: “I’ve only been in the home a few months and looking forward to everything on offer.” When asked about the type of entertainment they would like see in future, a majority of residents said they would like to see a comedian. Themed events were also very popular, particularly those held at Christmas.

Of trips out to local attractions, the most popular was found to be Martin Mere with the Imperial War Museum second. Suggestions for future visits including a steam train ride and Liverpool’s cathedrals.

Traditional activities within the home also scored highly, with the most popular activities including a quiz, time spent in the garden, shopping and sing-alongs.

Residents were also quizzed about the type of family support they had experienced, reporting back that they had enjoyed family parties within the home, a trip out with a family member or a meal.

Karen House, who led the survey, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in the research, which has already proven very useful.

“The results will help to shape care at Birch Green for some time to come, and it has been a useful and productive exercise for everyone.”


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Contact: General Manager - Phillippa McGrath

Birch Green Care Centre
Ivydale, Birch Green
Skelmersdale, Lancashire WN8 6RS

Tel: 01695 50916
Fax: 01695 51301
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