The Colour of our mind

Where am I? Have you heard this question a lot whilst working in a residential home?

This question is asked usually by someone who is walking around the home and feeling lost, when you ask if they are fine or if they need anything. The most common answer is they are looking for their bedroom.

Grenham Bay Court has recently decorated one of the corridors and we have decided to make the doors in different colours. Of course, we have asked the residents and some of their families to choose what colour they would like to have, the doors look like a front door of the house. We have successfully finished the project and the residents love it.

So, what is the benefit of having these coloured doors?

It is about colour and contrast, this aids someone living with Dementia or sight impairment to recognise an object or identify colour easily. We used a very light paint for the wall to contrast with the ‘bright’ coloured doors. You may have noticed some bathrooms have red colour toilet seat; this enables an individual to find the toilet easily when they need it. Another example is using red plates and utensils to aid with eating and drinking.

Is it important to have this in place?

How can this make a difference or help someone?

When we age, our brain is not able to perceive what the eyes see and often misinterpret things around us. This can add more confusion for someone living with Dementia. The use of different colours particularly those that contrast, has been proven to make life easier for people who are living with Dementia.

There are number of ways to use colour and contrast to make life easier for someone who is living with Dementia. I have mentioned a few above which are proven to be helpful. But these colours do not only help to keep the environment safe and aid with making life easier, colours also have impact on mood and feelings. For example:

Blue – cool colours like blue make a room feel bigger, and have a calming and restful effect, so they are often used for bedrooms and quiet areas.

Green – this earthy colour is associated with growth and life and is thought to reduce activity in the central nervous system and help people to feel calmer.

Red – This warm colour has the opposite effect to blue, making  a room feel smaller so it is often used for rooms that are cool in temperature. It is also a highly stimulating colour which is often used in activity areas to increase brain wave activity and stimulate the production of adrenaline.

Orange – Another warm colour with similar properties to red. Orange is also an earthy colour so is often used in natural environments.

Yellow – This is another stimulating colour which is used in activity areas to increase brain wave activity. Stimulating colours are good for someone living with Dementia as they can trigger memories and cognition function.


– Rubyrose

Alexa – You’ve got a friend in me.

Like many providers we are faced with an all familiar question.

How can we ensure people don’t spend all their time in their rooms – feeling lonely? Especially when they chose to do so?

We provide 1 to 1 sessions with our activities team and staff will be regular visitors but we still had an overwhelming feeling of ‘is that really enough?’

The Alexa project was born with these feelings and questions in mind, can technology help engage people spending the majority of the time in their rooms. Can we battle loneliness for people who don’t use the communal areas?

Our project involved two residents with Echo spot devices as well as WIFI plugs and WIFI light bulbs to also give control of the environment for people living with physical limitations.

We also added Echo spots to the manager, kitchen, Office and even to the care station. This enables the residents to video call any of these devices for specific reasons like asking for assistance from our care team or ordering lunch from the kitchen and sometimes even checking the managers are doing the things they should be.

Not only could they contact the different team and areas of the home they could contact each other, like a digital ‘pen pal’ which was supported by our activities team.

It was amazing how quick the residents began to learn the functions available through Alexa and how much they loved to show everyone what they had learned and what they can do.

Any project like this can only be measured by the impact it has on the resident, the feedback was so positive, both had stated that Alexa made a difference to their day to day lives.

The next phase to the project is to add more Alexa’s to our network for residents to use and to continue to add further aids to the environment that can be voice controlled by Alexa, the possibilities are endless.

Who said technology could never support health and social care?


A Housekeepers Therapy…..?

We tend to label everything these days…Occupational housekeeping therapist I hear you say. Sounds intense right!?! But let me tell you the truth about a day within our role here at Grenham Bay court residential home.

Upon entering the many rooms within this building there are many people who are just like me and you. Who once, not so long ago went about their days working, running a house, being a mum/dad, simply living there life as we do. Yet we all need to slow down eventually and this is where we come in..

We don’t want their independence to fade away, We want to encourage and promote the dignity of our residents. We aim to help keep the normal parts of life that we take for granted everyday…the simple things we do such as washing can help a resident remember life at home with their families. Wiping down a table can trigger memories of family meal times. These simple tasks can help a person remember who they are.

Our Head housekeeper Helen assists residents with their own laundry, Simply folding sheets/towels with a cuppa and a chat encouraging them to do as much as they can for themselves. This promotes independence as well as helping residents keep physically fit by using there upper body strength. Sharing this one on one time with residents helps them to release tension built up either through illness or from adjusting to a new surroundings by keeping their minds occupied by being busy and being able to to talk.

Within Helen’s team the other housekeepers encourage daily occupational therapy through general cleaning which provides a chance for the residents to take part in house keeping duties from wiping down tables to polishing, hoovering and mopping. This helps to stimulate people’s minds and maintain dexterity. It helps give them a sense of meaning and to feel useful. The chats and the laughs go a long way too 😊


Jessica Roberts

Jessica –

Occupational housekeeping therapist


Greek Night @ GBC

Greek Night

We started doing theme night here at GBC as an outcome from a resident/relative meeting that we had months ago. We started with the Pie and Mash Night which was a success although we had mixed feedback from staff, residents and relatives. This evening, 16th December 2018, we had a Greek theme night, we had invited Mr George Demetriou, husband of our very own MD to cater for the residents and the relatives who would want to join in.


I myself love Greek food and the smell of it whilst cooking made me think, I must try it. So, I have decided to stay on after my shift. I joked around and said I should be served as well, then I thought, maybe I should sit with them and experience it as well as gather feedback to find out what impact does this theme night with the resident’s well-being have. So the plan was to sit with the residents and join them whilst they eat and have a chat with them, unfortunately the table was fully booked and there isn’t any space for me, so I helped the staff served instead and took the opportunity to go around and ask how was the food as well as to see the residents who have decided to stay in their rooms.

The ambiance was great, the activity team had decorated the dining area with Greek flags as well as centrepiece on the table, Greek music was playing in the background. Our activity co-ordinator has started serving the food by allowing the residents and guests to imagine what it would be like being in Greece.


The starter was appetising and as we served them, I heard mixed reactions already, and when they started eating, I watched their reactions, and as expected, some have liked it and some, not so much


The main course was the same reactions, although some who did not like the starter, had enjoyed their main and vice versa.

They had a bit of cake with some tea or coffee after, chef George joined in where MD and the rest of the family are sitting, he did some Greek dancing which is quite impressive. The residents had commended the chef for all the effort and of course for a lovely meal.

I continued to ask the residents and guests regarding their experience of the food and event, to find out what impact on their day-to-day living this random theme night that we do occasionally has had. During the meeting, when one of the residents suggested this idea, he thought this will be nice and of course taking this on board, we thought, yes, this will be nice. I was not on shift when the Pie and Mash Night happened, so I did not really get much out of it but after talking to few of the residents today, I have learnt what they feel by just having this Greek food tonight. One resident DD has said,” this brings back memory when I used to go out with my friends to London and we eat in a Greek restaurant which was really good”. Another lady WG has said, “Oh, I love Greek food and I used to make this years ago”. She has also mentioned about few fond memories. Knowing that this had an impact in a way of bringing back some old memories and reminiscing the past and looking at how they enjoyed the night makes a difference.

What about for those who did not quite enjoy it? They have honestly said that they have not tried it before and two of our dear residents commented that if these are the food they eat in Greece, then they will never go to Greece at all whilst laughing. The residents who did not like the food were never a fan of trying something else and have always chosen the traditional English food, so we talked about their generation and today’s generation. They openly discussed how a lot of restaurants from all over the world are just everywhere where as before it was rations and all other traditional food that they eat. As PJ said “It was plain and simple” unlike nowadays they serve too much on a plate. Overall, they had fun trying new dishes but may stick to being simple in the future.

It was lovely knowing how an evening like this can make a difference with the resident’s lives. Whether it was bringing an old memory back or experiencing new things out of their comfort zone or even just something to talk about. This evening will surely be part of their lives and giving them a good quality of life by allowing them to experience Greece in the comfort of their own home.



The Impact of the Intergen project.

The Birchington Primary School Intergenerational Project with Grenham Bay Court.


It was way back in the Summer holidays 2016 that I first met with Luke and Anita from Grenham Bay Court Residential Home.

It was a really interesting concept……bring your primary aged children to the residential home and let them mix and play games with the elderly residents.

It was a concept that was already being trialled in other countries and it was proving to be very successful.


So when we first started coming along we enlisted the help of the Year 4/5 pupils and later we asked the Year 3 pupils to attend.

The result was fascinating. We discovered that our pupils had a ‘natural talent’- they were children and the residents wanted to engage with them!

Many of the residents have been parents and they instantly took notice, chatted and wanted to share their time with our pupils.


We have been in quiz teams, worked on life stories, chatted and played ‘The Cheese Game’, helping teams score points by throwing bean bags into a giant inflatable cheese slice.

“Easy”,  I hear you say….not as easy as you think. A wonderful way to get hand eye coordination working for all the participants- and the residents are not as ’slow’ as the children think!

Some of our children were a little reticent to begin with but by the end of the first hour session they were very keen to come back for their next and final session.

In fact so many of the children have asked to go back again and have another turn.


The children learn to be quiet when they play a game and take turns, to listen to ideas that are not their own, to introduce themselves and say goodbye politely and best of all to share a plate of biscuits; thinking about others before themselves.


We have seen the residents grow in confidence and make relationships with our children and  we have watched our children rethink their view of the elderly.

We have been delighted with the results of this intergenerational project and I know the residents have too.


Kate Callaway

Assistant Head/Inclusion Leader






In normal breathing we take in oxygen and carbon dioxide from the air, use the oxygen for body processes and breathe out carbon dioxide, leaving a balance in our bodies.  When we exercise we breathe in more oxygen to help with the extra demands on our bodies, but breathe out more carbon dioxide so we retain balance.  Stress and anxiety cause us to breathe differently. We tend to breathe faster from the top of our lungs, taking in more oxygen but not releasing as much carbon dioxide as we are taking in.  The imbalance is what makes us feel light-headed, dizzy and tingly, and clammy and sweaty.

Anxiety and stress can feel overwhelming and make us feel out of control.  Square   breathing is conscious and controlled breathing.  Breathing deeply in a controlled way gives us back the feeling of control of ourselves, and physically it balances the mix of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood and also helps to regulate blood pressure and heartbeat.  This breathing technique is used for yoga meditation and focusing the mind and is often recommended to people who have stressful jobs such as nursing and the police.
Here’s what you do – its so simple, you can do it anywhere at almost any time – and it works!
STOP! – focus on your breath – take 2-3 really deep breaths in and out. look for something square or oblong shaped – a piece of paper, your phone, the TV, a door frame – anything with 4 sides.⦁ Focusing on your breath –  INHALE slowly and steadily counting to 4 while tracing the top of the square with your eyes.⦁ HOLD your breath – count to 4 tracing down one side of the square.⦁ EXHALE slowly and steadily – count to 4 while tracing along the bottom of the square.⦁ HOLD the outward breath to 4 tracing along up the other side of the square. ⦁ Keep focusing on your breath and begin again. INHALE slowly and steadily counting slowly to 4 while tracing the top of the square. Keep going round the square until you feel calm.

That’s it! Your body cannot maintain those high levels of anxiety and stress if you are actively re-balancing the levels of acid and alkaline in your blood and square breathing.  You will feel calmer and find you can think clearly again.

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Anne AndersonCounselling, Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy1st March 2018

Top 5 Tips – Choosing the right home.

Top 5 tips on viewing and choosing  the right care home.

5. The People.
How you are treated on a visit is a good indication about the type of place it is, are you offered a cup of tea. Do staff look well presented with matching uniforms with name badges? Do they acknowledge you and look friendly?

This is a really important observation to make and is a really good indication to the professionalism and caring nature of a home.

How do the residents in the home present? Do they look happy, content and well cared for? Can you engage with them to get there opinion on the home as ultimately they would have a better insight into a standard of a home.

4. Activity and stimulation.
Modern care providers understand the importance of the emotional and psychological support people need to live a full and quality life.
Is there activities going on in the home? Are they meaningful and are people engaged?

Ask to see a planner and ask how many hours activities are provided, is this 7 days a week? Are one to one activities planned for people whom do not enjoy group activities? Is the planner personalised?

3. Food & beverage
Not only does food an drink hold great importance to sustaining life it also is a great opportunity to find enjoyment and social interaction.

Is there a menu on display? Does the kitchen clean? Is food homemade? Does it look appetising and nutritious?

Don’t be afraid to ask people In the home about the quality of food including other visitors, staff and residents as again you will get a real overview of the food produced.

2. Cleanliness and odours
For many this will be the first thing that is noticed when you enter a care home and you are greeted by the stereotypical smell that is so often mentioned.
On occasion, a rare occasion, this cannot be avoided in the short term but can be remedied long term by environmental changes and good housekeeping.
Again do not be afraid to ask what is on your mind…
Does the home look clean, are there malodours? How many staff are on the domestic team each day? How often can you expect rooms to be cleaned? What do you do about odours? Is the home well kept and in a good state of decoration? Does the environment look safe?

1. Does it feel right….
We have found the best advice we give too people is trust your instinct, It is a similar feeling to buying your own home or making a large purchase we don’t always go for the cheapest option or even the most economical but instead with the right feel and ambience. These tips should be an essential part of your search before making a firm decision but ultimately will come down to how a home makes you feel.


Further to the top 5 tip all homes will be regulated and inspected by the care quality commission (CQC) and all homes legally have to display their ratings.

Please find this really useful tool to prepare you for your visits.

Click to access fshc-care-home-visit-checklist.pdf



Halloween – A gentle appreciation

Like many at Grenham bay we held our ‘celebration’ of Halloween but instead of going all out with a full on scare mode, we instead gently ‘tipped’ our hat.

For modern day England this may seem a little morbid or underdone however we have just reason.

Halloween generally wasn’t celebrated in England until the late 1960’s and many of the people at GBC were deep into adulthood at that time. 

Many people of this generation have never celebrated Halloween due to this cultural indifference and some because of there own religious beliefs. I asked a lady today what her thoughts were on Halloween and she replied ‘we never celebrated Halloween in London when my family was young, it’s more an American occasion’. 

The ladies daughter was present who also remembers not celebrating Halloween and didn’t do so with her own children.

Our other consideration with Halloween is related to people living with impaired cognition and perception, living with dementia for example.

 Imagine not understanding where you are or why you are here? ……

Now imagine skeletons all over the walls and people walking around with blood residue all over their face, with a plastic axe hanging from there head, pretty scary thought huh? 

Our celebration was gentle, we took the opportunity to have themed food (any excuse for a cake) and subtle decoration. 

Culture is something learned & earned – so understanding the people we care for has great importance to how compliment the golden generation. 



– Luke 


Counselling @ GBC

Counselling at Grenham Bay Court

I am very happy to join Luke and the team at Grenham Bay Court as a counselor, working with some residents who are living with functional mental health and depression.

To introduce myself, I have worked for many years in special needs,  in schools and with adults with learning disabilities.  I have worked in counselling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy for 6 years and tend to specialize in anger, anxiety and depression, couples therapy, personality disorders, identity and self esteem, grief and bereavement and abusive relationships.

What is counselling?

There are misconceptions about counselling.  People sometimes think that counselling is passive or that the counsellor will give them the answers they seek.  Actually counselling is challenging and the client takes an active role in therapy session. The counsellor and client work together on the client’s path to greater understanding.  I have been amazed at the courage and fortitude my clients all have, and the perseverance they show in working through difficult feelings and fears.

What is psychotherapy?

You can’t really separate counselling from psychotherapy, but psychotherapy goes to a deeper level, exploring the past and how the past has impacted on the present.  Coming to terms with a difficult past can be a bumpy ride.

What is hypnotherapy?

People sometimes believe hypnosis is dangerous and fear that they will do something irrational whilst being hypnotized but won’t remember it.  The reality is that the client is conscious and able to stop at any time.  Anyone who has tried yoga relaxation, meditation or mindfulness has experienced  hypnosis.  Hypnotherapy takes you into a deep relaxation where you are more suggestible, and my role is to suggest positive things to you.  Because you are so relaxed I can speak to your subconscious and that is why positive suggestions while you are hypnotized are more lasting and more effective than if I just advise you.  Hypnotherapy can help with self esteem, fears, stop smoking, healthy eating habits etc.  I use it a lot with anxiety and fear because it can be a tool to help a feeling of calm, empowerment and strength.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia caries a stigma in society of danger and aggression, but this is just an expression of fear of the unknown.  People suffering from schizophrenia are much more of a danger to themselves than to others.  Each person has a unique experience of schizophrenia including paranoia, depression, anxiety, auditory and/or visual hallucinations and negative emotions – mostly about themselves.  Schizophrenia closes a lot of doors for the sufferer. It is difficult to hold a job down or living accommodation or maintain a social life because of the episodes they have to manage, so life is often lonely and uncertain with this life changing condition.  The counsellor can offer a safe, empathic and confidential space where he/she can be heard and feel valued. This is very important for someone with low self-esteem.  Once trust is established, they can talk freely about their fears and difficulties so that with the counsellor they can try and find new ways of coping with difficult feelings and fears.  They are also working towards acceptance of themselves and for the residents of Grenham Bay Court, their new lives in Birchington.


Everyone is unique as an individual and everyone has a fascinating story to tell.  I consider myself very privileged to have such interesting and valuable work.


Anne Anderson

18th October 2017













Furniture talks

Furniture that talks?
You may have seen many of our posts about furniture being up-cycled by the wonderful coastal chic, but why are we doing this?

Yes, all of the furniture we have had done look great but there is a deeper meaning.

First and foremost it is meant to engage people who see it, it sparks conversation and with hope can cause a distraction from a persons worry or anxiety and daily routines.

Many people living with disability can find it hard to engage first in conversation or engage at all, so perhaps while sitting in living area’s someone will say ‘what do you think of that bureau?’

Opinions formulate and conversation flow is the real hope of why we do what we do. 

Coastal chic are not a specialised dementia service or care home specialists, but they understand that exciting and unusual up-cycling can have a big impact on an environment like ours. 

It is often overlooked how an environment can really impact on a persons well being, so by continuing to strive for an interactive/engaging environment we hope this will have some contribution too maintaining well being in our home.

– Luke