Larchfield House’s garden starts to bloom!

As the weather improves our lovely garden is coming into bloom, we have two beautiful Cherry blossom trees that set the scene. The water feature trickles away whilst the wind chines clink in the breeze. The daffodils have put on a beautiful display but are now going over. We have a lovely Acer tree which is enjoying the light and position and is flourishing.

Our Gardening Club are busy planting vegetables and wild flower seeds, hopefully we look forward to seeing the results later in the year. Our residents are able to enjoy sitting out in the warmer air, chatting and socialising whilst soaking up a little sunshine. We also have bird feeders set around the gardens which attract some lovely wild life, from Dunnocks to Pigeons and of course the squirrels who enjoy running along the fence and climbing through the trees.

What more could you ask for apart from a cup of tea and scone whilst you watch nature take its path. As we head towards summer the garden is a wonderful place for the residents to use for their activities from music to bingo and also to sit with family members and enjoy the fresh air.

One of our residents enjoying planting.

We are looking forward to the development of our Sensory/Memorial garden, below is an example of the vision, providing a place of tranquillity and reflection for residents and families.

If you would like to know more please call tel:01628639428 to speak to one of our team.

The Journey

I wanted to cover again the feelings a partner or family member has when placing a loved one in a care home. It’s something we never expect to have to do, when you have lived with someone for maybe 40 or 50 years this is a terrible, emotional wrench, it truly is like losing someone before they have actually passed.

The first reaction is guilt asking yourself, why could I not cope, I should be looking after them, I have failed. This can be a seriously emotional draining time but it must be remembered that if you have been looking after your loved one, which is a 24hr job, you will be burnt out physically and emotionally already. Being on your own coping with someone who experiences mood swings, agitation and aggression can be very hard. And in turn your behaviour can become irrational because you are tired and no longer in control.

Remember Jim, who I talked about in a previous article. Jim used to shout and scream at Fran his wife who had vascular dementia, when he was helping her get changed, calling her names and saying she was the most stupid woman he had ever met. This is an example of a carer who is no longer coping, he is getting annoyed, out of control, frustrated and very verbally unkind. Obviously this is an extreme example but makes my point. A few examples of care giver burnout are withdrawal from friends and family, erratic sleep patterns and loss of appetite.

Larchfield House are proud to say that we take the wellbeing of our residents and their families very seriously. We are looking at forming a family support group so experiences can be shared where there is not only someone there to listen but to know that you are not on your own. No one should have to make the journey alone. If you would like to know more, why not give us a call 01628639428 all conversations are confidential. 

Running Down Dementia

We are very proud to announce that Kelly Hornblow, Clinical Governance Manager at Larchfield House is taking part in Running Down Dementia again this year. Kelly will have to have walked 186 miles!! Between the 1st April and the 31st August helping to raise money towards finding the first life-changing Dementia treatment.

This is the 4th year that Kelly has participated and it would be great to help her raise some money, so if you would like to make a donation towards this wonderful cause please click on Kelly’s donation page or ask Kelly/Jane for more information on 01628639428 or why not pop in and see us.

If you would like to find out more please click on the link or why not sign up?

Nutrition and Dementia

Eating and drinking for anyone is important to stay healthy, which in turn helps to improve one’s quality of life and well-being. There are various reasons why someone living with Dementia may lose their appetite. This can range from depression, communication, pain, tiredness, medication and lack of physical activity.

Depression in itself can cause loss of appetite, I think we all know when you are miserable you can have the, I can’t be bothered factor. You can of course get help with medication and therapies.

Communication, someone one living with dementia can have trouble telling you that they are hungry. So I could become agitated or even aggressive because I have a need but am not able to tell you. This is where staff need to know and understand why someone’s mood changes, look at the time of day and work out what it could be that they need. Prompting or pictures could help with this, even signing with gestures.

Pain, again if someone is in pain how do they tell you. What if they have tooth ache, oral care is very important and regular hygiene and mouth checks are needed.

Tiredness can also cause mood swings, sleeping patterns can vary dramatically with dementia.

Medication dosage changes can alter a person’s appetite, this would warrant the medication being reviewed.

Physical activity can help improve appetite, if I am sitting and doing nothing all day it’s highly likely that my appetite will be diminished as I am not burning anything off.

Weight should be checked on a regular basis, someone with a healthy weight should be weighed once a month. Someone showing signs of weight loss should be weighed weekly, this is measured on a MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool) score, anyone with a MUST score of between 1 and 2 would need to be weighed weekly. Weight is worked out on a height to weight ratio. Also to be considered is that someone who is overweight may also be suffering from malnutrition. This is because the food they are eating is unhealthy, it may contain a high amount of fat and is not providing the right nutrients, fibre and vitamins.

Break down of foods

Carbohydrates fuel your body and help your central nervous system and brain fight against disease.

Fats, there are healthy fats with can help balance your blood sugar and help prevent risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and also improve brain function.

Vitamins are also needed to protect the body against disease, but there are essential vitamins to function properly including A, C, B6 and D. Vitamins can lower the risk of diseases and are powerful antioxidants again helping to boost the immune system.

Minerals such as Calcium, Iron and Zinc help with bone strength, the nerve signal transmission which in turn helps maintain healthy blood pressure and red blood cells all of which helps boost the immune system.

Our bodies are generally made up of 62% of our weight in water so it is really important to have the correct levels of hydration which improves the brain function.

So looking at all the above you can understand why ladies and gentlemen living with dementia need a balanced healthy diet.

Larchfield House has created a nutritionally balanced menu on a four weekly rotating cycle. The staff are trained to understand the residents in their care and to help them to have a dining experience that is not only nutritionally good, but also a walk down memory lane. Within the menu are some of our residents favourite meals, this information is gathered from the residents themselves, their families and their life histories.

If you would like to know more about any of the above why not contact one of the team at Larchfield House 01628639428 or visit us on our website

Larchfield House Dementia Care Specialist Care Home

Larchfield are always looking for volunteers, if you have a few hours to spare during the week or even at the weekend we would love to hear from you.

Volunteering can make a big difference to someone’s life seeing you on a regular basis for social interaction and stimulation. This in turn can give you a feeling of personal accomplishment knowing you are making a difference to someone’s life.

It is said that the benefits to a volunteer can be as far reaching as boosting your psychological wellbeing.

Our current volunteers help from the activities and stimulation perspective through to one to ones. You can listen to some wonderful stories about our resident’s lives, get to know what kind of music they like or what they did for a career. As the weather improves this gives us great opportunities to sit in our lovely garden with a cup of tea, piece of cake and a chat. Joining in with larger activities is always welcome, from singing to watching a lovely musical or old time western.

If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer at Larchfield House why not take a look at our website , give Jane a call on 01628635936 Ext 205 or come in to meet the team and have a chat.

Work Experience at Larchfield House

Larchfield House facilitate three Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) students for work experience for their NVQ Level 2 – Health and Social Care, working alongside the BCA ensuring we provide the right kind of experience and coverage of their curriculum. Kiera, Angel and Madeen are enjoying their work experience week at Larchfield and are keen to learn.

The girls are joining in with the activity team and helping to engage and entertain our residents. On the other side they are observing and getting to understand what caring for our resident’s means. They are also covering care plans, policies and procedures along with understanding the different types of dementia and what effects this can cause, along with moving and handling training with our Clinical Governance Manager, Kelly Hornblow. They are also working with the Wellbeing Manager, Jane Parker to gain knowledge on how to communicate on the right level and how to speak and approach ladies and gentlemen who are frustrated and agitated, and to understand the causes behind this. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work with the girls and the college to further their education and knowledge of the care sector.

If you would like to know more about placement opportunities why not give us a call on 01628639428 or take a look at our website to or contact

Larchfield celebrates Hydration week:

For Larchfield House hydration is very important, all communities have their own hydration stations for cold drinks, juices, water, tea and coffee which are always available. To celebrate hydration week our communities have decorated their trolleys with lots of colour and choice. All fluid intake is measured and recorded on a daily basis to ensure that our residents are having the recommended fluid intake. Staff are trained to encourage our residents to have their refreshments throughout the day.

All hydration stations are the same to residents can relate and recognise when they see them. We also have our reflections café, where residents and their families visit on a regular basis and enjoy the atmosphere with a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

This is one of our hydration trolleys and hydration station

If you would like to know more about Larchfield House Dementia Care Specialists Care Home, why not take a look at our website or give us a call on 01628639428

How do memories work?

We have talked about dementia and how it affects the brain in respect of memory, so this is how a healthy brain works. Memory is the word used to describe the process involved with retrieval and storage of information, this is a very important process for a person to function in a normal way.

Memories are something that do not actually exist in the same way as say your arm or your leg. It does not have a physical presence but is a concept which refers to the processes of remembering.

Memories are stored as miniscule chemical changes at connecting points between neurons, (which transmit information to specialized cells that transmit signals from the nerves).

Sensory neurons these are able to detect activity from each of the senses and then communicate the information to the interconnecting neurons.

Interconnecting neurons these pass information through the nervous system and also connect to the motor neurons. I think I am imagining a railway line with interchanges here.

Motor neurons, these connect to the muscle tissue and activate them.

Encoding is a biological occurrence that starts with perception. When we meet someone we visually assess them, we listen to the sound of their voice and also we can register how the person smells. These cues put together form our perceptions which are then sent to the hippocampus which files them altogether to make a single experience.

Information is carried by electrical pulses which transfer the information. These pulses contain information which release chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Every brain cell can form thousands of links like this.

Memory – The brain filters all the information we take in, things that are notable to us are then encoded into the short-term memory, which has a surprisingly low capacity it can only hold about seven items for 20 or 30 seconds at a time. This is where it is filtered to either go in the bin or be filed into the long term memory. With a diseased brain the information fails to make it to the long term memory.

So how complex is the brain, and now we can imagine when the brain gets damaged by a stroke or by Alzheimer’s, what mayhem this must cause. I would liken it to an old fashioned telephone exchange, you dial a number but the telephonist is lazy and just connects any line she fancies, so you never actually speak to the right person.

Such an incredible complex organ but studies on memories are very much in the initial stages and little is known about its working at the molecular level. So, when you get to the top of stairs and can’t remember what you went for, you can blame your short-term memory.

Activities in late stages of Dementia

We need to remember when providing activities for people living with dementia that we ensure we preserve their dignity at all times. In the later stages, sensory activities can be successful, touch, sound and vision. In Larchfield’s main activity room we have a fish video display playing in down times with soothing music, so when the residents decide to go and have sit or a chat they are able to enjoy watching the fish and listening to the music.

dementia stages - dementia care home Maidenhead Berkshire

Having different textured objects for people to feel and touch or twiddle muffs which tend to be great for tactile experiences. Soft toys, particularly cats or dogs but even better still pet therapy is always amazing and brings great joy to the residents.

If you would like to know more about our Activities why not visit our website dementia care home website or take a look at Larchfield House Facebook page.

The link below offers information and advice on suitable activities.


Communication with someone with Dementia

This is something that some families find very hard, especially in the onset stages. Conversation can be limited and very confusing, ranging from some clarity to totally muddled words. But if you watch hand gestures, understand past working life or hobbies you can sometimes work out the conversation.

Correcting someone is not a good idea, you have to step into their world, otherwise it can cause confusion, frustration and even aggression. Always listen, using eye contact and calm body language and voice tone.

Larchfield House staff have a plethora of experience and knowledge on how to communicate in the best way. Communication is not only with conversation but majorly in body language which will send messages to the person with either calmness or hostility and this will be interpreted by a person by natural basic instinct.

Why not visit our dementia blog, Facebook or Linkedin to discover more about Larchfield House and Dementia.

Please see the link below for further information and study on communication:

click here