Meet our Activities Coordinator, Karen Grant

I first worked in the care sector in 2010, starting in domiciliary care and progressing to Care Coordinator. I have since gained a wealth of experience in dedicated dementia and residential activities, working as a peripatetic activities coordinator in 16 out of 20 homes within a group, and then in 2018, I was part of a team that commissioned a new luxury care home, where I was an Activities Team Leader.

I enjoy making wishes come true for residents: in February 2015, I organised my first wedding in a care home. The lady resident who was living with dementia was unable to travel to Hertfordshire for her granddaughters wedding, so I brought the wedding to her. I organised a wedding blessing at the home; we had a vicar, a choir, all of the bridal party, the flowers, a buffet, a wedding cake, champagne—the full works.

In 2017, I organised a smaller wedding in the garden, and this was a special wish for a gentleman resident to see his granddaughter married. Organising these special moments gives me a lot of pleasure, knowing I have made them feel special and to give families that happiness and see them smile.

I cannot wait to welcome our residents into their wonderful new home and help to bring smiles, joy and laughter to each day.

Activities are an integral part of life at our care home. We want to ensure that the people we support have as much fun as possible during their time with us, so it’s important that our activities programme is created with the interests of residents in mind. Our skilled Activities Coordinators bring a certain uniqueness to the home that can’t be found anywhere else, and which is reflected in the activities they organise.

Activities and Events Partnerships

As part of our bespoke life-enrichment programmes, we host a number of live virtual events in the home on a regular basis through a number of partnerships with places of interest and world class performance companies

Life at Upton Bay Care Home

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Wine Not! Residents refresh on delicious wines from around the world!

Residents at Upton Bay thoroughly enjoyed a wine tasting masterclass hosted by Unity Wines.

We were off to Italy to try Italian Blush Rosé, a light, rosé with notes of white flowers, strawberries and cranberries, then to South Africa for an authentic Chenin Blanc. To finish, it was the turn of Spain where residents sampled Campo Viejo Rioja, filled with flavours of brambles, cinnamon a lingering toastiness.

Rosemary, resident, said, “What better way to spend a day – sipping on fine wines at 3 in the afternoon! Just delightful!”

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Exercising Our Rights for International Democracy Day!

In beautiful Britain, we are fortunate to live in a democracy, vote for what we want, and have our voices heard by our government.

Often, people living with dementia are forgotten about at the polling station. However, no one can be prevented from voting just because they have dementia.

Upton Bay proudly held our first ‘Register to Vote’ station today. We empowered each and every resident to exercise their rights, and make sure their voice is heard in the May 2022 elections.

Registering to vote is simple: “I just forgot about it the last few years I suppose. But it took 5 minutes, and now I can have my say in our local elections next year,” commented John, resident.

The values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage are essential elements of democracy. 

It is important we send this message far and wide to ensure that people with dementia have an equal voice in their communities up and down the country.

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Reminiscing with Roald Dahl!

13th September marks ‘Roald Dahl Story Day’, and at Upton Bay we had a tremendous time telling tales from one of our most beloved authors.

In the morning, our residents reminisced over old Roald Dahl book covers, with their iconic illustrations, as well as learning about the authors history; from attending school with real-life Miss Trunchball’s, to surviving a plane crash as an RAF pilot in WW1.

One of his best books, Roald Dahls Cookbook, was a particular favourite among our residents, who enjoyed learning of the ‘glorious years of the chocolate revolution’ during his lifetime.

And how could we not enjoy watching one of his best works – Matilda – on the big screen! Faces lit up at the moment Bruce Bogtrotter devoured the chocolate cake, to which resident, Barbara, said, “I wouldn’t mind a slice of that!”

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Still Got The Moves for Last Night at the Proms!

Staff and residents at Upton Bay were treated to a unique performance from English National Ballet’s Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate Last Night of the Proms. It had a big positive impact on our lovely Edna, who studied ballet and other forms of dance such as tap dancing at Italia Conti School of Performing Arts- she showed others her moves which they all enjoyed!

Residents joined members of English National Ballet’s Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Music Director, Gavin Sutherland, to celebrate Last Night of the Proms. They listened and danced along as members of the orchestra took them on a magical, musical journey. English National Ballet Philharmonic is made up of many of the country’s top musicians, and boasts considerable experience in all forms of music-making. With insights and anecdotes into what it takes to conduct an orchestra for a world-class ballet company, this special concert for Barchester Care Homes got everyone’s feet tapping, arms waving and hearts singing!

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Sporting Success with Man’s Best Friend!

Yesterday, Upton Bay held our first Summer Sports Day, featuring celebrity appearances from resident’s favourite Caring Canines, in celebration of National Dog Day.

With the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics fresh, families, staff, and residents all took part in a fun-packed afternoon of competitive games, including hula hoop, floor darts, penalty shootout, and a good old egg and spoon race – no boiled eggs included!

Over afternoon tea and home-baked cakes, everyone watched a great display of tricks from pooches Albert, Basil, Jenny, and Peggy. People and pups alike awarded for their successes! Well done to care assistant Kirsty for a triumphant win of the egg and spoon!

Thanks to safe and gradual easing of restrictions, it was wonderful for our residents to be surrounded by generations of family for such a brilliant day in the sun!

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Say ‘Cheese’ for World Photography Day!

A picture says a thousand words… and our residents at Upton Bay certainly have many stories to tell through their photographs!

Top professional photographer, Damian Bailey, guided our residents through a live streaming photography masterclass, explaining how he captures special moments and what makes a great photo in terms of technique and composition, from landscapes to portrait photos.

Damian has won Wedding Photographer of the Year and is listed as one of London’s top wedding photographers.

Damian said: “We all love looking at photos of all different types of occasions, they help us to remember events and help preserve them – a good photo is like a slice of life and can bring joy to people for years to come."

This week, our residents have been tasked with putting into practice the tips learned from Damien, and take a unique photograph from their own perspective. We look forward to sharing with you their personal photos, and the stories that accompany them!

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