In today’s consumer environment, many large corporate chains have taken over, leaving little room for small independent family businesses. Price is a huge benefit to using large chains. However, the cost of losing local businesses is much greater. Add the threat of a COVID market and this is an increasingly relevant topic.

Atkinson’s Homes have been supporting local businesses for over 40 years! We believe local communities thrive by partnering with local companies and suppliers. We actively encourage a sustainable community, as well as building strong relationships with locally established family businesses.

Benefits of using Local Produce

Knowing where our food has come from

It allows us to have better control over the freshness of our meals. We have greater control over the quality of the food we provide for our residents. This is especially reassuring in today’s C-19 world.

Environmental Impact

By using local suppliers we can limit environmental impact. Buying local allows us to reduce our carbon footprint. Fresh foods take a lot less time to travel to reach our dinner plates.

Fresh Seasonal Produce

By using local suppliers we can ensure the freshness of our food. Buying local means produce is exposed less to harsh chemicals. Mix this with the reduced travel time and you get some extremely fresh food!

Do you support local?

Comment below how you are supporting local businesses and the community. If you have any ideas or want to collaborate with us don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Link: Our local business director

Tel: 01276 31838


Like this article? Read more from us!

The decision to move into a Care Home is a big life-changing event, especially with current events. As such, it comes accompanied by common and understandable fears. Below we have outlined some examples of common fears of moving into a care home that many residents suffer with and how we can help them overcome these issues.

When faced with helping a loved one make this decision, it is useful to be aware of what might cause them to feel fearful. It is also crucial that you know how best to explain that. Although their anxiety is understandable, moving into a care home can be a hugely positive step.

Loss of independence

The fear:

Many people worry that moving into a care home signals a loss of their independence. That as soon as they move in they will no longer be able to make their own decisions.

The reality:

Moving into a care home often improves an individual’s independence! By providing them with the help and tools they need, it enhances their day-to-day. The aim of a Care Home is not to hinder independence but to encourage and support the elderly in living as independent a life as possible. Our job is not to get in the way but enable.

Residents at Atkinsons Homes are encouraged to continue with their hobbies, such as arts and crafts, gardening and flower arranging. Additionally, residents are free to take part in the programme of activities on offer. This includes board games, walks, singing groups or visits. We proactively support the choice of activity.

Becoming a burden

The fear:

Elderly people often feel that, if their relatives are encouraging them to move to a care home, it is because they have become a burden to them. This could not be further from the truth!

The reality:

Families usually start to look at the option of a care home for their elderly relative because they care deeply about their quality of life. They view a care home to facilitate an improvement in their general day to day happiness and wellbeing.

Living in a care home means that loved ones can enjoy the company of their elderly relative free from the burdens of certain stresses that come from still living at home.  This way time together is not spent catching up on necessary chores, but quality family time.

This should be viewed as a positive way of improving your relationship by giving both parties a break from things like repairs, cleaning, and cooking. You can eat together without having to worry about the washing up. Gardening can still be enjoyed without you both wondering who will do the sweeping up afterwards.

Being reliant on other people

The fear:

People are often reluctant to accept help because they do not want to admit to themselves, or anyone else, that they are struggling in their daily life.

The reality:

Accepting help should never be viewed as a weakness. By communicating to your loved one that this is simply an enhancement to their life rather than a NEED for help – the transition is often smoother. Allow them to understand that this will lead to a more comfortable life and, in turn, increase their quality of life.

At Atkinson’s Homes, help is on hand 24 hours a day. We offer a fresh and flexible catering service, such as fitness or arts and crafts. In addition, we have medical supplies readily available from experts who get to know all residents well. This close relationship allows them to fully understand and tailor care to their individual needs.

The unknown

The fear:

This is a fear that is widely felt by many people of all ages. In this instance though, it is most likely to manifest itself through fear of an unfamiliar environment.

If they have lived in their home for a very long time, or even only lived in their family home, it is bound to provide a feeling of safety and comfort. Moving out of this and into a care home can be scary.

The reality:

The best way of overcoming this fear is by seeing just how warm, friendly, and homely a care home can be. We have information available on our website about our excellent accommodation. But of course, if you would prefer, the best option may be to ask your relative if they would like to see a high-quality care home for themselves.

This way, they can ask questions and you can see what kind of environment might work best for them should they choose to take advantage of its benefits. This is a process that shouldn’t be rushed – always be empathetic to their feelings and if something doesn’t feel right for them don’t ignore it.

Being alone

The fear:

One of the most common fears of moving into a care home, that most of us fear at some stage in our lives; being alone. However, this fear can become more acute with age and is especially true if a person has suffered the loss of loved ones.

This also becomes one of the primary fears when it comes to moving home. Your relative may worry that a change in situation will come with a loss of companionship between those who they currently see regularly.

The reality:

You can reassure them that this is not the case. As pre-mentioned, a move into a care home will lead to more quality time together, as opposed to time spent performing chores. They will also have the chance to forge long-lasting friendships with their fellow residents, as well as with our friendly staff. This is likely the best way of explaining that these fears, although understandable, is unfounded.

And, more recently – COVID Security

The fear:

With everything going on, it can be even harder to think making this change is a good idea. Will they be safe? How and when can we actually move in?

The reality:

There is no denying that moving into a care home is a big step for anyone, and the way in which care homes have been affected by coronavirus is understandably making families nervous about accessing their services. Despite the many frightening stories, lots of people are still living positive and healthy lives in care homes

We are taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of both existing and new residents:

  • Regular Covid testing of both staff and residents
  • Extensive PPE equipment for all staff
  • Stopped visiting until advised by a government official. After that, we will assess the situation and make an informed decision.
  • Virtual tours – We are offering virtual tours to help ease any ‘unknown’ in the process.
  • Making sure the connection to families is the utmost priority. With zoom and phone calls, letter writing and reviewing visitation constantly for safety.
  • Constantly reviewing our procedures as information presents.

Get in touch

We hope that you were able to take valuable insights away from this – helping you to understand the common fears of moving into a care home. Atkinsons Homes are here to support you and welcome any questions you may have:

Tel: 01276 31838


Connect with us!

Strong vs authoritarian leadership

Care and Nursing homes need strong leadership in place to be managed successfully. So, what does a Successful care manager look like?

Some leaders assume strong management is dominating. Bossing their workforce around and controlling every aspect of their work. However, an authoritarian leadership style is the worst kind of leadership in a Care setting. It causes knock-on effects leaving staff unmotivated, feeling unappreciated and with low morale. As a result, this can then lead to poor quality of care towards residents. This systematically changes the environment of a once happy home, into a controlled depressing place to both live and work.

Kindness, compassion & respect

A successful Care Manager leads by example. Compassion, kindness, and respect to all. Spreading love around the home and wider community. A firm direction is needed to ensure compliance and regulatory legislation is upheld. This should be done through the empowerment of resource information and training in a constructive manner.

A Care Manager who thinks they know all the answers inevitably doesn’t. Asking your team for ideas and information sets the correct tone. Which, in turn, gives others opportunities to bring ideas forward. Have the willingness to listen to ‘out of the box’ ideas. You never know when a pivotal idea may crop up. A good Care Manager will ensure their staff members feel comfortable to speak their truth and uphold a ‘no-blame’ culture. Allow lessons to be learnt, and help staff members to understand that we are working together towards a common goal; ‘the best care possible’.

Being a Successful care manager in today’s climate can be stressful. Ultimately, the responsibility weighs heavily on their shoulders. However, it is always worth it. This role gives a strong sense of purpose. It’s an honour to be part of people’s lives during their final chapter. There is a strong sense of fulfilment while carrying out our duties.

Get in touch

Tel: 01276 31838


See what else we’ve published

Exercise for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia

Exercise is an excellent way to improve well-being and reduce challenging behaviours in seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The important thing is to find exercises that are enjoyable and safe for their ability level.

Staying active also improves sleep, strength, and circulation. It’s also a great way to boost mood and self-esteem. 

12 ideas for physical activities for People with dementia

Simple activities

  1. Short walk – one of the best exercises around (and it is free!). Walking around the house, the garden or outside for any amount of time is wonderful for body and mind. You could even combine the walk by doing an errand together like walking the dog or going to the grocery store.
  2. The sit to stand exercise – strengthens muscles needed for essential activities like using the toilet.
  3. Stay balanced in a standing position (hold on to a Support when needed). This will improve balance and posture. It can be a standalone exercise or part of an everyday activity like washing dishes.
  4. Stretch while lying in bed – move various body parts and stretch muscles. This can be done with assistance or independently.
  5. Sit unsupported for a few minutes each day (with constant supervision to prevent falls) – strengthens the abdominal and back muscles which in turn improves posture.

Moderate activities

  1. Stretches and/or strength exercises – try this simple chair stretching routine or this easy strength to balance routine. 
  2. Gardening – something simple like raking or pulling weeds gives a sense of accomplishment and is a great workout.
  3. Tai chi style movement – slow movements that can be adapted for a variety of physical conditions.
  4. Household tasks – basic cleaning/tidying can be great exercise, like folding laundry, dusting, or light hoovering.

Advanced activities

  1. Dancing – this is a fun activity that does not feel like exercise. Play your older adult’s favourite dance music at home and lead them in a private dance party in the living room. 
  2. Exercise class – some senior centres or similar organizations offer classes specifically for people with dementia
  3. Brisk walk/jog – very much depending on ability, aerobic exercise for at least 15 mins a day

If you have any questions regarding your current situation or queries around activities for people with dementia, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d be delighted to find a way to help. Also in our Dementia Care series, we have covered finding the right home and providing a healthy & balanced diet.

Get in touch:

Tel: 01276 31838


Useful links:

Alzheimers Society

NHS Dementia Guide

The wider community involvement is so important to us.

Communities play an important role in every aspect of our lives. We have communities in our friends, families, employment, and our neighbourhood’s. We find community in the sports teams we support, or the artists we enjoy, even the food that we like. Having a sense of community unites us in something greater than ourselves. It gives us opportunities to connect with people, to reach for our goals, and makes us feel safe and secure.

It is important for every person to have a sense of community. In an age where technology both connects and separates us, a sense of belonging can greatly benefit our wellbeing and increase our contentment in day-to-day life. As we get older, it can sometimes get harder to connect with the people around us. But, that connection will ultimately ease the stress and feelings of loneliness. Going beyond the home’s boundaries can help to avoid introversion, and also opens the doors to the world for those with limited mobility.

Atkinsons Homes have always sought to support the community in whatever way we can. We continuously encourage as much involvement in the community as possible from our residents, staff, and love ones. Over the years, we have built relationships with other local health and charitable organisations in the community. There are numerous projects we have been delighted to support. we will continue to do so simply because they are important parts of community and village life. We’d like to highlight the wonderful community support we receive from our local church, St. Michaels Church, Stroke club and our fantastic community day centre, Sandhurst.

Get in touch!

We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by emailing us or in the comments below!

Setting the scene for Dementia Friendly mealtimes

A familiar, sociable environment can help a person with dementia to feel more comfortable eating and drinking. At Atkinson’s Private Nursing Home’s we strive for Mealtimes to be an enjoyable experience.

  • turning off noisy TVs and radios, or playing some soothing, familiar music
  • being flexible about mealtimes, avoiding times when the person is tired or distressed
  • giving the person lots of time to eat, so there is no rushing
  • eating with the person if they enjoy the social side of this. It might be encouraging for them to see you eating, but bear in mind some people may be self-conscious and embarrassed eating with company
  • making sure the room is well-lit and describing the food. This might help the person recognise the food they are eating more easily
  • using plain coloured plates and cups so they can see the food easily. Specially adapted cutlery is available for people with dementia

Encouraging a person with dementia to eat

Involve the person by asking them what they would like to eat. If they struggle to decide, you could give them two options of simple things you know they like and can manage. If appropriate, you could involve them in the food preparation. You could try:

  • offering something easy to eat, that you know the person likes
  • giving the person small, regular portions rather than large meals
  • being flexible: a person with a sweet tooth might like to eat their dessert first. You could add sweet condiments like ketchup or apple sauce to savoury food
  • offering a small snack before a meal to see if that helps the person realise, they are hungry
  • using different tastes, smells, and colours to stimulate the appetite

Encouraging a person with dementia to drink

A person with dementia may not always be able to recognise when they are thirsty, or they might not be able to communicate their thirst. But nevertheless, it is recommended to aim for about eight glasses of fluid per day. You could try:

  • having a drink beside the person always
  • adding a little flavoured squash if the person is not keen on water
  • offering a choice of hot and cold drinks
  • helping the person if they are struggling to pick up or hold a cup
  • offering the person different shapes and sizes of cup
  • finding out if they have a favourite cup, they like to drink from

If you have any questions regarding your current situation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d be delighted to find a way to help. We also published a blog on finding the right home.

Get in touch:

Tel: 01276 31838


Dementia care | Finding the right home

A person with Dementia needs more care & support as their condition progresses, and there may come a time when they will need to move to more permanent care.

Choosing a Dementia Home

A person with dementia will need more care and support as their condition progresses, and there may come a time when they will need to move into full-time or residential care. This could be because a care home may be able to meet the needs of the person better. Or, it could be because something changes that then makes it difficult for the person with dementia to stay living at home.

It can be hard to know when the time is right for a person with dementia to move into a care home and who should make this decision if the person cannot make it themselves.

Our staff have many years’ experience within Health and Social care and our passionate about providing, the managers will use that experience to help you make the right decision as to the support your loved one may need.

Person-centred Approach

A good care home will follow the principles of person-centred care. This approach aims to see the person with dementia as an individual, rather than focusing on their illness or on abilities they may have lost. … Person-centred care also means treating residents with dignity and respect.

Care homes that follow the philosophy of person-centred care aim to bring out the best in the people with dementia who live there. Each home has its own written philosophy, or mission statement, based on this concept. This should influence every aspect of life in the home and makes it possible to measure how well the home is living up to its standards at any time.

The Best Indicators of a Good Care Home

The best indication of a good home is that the residents appear happy & responsive and that individuals are treated with dignity and respect:

  • Do staff speak to residents in a way the residents like?
  • Are residents involved in activities or chatting?
  • Are they properly dressed and well-groomed?
  • Do they seem alert and interested?
  • Do they talk to you as you walk around?
  • Are they encouraged to do as much for themselves as they can – and if so, can you see any examples of this?


However pleasant the home itself may be, ask yourself:

  • Will it be easy for visitors to get to the home?
  • Are there facilities such as shops, a park, or a pub within walking distance, for residents who enjoy going out?
  • Is there much noise from traffic, or anything else?


If the person with dementia is likely to need equipment or adaptations:

  • Are the corridors and toilets wide enough for a walking frame or wheelchair?
  • Are there suitably adapted toilets and baths?
  • Are there ramps or a lift?


  • Can residents have a single room?
  • Are residents encouraged to bring in some of their own furniture and possessions?
  • Are the bedrooms bright and pleasant?
  • Can residents go to their rooms when they wish to be alone?
  • Can residents keep pets in their rooms, or in other areas of the home?
  • Do staff respect people’s right to privacy, and knock on bedroom doors?
  • Is there somewhere for visitors to sit in the room?
  • Is there adequate storage space?

Sensory rooms and sensory environments

People living with dementia can benefit greatly from exposure to soothing and gently stimulating sensory environments – this can include items such as coloured lights, soothing music, calming aromas, and interesting textures to appeal to the senses.

Sensory rooms were developed for this purpose in the 1970s. Research conducted by Dr Collier at the University of Southampton found that if a sensory environment was adapted to an individual’s needs with dementia, improvement in performance, mood and behaviour could be achieved (Collier, L, and Jakob, A. 2016).

It may be impractical to devote an entire room in the home to sensory stimulation. Also, some people with dementia may feel overwhelmed or disorientated with too much stimulation. For this reason, aspects of the home environment could be adapted to make both the indoor and outdoor environment appealing to the senses. For example, here at Fourways Dementia Care Home we have designed a new Woodlands Walk area which provides stimulation by bringing the outside in for our residents by providing binoculars, window bird feeders, wildlife books, pot plants, indoor trees, astro turf rugs for texture feeling with a quiet seating area where people can enjoy the garden view.

 People with dementia may experience problems with eating and drinking. There are many reasons this might happen.

They might:

  • forget to eat or drink
  • experience difficulties preparing food or drinks
  • have difficulty recognising food items
  • have a change in appetite or taste

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for a person’s physical and mental health. Not eating and drinking enough can increase the risk of dehydration, weight loss, a urinary tract infection and constipation. These health problems can be particularly problematic for someone with dementia as they can increase confusion and the risks of delirium, and sometimes make the symptoms of dementia worse.

Helping a person with dementia to maintain a healthy diet can be difficult for the people caring for them. This leaflet aims to provide some positive tips on ways to help.

It is important to consider the person’s likes and dislikes regarding food, however, tastes do change throughout our lives. These changes may be more pronounced for someone with dementia. They may find certain colours, textures or smells off-putting or sometimes eat certain foods they previously would not have. An increasingly sweet tooth is common. This and other factors may make it more difficult for the person to stick to specific diets such as those for people with diabetes or coeliac disease, or those with religious or cultural needs.

Understanding the person’s previous relationship with food, as well as any cultural or religious reasons for avoiding food or drink, will be useful.

Poor appetite and weight loss are quite common as dementia progresses. But there are also medical reasons why a person may have lost interest in food and drink, which your GP or perhaps your dentist could advise on. These include:

  • depression, which can lead to poor appetite
  • mouth pain and dental problems, which can lead to discomfort and a reluctance to eat or drink
  • constipation, which can make a person feel full and nauseous
  • infections or other physical illness

Get in touch!

We’d love to hear from you. Welcome any questions you may have.

Tel: 01276 31838