Care Home residents using VR headsets

Inside-Outside Virtual Reality Project

This article describes how Caerphilly Over 50 developed an eclectic portfolio of 25, 360-degree Virtual Reality videos for Care Home residents. The article showcases the residents’ testimony, illustrating their enjoyment of the videos and the development of an interactive environment to enhance the experience.

Abermill Care Home; Abertridwr


Wayne David MP joins Care Home Celebrations

Wayne David MP joins in with celebrations at Abermill Care Home Caerphilly recognising National Care Home Open Day

Wayne David MP visited Abermill Care Home on the recent National Care Home Open Day and joined residents, and their relatives along with staff who were enjoying a fun packed week. The Home had been celebrating the Queens 90th birthday earlier in the week with a number of events.HC-One Abermill Care Home - Wayne Davie MP talking to Home Manager and residents

Residents were also joined by Bullah Church Group for a grand tea party on Care Home Open Day. Earlier in the week, to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, they were entertained by Mandy Ann, a local singer, who sang beautifully for them and led lots of sing-a-longs

John Roberts, Abermill Care Home Manager commented “It was a joy to see how many families and people from the local community attended the events. Many of the residents were involved in making cakes and dressing the lounges for the week long activities. The Home was full of smiles, laughter and lots of dancing to help burn off those cake calories. The residents also took charge in raising money for this years selected charity Marie Cure which provides care and support through terminal illness. Thanks to the resident’s hard work and the generosity of others we were able to raise £200 to be donated”HC One Abermill Care Home residents enjoying National Care Home Open Day tea party

As a finale to the week of events relatives showed their gratitude to the staff team at Abermill Care Home by presenting a specially made cake for the staff to enjoy as a token of their gratitude for all the hard work which had taken place to ensure all the residents enjoyed the celebrations.

HC-One Regional Managing Director Liz Whyte commented “I know residents at Abermill Care Home were very pleased to welcome Wayne David MP to help celebrate National Care Home Open Day with them. The team at Abermill worked very hard to give the residents a day to remember and raise much needed funds for our partner Marie Curie. I would like to thank everyone involved”.

Celebrating the Queens 90th Birthday

Residents and staff at Church View Care Home celebrated the Queen’s birthday. The home was decorated with flags, bunting, Royal guards and a guest of honor the Queen herself.

IMG_3546 IMG_3549 IMG_3545The day began with the residents watching the Queen on television celebrating her birthday at St Paul’s Cathedral and enjoyed the service immensely. This was an important day to all the residents as the Queen has been part of their lives. The monarchy is important to the residents and they wanted to celebrate the day.

We commenced our birthday party by raising a glass to the Queen; this was followed by entertainer Dave Kelly where the residents enjoyed a singalong and a dance. After the entertainment the residents then enjoyed a buffet.

Abermill Care Home – Caerphilly

Care Home residents enjoy trip out “to the pictures”.

Since the original release of The Jungle Book is a 1967, residents at Abermill Care Home were excited to learn that the film had once again had a revamp. To celebrate this some of the residents at the home joined the staff at the cinema to watch the new release.


Armed with popcorn the residents went to enjoy one of their favourite childhood films and there has been plenty of laughs and reminiscing about the day. As many of the residents who went to watch the new version of The Jungle Book have grandchildren and great grandchildren the event gave a great subject to help interact with the younger generation, there was some disagreement to which film was ultimately the best version.  Plans are already on the way for the next visit to the cinema and family’s wishing to join in the event.



John Roberts – Manager at Abermill Care Home commented “it was a real pleasure to hear some of the residents getting animated about whether the latest release was better than the original version but more than that there experience of a trip out “to the pictures” it was wonderful to see how much enjoyment they had from it.


Regional Managing Director Paula Keys commented “I know residents at Abermill Care Home enjoy a very active social life so it is very pleasing to hear they are enjoying the opportunity to have a good old fashioned night out!

Ty Iscoed Residential Home, Newbridge: Award

A residential Home owned by Caerphilly County Borough Council has received a national award for the quality of life provided to people living with a dementia.

Ty Iscoed Residential Home in Newbridge was given the award following an unannounced qualitative audit that took place in December 2015.

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Caerphilly County Borough Council commissioned the organisation Dementia Care Matters to work with Ty Iscoed Residential Home to improve the quality of life of the people living with a dementia and achieved a kitemark Butterfly Home status.

Gwen Coleman, project leader with Dementia Care Matters said ‘’I am thrilled with the outcome! I feel immensely humbled and proud to have shared the journey along with other Dementia Care Matters consultants and the management team and all the staff at Ty Iscoed’’

David Sheard (Dr) CEO/Founder, Dementia Care Matters said  ‘’Please send my heartfelt congratulations to everyone in the home – it is a huge achievement and something you should all feel enormous pride in – culture change takes heart, dogged determination, true leadership and the creation of a real ‘ home  ‘ which you have so clearly demonstrated and evidenced. Ty Iscoed Residential Home now join a small but growing group of Butterfly Homes in Wales who are flying the flag for what matters most in dementia care – an enormous thank you!’’

The award involved implementing a number of developments set by Dementia Care Matters which also included significant environmental work developing ‘Houses’ within the Home.  The kitemark status demonstrates “highly skilled care with a high degree of good person centred dementia care and the potential to develop further’’.

Feelings based care is the priority as opposed to the traditional task led care.  Importance is placed on people’s emotional well being, identity and creating a sense of belonging in their own home. People contribute to the running of their own home, which includes helping with preparing meals and domestic chores which is typical of a ‘normal’ home life.

Family life is recognised, valued and embraced!  Family relationships and friendships are nurtured by staff supporting relatives to be naturally involved in their loved ones life as much as the person wishes.  This creates an atmosphere where families don’t feel like they are ‘visiting’.

Staff working in the home shared  ‘We no longer feel like we are going to work, we feel that we are being with people as families and friends. This is evidenced by a relaxed atmosphere, where cwtches and cuddles are in abundance.  This in turn has had such a positive effect on the people who live at Ty Iscoed. Families and visitors alike. On reflection we  really wish at the start of the DCM project we could have seen the end result as it is such a different place now , it’s like home from home’.

Cllr Robin Woodyatt, Cabinet Member for Social Services said: “I am delighted that Ty Iscoed Residential Home has been awarded a Kite Mark Status by Dementia Care Matters. This is testament to the fantastic facilities and care that are provided to those who live within Ty Iscoed and I am thrilled that this has been recognised. Well done to each and every person who has strived to achieve this fantastic goal”.

Gilwern House Mountain Challenge

Preparations for Sponsored Snowdon Walk in May, in aid of Alzheimer’s Society

It all began with a general chat between Maurice, son-in-law of one of one of the residents of Gilwern House Residential Home in Pontllanfraith, and manager, Deborah Gordon. Maurice said how he’d love to walk Snowdon but had no one to go with him. Deborah said she’d walk with him. Both agreed it would be a good opportunity to support a charity.

Chris Gordon with Deborah Gordon, Manager of Gilwern House, Tina and Ray Carter and Maurice Ashman. Dogs : Poppy and Gizmo Photo taken at the top of Twmbarlwm

Chris Gordon with Deborah Gordon, Manager of Gilwern House, Tina and Ray Carter and Maurice Ashman.
Dogs : Poppy and Gizmo
Photo taken at the top of Twmbarlwm

Alzheimer’s is a condition that is close to the hearts of the staff of Gilwern House as some family members are living with the effects of the condition. Gilwern House also has several residents with some form of Dementia. As a registered champion for Dementia, Deborah believes that raising awareness as well as research is crucial for the future.

So, biting the bullet, or striking while the iron was hot, Deborah put together a schedule of practice walks that would increase fitness for the big challenge in May. The main group of walkers met firstly to conquer Machen Mountain. This took place on the coldest, wettest day in February and could easily have put all the walkers off continuing the walking programme, but, thankfully, the skies were blue when they attempted their next walk, up Twmbarlwm, on the 5th of March.

Future preparation walks include The Waterfalls at Neath Valley, Blorenge and Sugar Loaf in Abergavenny. The group also plan walking Cadair Idris.

For those not able to do Snowdon, an alternative challenge has been arranged, so staff and families of residents are going to be walking PenYFan mountain in the Brecon Beacons, again in May, and again, in aid of Alzheimer’s.

There is a warm welcome to anyone who wishes to join us and an even warmer welcome if you can manage to raise some sponsorship towards this worthy cause.

You’re never too old for a challenge! The youngest group member in the photo is 50 and the oldest is 74, I’ll leave you to guess which is which.

Do get in touch. Deborah Gordon, Gilwern House, Tel 01495 226 515

Church View “Knit & Natter” Club

Residents at HC-One Church View Care Home “Knit and Natter” Club have been regularly donating their creations to local charities to raise money for good causes. But they recently became aware that Elim Church in Cresent Road Caerphilly collected clothes for vulnerable babies in several African counties so the “Knit and Natter” club decided to concentrate their efforts on making vests and hats for the babies.Church view knit and natter club photo

Over the last four months the “Knit and Natter” club have produced 120 vests and hats and found their numbers growing by the week with relatives and friends of the Care Home joining in to increase production. They have also invited residents who only have limited knitting abilities to make blankets so everyone can get involved.

Currently vests, blankets and hats are on their way to Sierre Leone, Liberia and The Congo and will be handed over by representatives of Elim Church to Life for African Mothers who will distribute them to families who desperately need clothing for their babies.

Commenting on the initiative, Alison Durbidge the Church View Care Home Manager said “it is very rewarding for the residents involved in our “Knit and Natter” Club to be able to enjoy a combination of a lovely sociable activity that also benefits such a worthy cause – we hope it will continue to grow”.