11:17AM, Thursday 17 January 2019
A life less ordinary – the next chapter, not the last chapter
Care UK’s Saad Baig is rewriting the conventions of what’s possible in older age
Stepping into Care UK’s newest care home, Mountbatten Grange on Helston Lane in Windsor, you might be surprised by what you find. As well as expert care, the home has facilities you might not expect from a care home – its own cinema and bar, hair salon, café, private dining room and beautiful terraces on the upper floors with stunning views of the castle.
However, it’s not just the luxury facilities that set this home aside from the rest. It also boasts an award-winning manager with an ethos that age is no barrier to doing what you love – or even to trying something completely new.
A new lease of life
Having been announced as one of the top leaders in care in 2018 by Care Home Professional magazine and with his last care home in London garnering accolades including at last year’s National Care Home Awards, Saad Baig was the perfect person to take on the role of home manager at Mountbatten Grange.
As well as leading his team to deliver exceptional care, one of Saad’s biggest innovations, which has been replicated at the new Windsor care home, is the wishing tree.
Saad explains: “Older age, and moving into a care home, shouldn’t mean you can’t dream – or make those dreams come true! At my last home we had so many residents with amazing life histories and ideas for things they wanted to do, but had never had the chance, or they thought that they were too old. Why should age be a barrier to trying new things, or to rediscovering what you love?”
“When we started the wishing tree, where residents could write out their wishes and requests for things they’d like to do, places they’d love to visit or an activity they wanted to try, it really got the whole home talking – residents lit up when they started to think about what they could wish for and when they started to remember the things they used to love doing.”
But if some residents thought that the wishing tree was just an aid to reminiscence or a chance to daydream, they were wrong. Saad and his team took every wish and worked hard to make them happen.
Over the coming days, weeks and months, amazing activities started to take place, some individual and some where the whole home could get involved and join in – from tennis matches to flamenco lessons, boat trips to theatre excursions - but a few wishes really stand out for Saad.
“We had one resident who had been a Catholic priest, and his one wish was to meet the pope. We managed to get in touch with the Vatican and flew Father George over to meet Pope Francis and shake his hand in person. It was magical.”
“Another resident used to fly planes as a hobby when she was young, but hadn’t been up in the air for nearly 50 years. For her 96th birthday, we took Mamie out to an air strip where we not only got to go up in a plane, but she actually took the controls. She was a little nervous at first, but once Mamie was up in the air she had a great time flying over London and waving at everyone below – she didn’t want to come down!”
Saad is quick to point out that the wishing tree isn’t just about rediscovering hobbies from days past, but also about trying new things too. He uses the example of Vera, who at 92 had never driven a car before, but it was something she’d always wanted to try.
“It was a real unfulfilled ambition of Vera’s that she’d held onto for decades. We arranged for a lesson with a local driving school – she loved getting behind the wheel and couldn’t stop telling everyone about it when she came back, she was beaming!”
“The residents are really an inspiration. Too many of us have things we’d love to try, or places we’ve always wanted to go, but end up not getting round to them because we think we don’t have the time, or we’re not brave enough. We should all take a leaf out of their books and make time to push ourselves out of the ordinary and try new things!”
To celebrate the opening of Mountbatten Grange, we are inviting the community to join us for our Grand launch on the 21st February, from 2-4pm. Meet Saad and the team as we officially launch the new home and enjoy free refreshments, tours, ribbon cutting, live entertainment and activities including chocolate making. We also have a visit from alpacas, a jazz band and a demonstration of our magic table.
If you can’t make it to the Grand launch but would like to find out more or arrange a show round, please call Leahanne Wilkinson on 01753 336099 or email Leahanne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Mountbatten Grange is run by award-winning care provider, Care UK, and offers the best of residential, nursing and dementia care, as well as short-term respite care. www.careuk.com/windsor
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