30 Days Wild at Langwith Lodge Residential Home

Inspired by staff and residents who joined in challenge last year, this year will see 30 Days Wild packs specifically for care homes.

For the first time this year, we created special 30 Days Wild packs for care homes. We were inspired by staff and residents who joined in challenge last year at Langwith Lodge Residential Home in Nether Langwith near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, this is their story.

We had been looking forward to 30 Days Wild since our colleague signed us up. An avid wildlife fanatic and nature writer she was sure we’d enjoy paying closer attention to nature, embracing and welcoming  the benefits that Random Acts of Wildness can bring. As we prepare to join 30 Days Wild for a second time, we couldn’t agree more with that sentiment, the benefits were huge!

We already knew a few of the benefits of spending time in nature. We’d looked into the research by the Wildlife Trusts and could see how time spent in nature improves mental health and wellbeing. Simply setting a foot outside our home is enough to raise our residents’ spirits, and we try to spend as much time outside as we can. We knew, too, that watching wildlife is a great mood booster, and that learning new skills will aid cognitive function in the elderly. None of us were quite prepared for how much fun we had though! Spending time with nature never felt like a chore at all, and we all felt lifted for paying closer attention to birds, insects and objects we’d found out and about.

Taking up the 30 Days Wild challenge, endeavoured to be wilder every day during June. Members of staff kept their eyes peeled for wildflowers, insects, birds and mammals on their way into work, and we fed the birds so that we could watch them flock to the home’s grounds.

 Participating in 30 Days Wild doesn’t have to mean making grand gestures, but finding the wildness in the details. We made daisy chains, enjoyed flower arranging, created a fairy garden, ate outside, counted bees and dipped our toes into paddling pool, as well as feeling the cool grass between our toes.

We found eggs cracked beneath empty nests towards the end of spring and watched fish breaching the surface of the lake in search of tiny flies. Residents even found time for water fights amongst themselves, and read with patio doors flung open. We invited nature into our home at every turn, and the results astounded us.

30 Days Wild care homes

Amy Lewis

During the daisy chain activity one of our residents commented that she felt young again, and could vividly remember sitting in the grass threading daisies together. Another, Baz, could remember fishing in the lake beyond our home as a lad. He identified trout, and was transported back in time.

Interactions with nature reminded our residents of days gone by; days that were spent predominantly outdoors before technology took over. Staff, too, enjoyed spending more time outside, and our wilder days were richer and filled with conversation.

Perhaps the biggest benefit, though, was our home’s fall rate. The number of falls diminished significantly during June, and our manager was quick to attribute that decline to 30 Days Wild; residents were generally less agitated and more engaged as we navigated the nature challenge.

There are simply no words to describe how positively nature had impacted our home, and we pledged to continue our wilder ways. We’re happy to report that we’ve kept them up, and are now Wildlife Guardians for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

Our advice to other care homes would be to embrace every moment, and to record everything you see and do via social media, a nature journal or personal diaries. Even now we look back at photographs and anecdotes from our very first 30 Days Wild, and pledge to be that little bit wilder this year. Those memories are wonderful reminders of how simple it can be to interact with nature, and nudge us in the right direction whenever we’re feeling lethargic.

We’re enjoying the benefits of 30 Days Wild even now, and would urge you wholeheartedly to take part. Every experience is different, so dive right in and enjoy!