We Built an Ice-Cream Parlour – and Here’s Why | Hitchin Hertfordshire

When we first installed our ice cream parlour at Foxholes in Hitchin Hertfordshire, its novelty certainly amused our staff and residents alike. With its colourful, traditional aesthetic, and its ability to encourage social occasions, it certainly became a hit amongst everyone – including our residents’ families.

Our estate manager, Neil, built the parlour for us – and we wanted to find out exactly what made him do it. So, sit back, grab a cup of tea and take a few minutes to read through this week’s article.

Hi, Neil! When, exactly, did you install the ice cream parlour?

I finally decided to install the ice cream parlour in 2014.

How has the ice cream parlour made a difference to the residents’ experience at Foxholes?

It has been really interesting to see how much our residents enjoy ice cream on a daily basis – particularly as part of their dessert course. Since installing the parlour, we have noticed more children visit – and the first thing they do is run over to it. Perhaps it’s some sort of a bribe to see their grandparents – but it definitely works!

Has the ice cream parlour had a positive impact on your care offering? If so, how?

It turns out elderly people absolutely love ice cream – and sometimes, when they aren’t up for eating something, they will often have some ice cream instead, helping them get their energy levels up.

What prompted the decision to install an ice cream parlour at Foxholes?

I wanted to bring some fun and excitement into the home – but we didn’t expect it to be so popular! It’s nice for residents to have some perks on offer, so we have a café full of delights – including freshly brewed coffee straight from the bean, a fully stocked bar and an ice cream parlour, all included in the fees. Our residents don’t need to reach into their pocket – they can order as much of what they like, whenever they want.

Sometimes, when a resident is feeling down, we often take them to the ice cream parlour to cheer them up. However, if they don’t want to come out of their room, we’ll deliver their ice cream straight to them.

How popular is the ice cream parlour amongst the residents?

It’s extremely popular. Every single resident – that we know of – enjoys the ice cream. One particular resident enjoys it so much that we often have to hide the operating handle from him!

What flavours/toppings do you serve, and what’s the most popular one?

We’re delighted to have all the best toppings – recently, we crushed up some Celebrations chocolates and used those! We have a variety of sauces, too, including chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, bubblegum and raspberry. Our residents can also enjoy a 99 flake, as well as fudge pieces, marshmallows, and hundreds-and-thousands.

McDonalds often serve up a seasonal McFlurry – and, sometimes, we take inspiration from those! In fact, I plan to send McDonalds a message on Twitter all about our latest creations.

Does the ice cream parlour offer sensory/cognitive stimulation to those living with dementia? If so, how does it help the residents?

The ice cream parlour actually has interactive lighting, which offers a visual treat for our residents. We’ve also carefully decorated the parlour in traditional colours.

Much of dementia care focuses on sensory stimulation, since our memories are so often associated with certain smells, tastes and sounds we’ve experienced before. So, as well as spreading joy amongst residents and families alike, having this feature within our care home often offers comfort to those that need it most.

At Foxholes, we serve ice cream from our ice cream parlour every day. Recently, we have introduced new flavours and toppings, and there’s a special flavour on offer each week – including the ever-popular Lotus Biscoff.

If you’d like to find out more about what we’ve been getting up to at Foxholes, do make sure to check out our social media channels.

Alternatively, take a look at our previous article to find out all about the Christmas fayre we recently held at our home.