Advice on Mental stimulation in care/nursinghomes

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Lovetosing, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. Lovetosing

    Lovetosing Registered User

    Sep 15, 2013
    24
    West Midlands
    There is little small group or individual mental stimulation/activities offered to residents with staff on a daily basis in the care home where our relative resides. The range of dementia is quite broad but there are some people with similar skills/levels of understanding. There are external activities that are organised for residents, either trips out or professionals coming in for exercise, pampering, animal contact etc. each week. However there is too much time when residents either sleep during day time hours or display repetitive behaviour probably due to boredom.

    We are very happy with the physical appearance and cleanliness of the home, the fabulous staff who are busy working hard with care and compassion for the residents, the meals, personal hygiene, the way he is dressed etc.

    Whilst we appreciate that residents do need rest and relaxation time, we also believe that mental stimulation is equally important. If anyone out there can give us any suggestions of activities or examples of good practice they have witnessed, or indeed how to tackle this issue with the Manager of the Home we would be very grateful. Thanks.
     
  2. Pottingshed50

    Pottingshed50 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2012
    514
    In fairness to the home I suppose it is very difficult to cover everyone's needs all of the time really. Peoples ability to carry out tasks differ from one person to another. Someone may be capable of playing cards, doing a jigsaw, using a puzzle book etc.

    Some residents probably enjoy a good natter while others like to just sit and people watch, I know I do.

    I am sure there must be books to read and magazines and daily papers. In the summer is there a garden where those who are capable and interested can sit and may be do some gardening under supervision. This is essential as I have witness someone quite not knowing what they were doing, scaring another resident with a small garden fork.

    It must be very difficult for Care Homes but like you I would be interested to hear of other people ideas.
     
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,732
    Female
    London
    Bingo! Armchair exercise! Quizzes! Jigsaws and picturebeads! Arts and crafts! There really is no excuse in my opinion, our day centre manages it and they cater for all stages of dementia.
     
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,289
    SW London
    When we were completely new to the whole CH thing and were looking for one for FIL, I remember being appalled to see so many people 'just sitting' in armchairs. However my mother is now one of those - she is past being able to enjoy or participate in activities and TBH didn't do much even when she was able, since she was never a 'joiner-inner' - some people just aren't and dislike being jollied or chivvied into doing things. I once found her at a very noisy music session which she told me she hated - she had always hated anything noisy. I said, 'Why did you come, then?'
    'I didn't like to say no.'

    Having said that, her CH organises plenty of activities inc. games (musical bingo is one I have mentioned before) as well as music/singing sessions and trips out for those who are able. And those of the residents who are willing and able certainly seem to enjoy them.

    But I do think people may often get to the stage where they can't cope with a lot going on, and do want to 'just sit' or wander about for much of the time, and in a CH that is after all their home I think they should be allowed that choice.
     
  5. Lovetosing

    Lovetosing Registered User

    Sep 15, 2013
    24
    West Midlands
    [TQUOTE=Pottingshed50;1073585]In fairness to the home I suppose it is very difficult to cover everyone's needs all of the time really. Peoples ability to carry out tasks differ from one person to another. Someone may be capable of playing cards, doing a jigsaw, using a puzzle book etc.

    Some residents probably enjoy a good natter while others like to just sit and people watch, I know I do.

    I am sure there must be books to read and magazines and daily papers. In the summer is there a garden where those who are capable and interested can sit and may be do some gardening under supervision. This is essential as I have witness someone quite not knowing what they were doing, scaring another resident with a small garden fork.

    It must be very difficult for Care Homes but like you I would be interested to hear of other people ideas.[/QUOTE]
     
  6. Lovetosing

    Lovetosing Registered User

    Sep 15, 2013
    24
    West Midlands
    Mental Stimulationi in care homes

    Thanks for your replies. The Day Centre attended prior to admission to the CH was very much enjoyed because it kept him occupied. He does get bored quickly and is happy to people watch and read some of the time but certainly not all day. We take things in and occupy him for a couple of hours each day but we haven't seen staff doing anything similar. I think the difference between Day Centres and CHs may be staffing/client ratios. We are meeting with the CH Mgr to discuss the situation and see what happens from there. They are usually very open to suggestions but I would be very surprised if other relatives haven't mentioned this before now.
     
  7. Dustycat

    Dustycat Registered User

    Jul 14, 2014
    215
    North East
    I am in a similar situation with my Dad's care home. Their activities coordinator is off sick and there is no contingency plan. The manager says that the care staff are meant to do it but I don't think they see it as their job. Annoys me that they can't even take the time to find something decent on the TV. But having said that I think my Dad is getting to the stage of having little interest. Good luck. Xx
     
  8. Lovetosing

    Lovetosing Registered User

    Sep 15, 2013
    24
    West Midlands
    Thank you. Sorry to hear about your situation. I know how frustrating it is because you want the best service offered to your loved ones and for them to be treated as we would want to be treated ourselves. Fortunately we are very pleased with almost every other aspect of the CH but I know more stimulation is required otherwise it will be a case of use it or lose it and he has still got some cognition at present which we obviously want to keep for as long as possible.
     
  9. shaz2110

    shaz2110 Registered User

    Nov 25, 2014
    2
    i understand

    hi, im an activities coordinator at a nursing home housing 37 residents the majority are in the later stages of dementia, parkinsons, alzheimers etc, most are not mobile some cant move hands or arms others are in bed unable to sit, some unable to talk or follow instructions so its really hard to get group activities going a game of bingo is out the question, as are jigsaw for a lot of people (due to small bit) the best we can and do do are 1-1 a chat while putting on some hand cream , 1 jigsaw with 1 person , dominos again need to be carefull on small bits , we have to be careful with what we put out for the more able residents as we have some that wander and will eat anything so even to leave someone happily colouring isnt safe in case someone comes to eat the pen tops or just take away the pen pot and with 1-1 you cant be everywhere, if someone gets a visistor then i wont go over and start doing something with them as it is there time so it maybe that your family member is getting stimulation just not when your there
     
  10. Lovetosing

    Lovetosing Registered User

    Sep 15, 2013
    24
    West Midlands
    Thanks for responses. I am very pleased to report that the CH has now employed an Activities Co-ordinator who is trying different things with different people, sometimes individually and sometimes in small groups. New products have been purchased which are being well used too. At least now, those that do enjoy having something to do, have the opportunity to do so and our relative is one of them. He's doing things now that he would probably never have done pre-dementia but is enjoying the satisfaction of achievement, or singing, or just spending time with someone who has the time to be able to spend talking to him. Yippee. :) Hope she stays!! :eek:
     
  11. katie1

    katie1 Registered User

    Aug 5, 2014
    122
    Kendal Cumbria
    Lovetosing........would you mind listing some of the activities that have been organised, just to give others some ideas on what to suggest. Sometimes staff in Care Homes ask what a relative might like to do and that is often the difficulty.....we aren't sure!
    I have no idea what my Dad might want to do, he didn't really do much before he went in to a Nursing Home, well, he read history and archeology books and did lots of walking, but just because he didn't show an interest in an activity before does not mean he might not want to try now.
    (however a carer asked him if he wanted to help with a baking activity yesterday and he said "er.....I DONT think so!"and apparently that was the attitude of all the men, only the women 'helped'!)
    So it would be helpful to find out what other homes are offering because Dads Nursing Home has just had a new activities co ordinator who has not been in that role before.
     
  12. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    12,528
    Female
    England
    My husband's nursing home has a sensory room which is well used. My husband says very little but is certainly more alert after his session.

    They have games where they throw balls onto a Velcro type square pad and the balls stick. If they can't throw then the pad can go on their lap and they can place the balls on. They have small instruments that make a bit of a noise and they shake them in time to music. They have cards, books, crayons, pencils etc. they have a large ball that is light and it has written questions all over it. As you catch it you read a question out. As the men can no longer read the carers read the questions and the answers are really weird. They make me smile. They have invested skittles and ball though mostly because they are far advanced they sit and talk with the carers or go into the garden.

    I think they do their very best they can for the men.
     
  13. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    I think it is more difficult to amuse men, many activities are more 'woman' based, although our generation would perhaps see them as more unisex.

    unusually my father did enjoy cooking, not many men see it a their role, particually the older generation.

    What would men have done as hobbies ? Gardening, perhaps DIY, maintained the car and things like that.

    Whilst activity co-ords may find it easier to find activities to occupy women, it must be harder for men.
     
  14. shaz2110

    shaz2110 Registered User

    Nov 25, 2014
    2
    what ive found out

    when its someones birthday we put a few ballons out and a banner for them, when we take it down i often throw the ballon about, but they dont seem to go far , i bought a pack off 4 plastic fly swatters in shape of large hand from the pound shop now their dosnt seem to be enough fly swats they love them ( though after a session of chasing ballons round hitting them back my legs kill the next day) most sem more coordinated using the long handed flyswat to whack the ballon back all for the price of £1. also found they enjoy a bowl of cheerios which can be threaded onto a piece of wool or long shoelace when full hang it out for birds which then gives them another interest to watch for the birds coming (and they do come) if we break a cherrio then we can also eat them :).
     

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