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Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Care Homes

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Airedale, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Airedale

    Airedale Registered User

    Jan 10, 2017
    I am working on an Alzheimer's Society programme that aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia in care homes. We're doing this by trying to increase social and community interactions, for example, encouraging local people and groups to come in to care homes, befriend residents and do activities together that everyone will enjoy. We'd welcome any suggestions on the types of activities and interactions that others think could reduce isolation and loneliness in care homes?
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    I can't think of any ideas but just wanted to say welcome to TP :)
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Pets. Anything you can stroke.
  4. Angie1996

    Angie1996 Registered User

    May 15, 2016
    Same as Beate animals was always a big winner from what I have witnessed myself.

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  5. Nut

    Nut Registered User

    Sep 30, 2013
    There's a scrabble group in my Mum's home

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  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Get people in to sing to them - especially some of the old songs (altogether now - "Oh its one of those songs that you hear now and then......."). Groups like a school choir or the Brownies goes down well.
  7. Malalie

    Malalie Registered User

    Sep 1, 2016
    Slide shows...or Powerpoint presentations I suppose nowadays(no diagrams, writing or flow charts!!)....ie "The most Beautiful Gardens in Gt Britain", "London Shows of the 1950's", "English Superstitions"...and a bit of chat about the subject....?
  8. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    It depends on what type of "care home" and how far progressed the AZ is.
    Based on the home where my wife is I'd be reluctant to bring in children other than to visit in their room, and then relatives (as in grandchildren) not the local brownies.
    Very few watch the cinema screen and very few join in with singing events, in fact these things seem to be more of an annoyance to their routine that they achieve.
    The suggestion of Scrabble :D:D:D, how can people who can't string a sentence together play scrabble, as I say it depends what you define as a care home and how far advanced the AZ is with them.
    Positive bit, I agree with the pets idea, but they have to be animals that very passive as unpredictable reactions can happen, as always when taking animals into someone else's home (and it is the resident's home) you have to work around the people who don't like it (not them work round you) and remember that culturally some people don't like animals in the house (dogs in particular) so residents or relatives may object.
  9. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015
    I totally agree with Kevini. One size does not fit all. So many variables to consider. Yes many people love their pets but not everyone likes dogs, cats etc. I don't mean to offend anyone but in my opinion this is a fact. As Kevini says you are going into someone's home. Tread softly and carefully please.

    I also firmly believe that the resident has the right to opt out of activity.

    Some people want to visit my OH now that he is in a NH, but haven't seen him for years and have no idea how to interact with him. This has upset and confused him.

    Sorry about this but the last thing he needs is for people traipsing in from the locality.... For the sake of activities.

    I will quietly head off to my "cave " now!!

  10. tigerlady

    tigerlady Registered User

    Nov 29, 2015
    Just being with the resident and encouraging them to chat is the most important thing I think. They often dont interact with the other residents, and carers and usually too busy to sit down and give them the social interaction they need. Once my husband starts chatting, its hard to stop him, although he mostly says things that dont make sense, he gets pleasure from people laughing when he does, or saying yes or I think so if he seems to want a reply. If they are still able to focus on pictures, looking through old photos or a picture book related to things in their past is a good idea.

    My husbands home does have PAT dogs to visit sometimes and also miniature ponies, birds of prey, and once they had rabbits. I take our dog in regularly, as my husband loves her so much, and although she is there primarily for my husband, many of the other residents love to see her and stroke her.
  11. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Kevin makes a fair point.

    I was assuming that it was a CH where the residents dont have challenging behaviour and there is another lounge that residents can sit in if they dont want to join in.

    Whatever you do, you must make sure that it is appropriate for the stage that the residents are at. Please dont go in with a "new initiative" and all guns blazing assuming that this will work for everyone.

    Something I was hesitant to say the first time I posted, but will say now, is that most people with dementia in CHs are not lonely. Before mum went into a CH she was indeed lonely and isolated because she needed someone with her 24/7, but once she moved into the CH she made friends with the other residents and staff and there is always someone around to chat to. She has now reached the stage where she can no longer maintain friendship, though, and spends most of her time in silence, just watching the comings and goings of people around her. She still likes to watch the activities, but from outside she may appear lonely and understimulated - she is not.
  12. Chemmy

    Chemmy Volunteer Moderator

    Nov 7, 2011
    I would have thought discussing the possibilities on a home by home basis with the management and the activity co-ordinator was the best way to go with this excellent initiative. Each home will have its own requirements, which may indeed vary depending on the needs of their residents at any one time.

    My mum was in a dementia home and singsongs were very popular, and as canary says, can be enjoyed by those who don't seem actively involved. But go easy on the first world war songs please! Nothing wrong with a bit of Andy Williams or Doris Day. :D Or even Cliff.

    However, when Mum was in her not-speaking-to-me phase, I used to try and interact with some of the other residents instead. I've played snakes and ladders and dominos, and one afternoon, a male resident and I simply rolled a couple of balls across a table to each other. I never ever heard him speak, but I could see by his smile he was enjoying an incredibly simple activity.
  13. Airedale

    Airedale Registered User

    Jan 10, 2017
    Thank you

    Thank you everyone who has replied to this thread for the suggestions, comments and advice. Just to reassure people, we will use these suggestions to open conversations with individual residents about what they might enjoy and there will be no pressure to get involved. We will be talking to families and residents to make sure we're finding activities that are right for that home and especially that individual. As we get more deeply involved it does become clearer that it's much less about organised activities and doing things "to people" and more about personal interaction, developing relationships and befriending people who might want more social interaction. Please do keep the ideas coming but please be reassured that they will be used sensitively.
  14. Chemmy

    Chemmy Volunteer Moderator

    Nov 7, 2011
    Taking in some simple instruments that the residents could use in conjunction with music might be an idea. That way listening become an active exercise, rather than a passive one.

    My grandchildren have enjoyed a music group since they were babies and these are the sorts of instruments they use


    Lightweight, easy to grip and not too noisy. Something similar might work.
  15. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    At dads care home they have 6th form volunteers who come in weekly and chat 1 to 1 with targeted residents who like dad don't engage in group activities, and he is verbally very muddled now and sometimes non communicative but when these young people come to talk to him it seems to unlock something not every time but it is important he and others get the opportunity....perhaps he feels he is giving career advice as he used to for us ....the students are all helped guided and supervised by the activity coordinator but seeing young people about in the home certainly enriches his life in care. The home also sometimes have medical students in and this can only be a good thing...for the residents...but also to give these students a glimpse of the real dementia world to hopefully gain an understanding of the challenges to carry into their profession.
  16. Damiank

    Damiank Registered User

    In nursing home where I work they do aerobic physio sessions and karaoke singing old songs, it is very popular
  17. Jully26

    Jully26 Registered User

    Jul 12, 2017
    Wow great !! I actually searching information about health but after read your post now i got knowledge about health and well being in care homes. Thanks for your post.

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