Stimulation in care homes - am I the only one who cares

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by JaneStreet, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. JaneStreet

    JaneStreet Registered User

    Apr 4, 2014
    My mum has been in a home for about two months now. I live very close and have supported her a lot. I helped care for her with other people at home but it all got too much. She is very fit and mobile and loves to be kept busy as well as exercising. She is probably quit unusual which is why I feel alone in my frustration at why the care home cannot provide more stimulation.
    I used to do so much with her and there is a wealth of info on the internet. The home does not have internet so they can't access singing etc I (or another carer) go in regularly to take her out walking and as I am a musician I also play to them. She would be so bored if I left her there. Am I expecting too much?
  2. Maymab

    Maymab Registered User

    Oct 8, 2013
    I totally understand your frustration. My husband was in a brand new Care Home incorporating many new ideas in the building and so on, but there seemed to be very little happening in the way of activities for the residents. I think one problem is the shortage of staff, and I strongly believe that every care home should have a designated person who organizes activities. Another excuse I have heard from staff is that people with dementia are difficult to motivate, or won't join in, and therefore they give up. I do feel that music in particular should be a regular part of the regime of every care home. Even those who can't or won't join in can listen and enjoy. I also think that the opportunity to walk is very important for those who can do it.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Talking Point mobile app
  3. Maldives13

    Maldives13 Registered User

    Feb 4, 2014
    So pleased you raised this.
    My Mum has been in a care home for 9 months now. I spend a lot of time with her and take her out - thank goodness as she doesn't get much stimulation otherwise. The home have people coming in probably 2-3 times a week which is great. The rest of the time the staff are supposed to do karaoke or quizzes!! When she first went in this happened but has really dwindled to nothing now.
    I agree each home should have someone solely responsible for activities. Strikes me people with dementia need more stimulation than others as they aren't able to motivate themselves or aren't able to decide what they want to do.
    You have given me the courage to put a suggestion in their suggestion box about activities!!
  4. tigerlady

    tigerlady Registered User

    Nov 29, 2015
    My husband's care home has 2 activities co-ordinators, and a list of the weeks activities go up on the board every week. Unfortunately most do not interest my husband, such as crafts or baking, but at least they have music therapy every week, and a singer about twice a month which is very good. Some of the things I would not really call activities, such as reminiscing or looking at the papers. They also have little events, eg. an Alice in Wonderland tea party, where the carers dressed up as characters from the book, a summer fete, a Western day, where carers dressed up as cowboys, a Christmas fayre, Christmas Concert etc.

    There is also a lady who comes in and does armchair boogie, which is exercises to music while sitting, and another lady who does laughter therapy, which is very good and leaves everyone feeling happy.

    If you want suggestions to put forward to the care home, look at the website below and see if anything there would be suitable.
  5. Dustycat

    Dustycat Registered User

    Jul 14, 2014
    North East
    My Dad's care home has an activities organiser. Things that irritate me are the TV on with any old rubbish on it, the activities coordinator only works Monday to Friday whereas the residents are there on a weekend, the list of activities on the notice board is always out of date. Having said that my Dad takes very little interest in anything these days but I always think things could be just that bit better. X
  6. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    One very good activity I saw at my mother's CH was musical bingo - short snatches of old or very familiar songs or hymns, with outsize 'cards' to go with them. The residents did seem to enjoy it, though most needed a bit of help, so it wasn't practical with more than about half a dozen round a table.

    i agree about the TV being on with any old rubbish. My mother's CH was very good, but I often thought the programmes were the carers' choice. I would have liked to provide DVDs I thought most of them might enjoy, but the great big TV on the wall had no DVD player and there was nowhere to put one in a position where it couldn't be fiddled with.
  7. PollyP.

    PollyP. Registered User

    Oct 8, 2009
    Herefordshire UK
    Hi Jane

    My Mum's care home has an activity co-ordinator who works 4 days per week. She is great and is always arranging things for them to do. They seem to turn any occasion into a good excuse for a party. e.g. Burns night. Valentine's day. They have quite a few musical activities, and even have a fashion show courtesy of a local well known store, where the ladies can choose some nice clothes if they wish. Just recently a young man came in and brought his reptiles for the residents to hold. Mum has a few photos of her with an iguana, snake and huge spider (sitting on the palm of her hand :eek:

    I hope that things improve in your Mum's home.

  8. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    some of the talking about activities are good.

    Father is living at home with me but for the past couple of years I have been going to a dementia cafe and staying in the room with him.

    Some of the reminiscing activities are actually quite good, especially those that are supported by photos or objects. One of the best was the 'Going Out' session where they were split in men and women and the artefacts included vintage underwear, powder compacts, bow ties etc etc. The items did spark memories, so I wouldn't dismiss the reminiscing unless you know it to be of poor quality. You can get a newspaper aimed at PWD which has got general news and themes in it rather than up to the minute news. The articles were used to spark conversation.

    My father is also very physically fit but does enjoy these sessions. I do think there is a deficit of activities for people who are active. My father likes good quality magnetic darts and more recently rubber band catapault gliders. Fortunately the wind got them off the roof. A version of swingball using hands must be possible. T
  9. onlyme1

    onlyme1 Registered User

    Sep 10, 2011
    #9 onlyme1, Mar 21, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
    at CH where mum and dad live there's lots going on: activity lady twice weekly. OOMH, singalong guitarist, PAT dog visit, aromatherapist and dog, afternoon trip out are all held monthly, plus themed events like valentine's and Yorkshire day. on a Sunday afternoon we have a musical on dvd and I've just started doing a singalong too, yesterday 9 of the 21 residents joined in heartily and one of the ladies said 'thank you so much that was lovely', I replied I bet you say that to all the girls and she said 'well you have a special way, it makes us want to join in'. (maybe it's more to do with the sweets I take in and encourage them to hand round!) I felt all warm inside. x
  10. JaneStreet

    JaneStreet Registered User

    Apr 4, 2014
    Yes you are right - people with dementia need more stimulation because as you say they cannot think for themselves. They feel so much better (was we all do ) when we have achieved something no matter how small it is. We had a meeting with the manager and she agreed it was because of the staff shortage but since I have raised it there seems to be more happening. Not sure it will last but I'm determined to keep trying.
  11. JaneStreet

    JaneStreet Registered User

    Apr 4, 2014
    Yes the TV is always on at the care home my mother is in too and yes the weekends are the worse. I would like to have a weekend off from visiting but feel it's never possible. I know that we often think people aren't interested in things and I suppose it is easy for the staff to give up if they feel they try but sometimes you have to keep trying to find that spark and also as a previous person said music is very powerful and people can listen
  12. JaneStreet

    JaneStreet Registered User

    Apr 4, 2014
    That's so lovely to hear, sounds a lovely home and proves that it's possible
  13. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    My husband's home had 3 Activities organisers who worked all week and at weekends.
    There were usually 2 on at a time but only one at weekends . Various musicians and other entertainers came in from time to time but when nobody was in, there were art and craft sessions, bingo, reminiscence under the guise of quizzes, sing-alongs and tea parties in the garden etc etc. Special occasions were also organised by them as were outside visits to a garden centre and even a pantomime for those that were mobile.
    Unfortunately my husband was unable to take advantage of many as he was immobile and had to be hoisted everywhere though he did love the musical activities.
    It was a lovely home, owned and run by the local authority.
  14. JaneStreet

    JaneStreet Registered User

    Apr 4, 2014
    Thanks to all who responded. I think care homes will have to change their thinking, after all this problem is't going away and as we all live longer and remain fitter. A third of us may end up in a home so we should all try to help them improve. I think the staff need a higher rate of pay and more training - I will write to my local MP about it.
    Thank you

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