For us ‘activities’ is a broad term which does not really express the depth and breadth of what is offered to our residents.
It is important to begin with a definition of what we see the aim of ‘activities’ to be. For us the aim is to provide an emotional support for residents. To create a sense of place and belonging, to build friendships and a sense of community, and to feel safe and valued. Onto this foundation we add layers of personal skills and interests, tailored small group activities and large home events.
Combating loneliness is the key to preserving the person. Carers and activity co ordinators cannot be the only ones responsible for this. It has to be encouraged by recognising small acts of kindness by fellow residents. Allowing those with inherent nurture skills to be positive role models. Promoting the value of each resident, and hence developing a very strong sense of community within the home.
We have given certificates to residents who have prevented falls from happening. A Good Neighbour Award which was devised and nominated by one resident to another.
We encourage friendships that we see developing. Friends can sit in each others rooms for coffee if they would like, or eat meals together at a private table. We offer small group activities so those with the same interests can be encouraged to chat whilst working together. We praise lavishly and find the good in everyone.
Chatting is the most important activity. Through communication we get to know them. We use reminiscing boxes, photographs and ipad to tease out stories. A hand massage and manicure is an ideal opportunity to talk quietly together. An interest in them and a question is often all you need to get them to open up and talk about themselves. With that knowledge we can more suitably tailor future activities around them.
These vary with each new resident. These are a few examples:-
- Library service
- Daily Newspapers
- Audio books
- Listening to music
- Playing the piano