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How to Keep Care Home Residents Stimulated

There’s no doubt that as the population ages, the dark clouds of dementia hover over us all. Therefore, finding a place to be cared for in our dotage has never been so important, and a place that offers activities to help keep you stimulated can be very beneficial.

stimulating activites

Why Do Care Homes Need to Stimulate the Residents?

In a recent survey, care homes were criticised for a lack of activities. This has consequences for those suffering from dementia specifically, with the National Association for Providers of Activities (NAPA) suggesting that activities should be an intrinsic part of care home routines.

Currently, approximately 80% of people living in a residential care home have dementia. Dementia sufferers can quickly become agitated and lose their sense of joy and fun, so this makes an enjoyable and fulfilling activities programme more important than ever.

In 2013, the National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) set standards for the mental well-being of older people in care homes. These encouraged emotional, creative, intellectual and spiritual health.

What Makes a Great Activities Programme?

Recently, news items about nursing homes have been disturbing and negative. The image is often that of isolation and distress. If you happen to search for private care homes in West Sussex, for example, you will find many care homes redressing the balance.

Loss of self-esteem, depression, memory loss, reduced mobility and loneliness can be overwhelming in old age. A carefully crafted activities programme can promote a sense of purpose and increase self-esteem.

How to Choose Your Care Home

The best care homes offer a bespoke service for the individual. A designated member of staff tailors activities to improve the mind and encourage socialisation and stimulation.

Whatever your age, there are obvious benefits and positive outcomes from being physically active. Most private care homes adopt this philosophy wholeheartedly, offering a range of activities from balloon volleyball to boccia . Inclusion is encouraged, thus improving motor skills and core strength. Residents have a sense of accomplishment, particularly when participating in competitions, and their sleep can improve from increased activity. .

Movement is integrated in music programmes. Music therapy aids dementia sufferers and is generally uplifting. Regular recitals and productions are popular in addition to more participatory events. Familiar music invokes long-term memory. Although not yet proven, there may also be gains for short-term memory improvement. In many care homes across the UK, residents enjoy singalongs, line dancing and live music shows. Audience participation using percussion instruments not only improves dexterity but also injects fun.

Art and craft activities give a sense of accomplishment. Residents can communicate through art in a way they may not be able to verbally, raising their self-esteem and reducing isolation. Painting, working with clay, compiling scrapbooks, sorting, gardening and cooking are all positive activities.

Animal therapy is used to reduce agitation in dementia residents. It has a calming influence and is stimulating for those who are room-bound. The Pets as Therapy programme allows selected animals and their owners to visit care home residents. Visits to riding schools, farms and animal parks are encouraged for those with greater mobility.

Focusing on the individual and who they used to be is important. Furniture from home should be encouraged, faith acknowledged and hobbies and interests recalled.

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