Activities and Hobbies
Every experience is unique.
Elreg House is a family run facility with family values. What would life be like if there was nothing to look forward to in the day or nobody needed us for anything? Many people with dementia have led busy lives. The day can seem very long when there are no jobs to be done and no one depends on us for anything anymore.
By asking someone to participate in an activity, however small, such as helping us to fold a sheet or dry the dishes, we are saying something important: ‘You are a person with a purpose. I value your help.’ The more we take over all the tasks, the more the person is likely to withdraw and feel that they are not valued. At Elreg House we encourage residents to carry out small tasks throughout the day, such as helping to lay the table or watering the plants, which helps retain self-esteem and involvement in daily life.
Activity in dementia as part of the whole day
At Elreg House our staff change a routine task into a positive experience, depending on how they approach the person and the activity.
When helping someone to get up in the morning, the following ideas give examples of putting ‘activity’ into ‘care’:
Taking someone out into the garden or involving them with making their own bed should be recorded as a core component of care.
- drawing the curtains with the person to check out the weather and having a chat about the weather
- supporting the person to continue their preferred routine when they wake up, for example, turning on the radio, having a drink, or looking at the newspaper
- offering visual choices of what to wear and a chance to talk about preferences, for example of trousers versus skirts or different colours.
Often, it’s not what we do but the way that we do it that matters most.
Stimulating the senses
Over time, as dementia progresses, it is important we think about activities that are less reliant on words and intellect and find things that can stimulate all five key senses. These are: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
Starting to skip in the middle of the living room with a real skipping rope, for example, is more likely to engage a person with dementia than simply asking them what games they used to play as a child. Our staff find ways to trigger memories much more immediately than using verbal questions.
When planning an activity – whether for an individual or a group – we think about having something physical to get the body moving, something mental to engage the brain, and something sensory to stimulate the senses.
Activity and care planning
Care planning usually focuses on physical and clinical aspects of care, and tends to emphasise problems. Our care plans place as much emphasis on whether someone’s social and emotional needs are being met as on whether a person’s bowels have opened or their medication has been administered.
All staff will need some support and possibly training to recognise that taking someone out into the garden or involving them with making their own bed should be recorded as a core component of care. For care homes, this will also assist when providing evidence of good activity provision to inspecting authorities. Good assessment tools such as the Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument and the Cardiff Lifestyle Improvement Profile for People in Extended Residential Care (CLIPPER) can help guide care staff on how to integrate activity elements into personal care tasks.
Become a butterfly: change the moment
The dementia training philosophy we use; Dementia Care Matters promotes the idea of care staff ‘being a butterfly’ as it is possible for a butterfly to change the moment in an instant when it chooses to rest on a flower, if only for a moment. There are many things care staff can do in under a minute that can lift the mood of an individual or a whole room of people, such as:
- wear something colourful or unusual which will catch the eye
- skip or dance through a room rather than walk
- give someone a compliment
- split a satsuma orange in half and share with a person.
Our Activities Co-ordinator is always on hand to discuss anything related to Activities and Hobbies at any time during your loved one’s stay with us.
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Activities tailored to the needs of our residents.
Each resident is an individual with their own interests, likes and dislikes. We work hard to understand these needs and put together experiences and activities to best suit your loved ones unique personality.
Choosing a care home for someone is an important decision.
Elreg House is a safe, adapted environment for those living with dementia whilst still valuing each resident as an individual.