Activities For Older People: The Key To A Happy Old Age
Deciding the best care for a loved one can be very traumatic, especially if old age is meaning they cannot look after themselves sufficiently at home. Care homes have not had the best press of late so how do you decide what is best, and what can care homes do to ensure the best for those in their care?
Here is a very useful guide from Hallmark Care Homes.
Care homes still suffer from a certain image problem, particularly when it comes to the social lives of their residents. Stretched resources, over-worked staff and lacklustre facilities often mean that activities and social events for the elderly end up low down the priority list. Of course this is the stereotype that’s pervasive thanks to current media hype about failing care homes, and a lingering shadow from a bygone age of “out of sight out of mind” care for the elderly.
Little activities can make a big difference
These days most care homes have an activities co-ordinator, either paid or voluntary, whose job is to organise and implement stimulating activities for the residents, on both a group and individual basis. How involved these activities are will depend on many factors but the following are a few tips on the kind of approach that results in best outcomes for residents.
- Tailored Activities. Although the usual suspects of quizzes and live music are enjoyed by most, it’s important that a care home tailor their events and activities to the interests and abilities of their residents. Activities need to be engaging and challenging but also realistically within the capability of the individual. A resident who has mobility issues won’t benefit much from a ballroom dancing session. The staff and co-ordinator should take steps to make sure activities are suitable, but they should also be open to your input.
- Variety. They say it’s the spice of life and there’s no doubt that doing the same activities week in week out will quickly lead to residents disengaging and staying in their rooms. By providing a varied programme of activities, from simple coffee mornings to arts and crafts and day trips, a care home will ensure residents will be excited and stimulated. It’s also been shown that offering a consistent yet varied activities schedule helps reduce incidence of depression and falls.
- Inclusive. Often residents can feel that the activities on offer aren’t for them, or they can feel a bit inhibited. A good care home will take steps to ensure that the atmosphere around their activities and social events is one that puts residents at ease, even if they can’t engage in every aspect of the activity. By being welcoming and creating a feeling of fun the activities co-ordinator can make sure the majority of residents are engaged with the activities.
If you’re investigating the possibility of placing a loved one in a care home, whether for residential or nursing care, it’s important that you evaluate the activity programme on offer. The standards of physical or medical care are obviously of paramount importance, but if residents’ emotional and social needs aren’t met then their life can quickly become mundane which can lead to depression and anxiety.
The home should outline its approach to social and physical activities in its brochures, but if not then make sure you ask the questions. You might feel like you’re being interfering, but when it comes to the well-being of a loved one you have the right to know that they will be secure and happy in their new home.