The unseen elements of care home activities

Written by: Candice Stead Published: March 14, 2023

Care home activities have a vital role to play in the health and wellbeing of residents’ lives at Brendoncare. Our wellbeing team caters for everyone, organising an active calendar of social, lifestyle and physical events to suit all ages and abilities.

Rebecca Spicer,  Brendoncare’s Wellbeing Manager, reflects on care home activities on offer.

“There aren’t many professions where you can learn about someone’s life story and share precious memories of marriage and love. You can also encourage residents to develop a new skill and help another to rediscover a forgotten hobby or interest. Above all, it’s where you can find laughter in your every day.

“Our Brendoncare wellbeing team provides opportunities for social interaction between care home residents with shared hobbies and interests. They bring in outside entertainers and visitors to give talks or play instruments, or source new and improved ways of doing things. Wherever possible, they always involve furry animals!

“The wellbeing coordinators have to be inventive. They adapt their care home activities to suit a variety of needs or abilities and always have a plan B. Build relationships with the catering teams is also important. They continuously plan events throughout the year, offering something special – and of course always provide the fun!

The past year has included special celebrations for the King’s Coronation and visits from a mobile farm.

The unseen elements of care home activities

“There are also elements of support in care home activities that are often unseen.

“A reassuring touch of a held hand whilst sharing personal stories, the comforting presence during daily walks around our gardens. These are things our wellbeing coordinators provide that are often overlooked. These small one-to-one opportunities of what our homes call ‘personal focus’. This is where a resident can have quality time to do anything they would like and makes a massive difference to those living with us.

“‘Personal focus’ time may include writing a letter, reminiscing over old photos, watching a much loved programme on TV, going for a walk, having support with Zoom calls, crafting, playing music or learning a new skill together.

“Making time for these one-to-one personal activities gives our residents joy and brings out that all important smile.

“Similar to personal focus time, we also ensure to incorporate Material Citizenship into our care plans. This uses personal, functional items as a resource to ensure people living with dementia maintain their identity, have choice and control and enjoy a meaningful life.

Stand out moments from our wellbeing coordinators

Betty, wellbeing coordinator at Brendoncare Stildon, has spent time with a resident living with dementia to help her improve on her writing. They have been practising writing a line every day. Retaining letter form and remembering words has been something the resident has been struggling with. They’ve focused on this by talking about what to include and copying some writing. Being able to read aloud her thoughts helped improve her writing skills. Over Christmas, she wrote her own Christmas cards to send to family and became emotional when she was able to handwrite a card to her sister.

Laura, wellbeing coordinator at Brendoncare Froxfield, has been working with the care staff and wellbeing team to support a resident with her speech and communication. The resident has been living at Froxfield since having a stroke. She has had relatively poor communication since her admission.

Her speech is now coming along well due to their support. The family have commented on how nice it is for her to be able to hold small conversations. They have also noticed that she is making more connections with words and their meanings during their visits.

Carla, wellbeing supervisor at Brendoncare Alton, finds the simple things can really make a huge difference. She spends time with the residents in the garden, feeding the birds, being outside in fresh air and taking time to stop and enjoy the moment. One resident has thrived being active outside and has been filling the feeders on his own.

Carla also finds that helping residents continue with everyday tasks they would have done at home can be beneficial and of comfort to them.