Dementia care: how a care home can support your loved one
- Credit: Dave Pratt Photography
Do you have a family or loved one with dementia?
Understanding the best ways to provide care for anyone living with dementia can be a difficult and challenging time. Here to explain more, Joshua Slator, director of Worcester Lodge Care Home and Osborne House in Clevedon, North Somerset, shares four productive ways to help those with dementia keep mentally and physically active.
“Yoga is fantastic not only for physical wellbeing but as way of socialising too,” Joshua says. “We have a qualified yoga teacher who comes to the home every week to run a session for the residents. It’s great because it gives them a sense of routine with a familiar face to see every week.”
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic when social distancing measures were in place, the yoga teacher continued with her lessons from a safe distance through the glass of the conservatory, where residents could mimic her movements whilst listening to music and her instructions through speakers set up nearby.
“Consistency is key for those with dementia. It helps support their mental capacity and ability to experience day-to-day life,” Joshua tells us. “We really have made every effort at our homes to continue events and activities as much as possible throughout the pandemic, avoiding disruption and confusion for our residents.”
“Audio stimulation is just as crucial as visual for keeping the mind active with dementia. Music and singing are best enjoyed collectively as a group and our in-house professional singer created ‘musical fun Fridays’ which offers residents the opportunity to participate in the activity with instruments, singing or just by watching,” Joshua says.
There’s flags and streamers which can be used throughout to help involve those who may not want to sing or play an instrument but still want to take part. Joshua explains how this helps promote engagement and socialising to form friendships which ultimately improves their mental health in the long-term.
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“At our homes, we hold many art-based days for our residents, where they can enjoy different themes and get stuck into different types of artworks like painting, modelling, knitting and sketching,” Joshua says.
The activity co-ordinators organise activities based on seasonal, cultural, and festive themes like autumn and Christmas to keep it exciting – there are printouts which stimulate their mind and inspire them to get creative and have fun. “There’s an activity called ‘armchair travel’ where each chair represents a different country that has quizzes and food, and there are paints and pens for them to create their own pieces based around a country,” Joshua explains.
“We have a ‘Tree of Joy’ which is an ongoing project where residents can add freehand pieces, stencil drawings or natural things like dried flowers, all designed to promote happiness to give them something to continuously work on.”
Technology can play a vital role in a care home environment. “Our homes were some of the first in the country to install interactive, infra-red games consoles with games designed for dementia,” Joshua explains.
“The console’s touch projection reacts to movement so the residents can interact with games by sweeping leaves or pushing beachballs, for example. Residents can play together in groups of four or five, increasing their connectivity with the resident community as well as stimulating their mind.”
A recent addition to Worcester Lodge is a giant touch screen dementia-specialised tablet.
“Our exciting new 40-inch cabinet screen can be moved into rooms for those who are less mobile so they can still engage with the games and activities on offer,” he says. The various apps they use will save their videos and favourite things which allows them to go back and enjoy the same ones again. Joshua explains how this kind of consistency and familiarity is crucial to keeping the brain active and engaged.
“We have personal playlists for each resident so it stores and records their preferences and most-played games, making suggestions for other ones they may like,” he says.
Both Worcester Lodge and Osborne House have highly trained staff that can tailor their care and brilliant facilities to those with dementia to ensure they receive the physical and mental support they need.
Contact Worcester Lodge on 01275 874031, email email@example.com, or go to worcesterlodge.co.uk for more information.
Contact Osborne House on 01275 871020, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit osbornecarehomes.co.uk for more information.