At Friends of the Elderly, we always have the wellbeing of our residents and clients at the heart of everything we do. To reinforce our commitment, our Charity has a wide and varied range of meaningful activities designed to suit and fulfil all our residents’ and clients’ physical and emotional needs; all of which are tailored to individuals’ likes, hobbies, favourite pastimes and interests.
Mark Wilson, our Chief Operating Officer said: “At Friends of the Elderly, we always put the safety and individual specific needs of our residents and clients first in everything we do. To support this we have designed and deliver a wide and varied range of meaningful activities to help motivate, stimulate and engage the people we support.”
At RNNH, our residential and dementia care home in Bournemouth, Dorset, Rob Paton, the care home’s Activities Coordinator encourages the residents to keep physically and mentally active on a daily basis. “I have designed an interactive activities calendar which meets the residents’ needs. I have also ensured it is built around individual likes and preferences. One of the most popular sessions is our Zumba class, everyone really gets involved. The residents are so keen on the class that they even ask for specific songs to be played. The benefits of Zumba are numerous, not only is it an excellent low-impact workout for older people as it protects their joints and muscles, but it also raises heart rates and improves balance and also improves posture and coordination.”
At New Copford Place, our residential care home in Colchester, Essex, Activities Coordinator Camilla Korgba has a varied and inclusive schedule of meaningful activities that the residents thoroughly enjoy. “Our activities programme takes into consideration all our residents’ likes and preferences. The favourites are our Pamper Tuesdays with our visiting hairdresser which also includes hand massages and manicures, our weekly chair-based exercise classes and our extensive interactive games – balloon tennis is always a winner. When we are able, we take our residents on day trips to different coffee shops and garden centres and they all look forward to the monthly visit from Gunni from who comes along and hosts an interactive music and movement session which helps our residents with their mobility and communication, whilst at the same time providing a great social interaction,” Camilla said.
At our residential care home The Lawn, in Alton, Hampshire, Activities Coordinator Emma Cranstone’s wide-ranging and assortment of meaningful activities incorporate all residents’ favourite pastimes and hobbies. “Our weekly programme of activities centres around the residents’ likes and personal preferences,” Emma said. “If our residents decide they do not want to participate in a certain activity or feel they’d like a change, we speak to them and design something they are keen to participate in and, of course, enjoy.
“Current weekly favourites include flower arranging, our Knit and Natter Group, chair exercise class, our morning tea, our arts and crafts sessions and our interactive games sessions. During our Scrapbooking sessions, our residents love to recall stories, people, places and emotions, it really is great for reminiscing and is a wonderful social interaction activity,” Emma concluded.
At our Wallington Day Care service in Surrey, which cares for older people with a range of age related conditions, including short-term memory loss and dementia, the care team ensures their clients participate in a diverse range of meaningful activities. “Like our care homes, we tailor our daily activities to meet our clients’ needs, based on their favourite pastimes, hobbies and things they enjoy taking part in,” said Shirley Bradley, Head of Day Care Services at Friends of the Elderly. “Meaningful activities include cultural pursuits, arts and craft sessions, beauty treatments, quizzes, or light exercise. The activities can also include reminiscence sessions where our clients share their memories, which is also an added, extra way we can learn more about them.
“We run one-to-one personal pampering sessions which incorporate manicures and massages which is fantastic for wellbeing and leave our clients feeling relaxed. These one-to-one sessions are also a good time to reminisce and chat through any other issues our clients may want to discuss. Alongside our other activities, we have an interactive exercise and activity system we run on our television, it really is a lot of fun, especially when the live entertainers mention the name of the service when they know they are watching,” Shirley added.
At Redcot, our residential care home in Haslemere, Surrey, Jan Daly, the Registered Manager said: “Our armchair exercises are very popular. They are a combination of Pilates, stretches and gentle movements to music to suit the mood. We also have lots of fun active games such as Floor Bowls, Armchair Balloon Tennis, Throw the Hoop and Velcro Darts with me usually being the moving target!
“We also host weekly quizzes, arts and crafts afternoons, bingo sessions, poetry readings and have our very own Book Club. Singing is a very popular activity, so much so, we are starting a Redcot Choir which the residents are all very excited about. We always encourage families to take part as much as possible in all our activities and are looking to get a local Knit and Natter Group in every other week.”
The residents at The Old Vicarage, our residential and dementia care home in Wallingford, Oxfordshire also enjoy the vast array of meaningful activities on offer. “Our weekly activities include our Cookery Club and tasting sessions which are always great fun, even though they can sometimes be quite messy,” said Carol Bourne, the care home’s Registered Manager. “I work closely with Diana, our Activities Coordinator to ensure our activities are appealing, engaging, motivating and inspiring for all our residents. Together with our visits from external entertainers, theatre groups, animal clubs and local schools, our range of arts and crafts sessions and the ever popular Film Night (where we encourage our residents to suggest a film they’d like to watch), our residents also enjoy their exercise classes, Chapel Services, our Games Club and our regular themed events.
“Each spring our Gardening Club commences which our green fingered residents thoroughly love and our Oomph! On Demand system goes down a treat. Of course, there are some residents that like to be on their own. In fact we had one lady whose husband was a professional footballer, so we found some old footage of him playing and she loved watching it regularly on the big screen. Another resident lived above the sweet shop that her parents ran and we found old photos of it and she loved looking through them and telling us stories of her childhood,” Carol concluded.
For our residents who are living with dementia, we provide Namaste Care sessions. Namaste Care is a structured programme, developed by Joyce Simard, the Founder and Honorary Chair of Namaste Care International, which integrates compassionate nursing care with individualised activities for people with advanced dementia.
Meaning ‘to honour the spirit within’, Namaste Care sessions are incorporated into the daily activities at several of our care homes. The sessions are a multi-dimensional experience which includes physical, sensory and emotional elements. Through the five senses of touch (tactile), smell (olfactory), sight (vision), taste (gustatory) and sound/hearing (auditory), these care sessions give comfort and pleasure to people who are living with dementia through sensory stimulation, especially the use of touch. The human senses of vestibular (movement) and proprioception (body position) are also incorporated through movement, balance and body awareness activities.
The benefits of Namaste that our teams have seen for our residents include becoming less agitated and more engaged. In addition, the sessions encourage residents to be creative and learn new skills which, in turn, builds confidence and self-esteem.
Mark continued: “In addition, we have invested in a variety of interactive electronic activity tables and screens within our care homes and day care services, to enable our residents and clients to enjoy, experience and benefit from new interactive technology.”
The large, easy to use devices have touchscreens which are not too dissimilar to an iPad or smart phone, but on a much larger scale. Andy Cumper, the Registered Manager at our residential and dementia care home, Bernard Sunley, in Woking said: “Our interactive screen has been a huge success. It’s great to see our residents happily getting to grips with the new technology and making the most of all the different applications it has to offer.
“The interactive tables are a great addition to Friends of the Elderly’s commitment to provide exceptional standards of quality care through person-centred care, as all our residents and clients can join in and take part in the group activities or use it on their own. It’s up to them – they can do what they want to do, when they want to do it.”
“At Friends of the Elderly, we use our person-centred approach to creating all our meaningful activities. We pay attention to our residents and clients, listen to what they like to do, when they like to do it. Our care teams get creative and involve families to ensure each individual feels included, motivated and engaged,” concluded Mark.