Care home activities: Are you living your values?
Posted by: Gemma Keogh | 17.11.15

 

We encourage care home providers to organise innovative and creative events, to bring their values to life through the activities within the home.

Sometimes I’m told that there are limitations to the type of events that can be held for residents that have needs or behaviours described as challenging.

To a certain extent yes that is true, but rather than see activities through a lens of limitation I see this as an opportunity to be creative and truly demonstrate living values.

A bit of lateral thinking on the part of the staff and a willingness to make modifications can make a huge difference to the quality of life for the residents and their families.

Staff should put themselves in the shoes of those that they are supporting and ask themselves is this how they would like to spend their afternoon? Also think about what activities the families of your residents would value – what would they like to do with their loved ones if they could?

This doesn’t come easily to all staff and old habits can be tough to change so it may require further training or support from the senior management.

This may well be a big cultural change, and it won’t come for free, but it is a change that is well worth the investment because as well as making a huge difference to residents, a spin off is that truly innovative and personalised events or activities produce exceptional marketing and comms materials.

The providers who already do a great job are the ones producing the engaging content on social media, have interesting stories on their websites and have newsletters packed with features, news and photos.

For those who aren’t quite there yet, it’s a case of thinking differently and adjusting behaviour. Let’s take the usage of what some might deem as ‘infantile activities’ as an example.

Just because the audience might be older does not mean that they want child-like entertainment.

I have a one-year-old and I’ve been to ‘rhyme time’  at my local library and whilst it’s great for babies it isn’t for adults. Would you ever go to your grandparent’s or parent’s house and sing and dance in a silly voice in front of them?

Over the summer I was at a care trade show where I had the misfortune to watch an interactive performance by an independent provider of  ‘care home entertainment’.

The facilitators were dressed in bright pink, armed with feather boas and bubble machines and clapped and shrieked at the audience for a painful 30 minutes.

It left me traumatised. What must it be like for people who endure it on a weekly basis?

Thankfully there are a number of excellent providers who are really living their values and this is reflected in the great personalised activities on offer within their homes, all tailored to the wishes and desires of the residents.

If you’re not one of these then look at what your competitors are doing, check out the trade websites and see the wonderful stories that are being created across the country and see how many things would be possible in your home(s).

Ask your residents what they like to do, what hobbies did they have before they came into the home, speak with families, are there activities that the whole family can take part in together?

It’s a no-brainer. Innovative activities, that enhance the social life of your residents or service users, will improve their quality of life and will also make fantastic, compelling news stories that highlight the values of your company.