Hallmark Carehomes
How activities improve the well-being of residents

25 November 2016

How activities improve the well-being of residents

Lifestyle Leaders play an important role at Hallmark Care Homes in enhancing the quality of life of our residents by providing meaningful, enjoyable and stimulating activities for them to get involved in.

We caught up with Hallmark Care Homes award-winning ‘Activities Co-ordinator of the Year’ Sarah Savidge, who works at Admiral Court Care Home in Leigh on Sea, to find out what types of activities are available at our homes and how activity provision plays an important role in the care we provide.

How many activities do you normally arrange on a weekly basis and what activities do you typically provide?

My team and I facilitate at least thirty two different activities a week.

The week has an undercurrent of routine, for example, arts and crafts every Monday, Zumba every Tuesday, an entertainer every Wednesday and Thursday, a pub social on Fridays, a garden club on Saturday and a trip into the local community on Sundays. There are two regular activities like this every day of the week. We also have a daily coffee morning along with a sensory activity, ‘a thought of the day’ which consists of residents sharing their thoughts on a particular subject and an unscheduled activity to create a sense of spontaneity.

Within our inclusive, supportive environment, residents can also make use of our on-site facilities, which are an activity in their own right.  Residents can take advantage of a weekly hair or nail appointment in our salon and therapy room; have daily access to our cinema, where they watch the latest soaps and documentaries as well as favourite films and catch up with friends over fresh coffee and cake in our café.

We also encourage our residents to take part in company-wide events throughout the year. Hallmark in Bloom, our annual gardening competition is a favourite amongst our residents.

What does a usual day in the home look like for you?

When I arrive at the home, one of my first tasks is to get the morning papers ready for our residents in the café and prepare the room so that passing residents may be encouraged to interact.  For example, magazines are laid out so that residents may be persuaded to turn the pages, and I place pictures of residents participating in activity to remind our residents who live with dementia what they like to do.

I then write the day’s planned activities on a board in both communities and write down the thought of the day. For example ‘what was your first ever job.’ This encourages our residents to remember and starts a steady flow of conversation.

I then prepare the morning’s activity which could be anything from baking to flower arranging.

After lunch there is always a planned action event such as Zumba, Pilates, dancing, bowling, or gardening. Meanwhile, home economics, art and singalongs may be happening in other parts of the home.

At 3.30pm I will either take the residents out for a walk or go out in the home’s car nicknamed ‘Geraldine’ to visit our allotment.

Later, Dougal my pup, goes to the café to meet some of his adoring fans (visiting friends and family), while I review and update care plans as needed and describe the outcome of the one-to-one activity of each resident I spent time with during the day.

How do you encourage the team to get to know the residents and expand on their relationship-centred-care approach?

My team alternate communities on a weekly basis, to enable them to build relationships with all residents but also to keep activities varied, as each community has its own rewards.  Team members are also encouraged to get involved in one-to-one activities as well as group activities as this is how we get to know our residents interests, needs, likes, dislikes and life experiences.

NAPA – The National Provision of Activities for Older People, one of our partners, has said this is an essential element of any successful activity and we couldn’t agree more.

What skills does it take to become a Lifestyle Leader?

You have to have bags of enthusiasm and you have to be able to motivate team and residents. You have to be compassionate, confident, organised and a leader who puts others before yourself. I think having life experience is also important; our residents have lived exciting and long lives and it’s good to be able to relate to them on and one-to-one level.

What’s your approach to one-to-one activity?

I identify residents at risk of social isolation, i.e. they keep to themselves and don’t socialise or are cared for in their rooms. I then create a structured one-to-one activity for each resident taking into account their capabilities, and interests which usually falls in line with the theme of the month, or a group activity taking place in each community. This improves our residents’ well-being and gives them the confidence to attend group activities where they can make friends.

How do you adapt your activities for residents who have nursing care needs?

Our care team encourage residents with nursing care needs to participate in the same activities as our other residents but we just adapt them slightly taking into account their capabilities.

For instance if there is a dancing activity taking place, our residents who are in a wheelchair are encouraged to sing, clap and wave their hands. On occasions where we have (for example) a mobile farm visiting the home, we bring the animals to the residents that are unable to leave their rooms. It is quite a sight to see a donkey walking down the corridors!

Why do you think activity is important for residents?

Activity can stimulate the mind, body and soul and overall improve the well-being and happiness of our residents.

What do you love about your job?

I love making a difference to the lives of our residents through finding out what makes them happy.

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