How to provide spontaneous activity in a care, nursing or dementia home
Part 1 of a 2 part article
First we need to recognise the difference between entertainment and activity
is generally about ‘something’ that amuses, pleases or distracts us.
Entertainment is a very important aspect of our lives but how much of our day do we spend being entertained? Do we all enjoy the same entertainment – the same TV programmes – the same music? Entertainment is an important part of leading an active life but should not be considered sufficient on its own.
Activity is described as ‘the state of being active’ or ‘using normal mental or bodily power’. It refers to HOW we use our minds and bodies. Meaningful activity is where the actual ‘doing’ provides us with a sense of purpose, achievement or satisfaction. An activity where we feel we have done something worthwhile – something that makes us feel good about ourselves.
It is not possible to provide a ‘one size fits all’ programme of activities that would benefit everyone. All your service users have differing needs weather they are affected by dementia, are in a residential or nursing home their needs will vary.
HOW can you ensure everyone has opportunity to take part in meaningful activity within their daily lives?
The feelings you create in a person during your time with them – whether positive or negative will stay with them after the event and will affect the rest of their day.
Spontaneous activities - Variety is the spice of life
Imagine being faced with a day where all you are certain of is that you will get up, mealtimes will happen, you will be handed medication from time to time and you will go to bed. There may be an organised activity in the afternoon but it may not be something you are interested in, although you will go along anyway as it’s better than nothing.
When you wake in the morning do you know everything that will happen in your day?
Life is full of unexpected events and happenings. Some good, some not so good.
Introducing spontaneity and variety into daily life is a lot easier than it sounds and loads of fun!
‘Props’ help those of us who do not like being the centre of attention - collecting items from charity, second hand and antique shops can be fun, especially if you take the people you support with you!
a selection of hats, feather boas, colourful scarves
silverware or brasses for cleaning
large picture books with a specific theme e.g. cars, local places, around the world
Knitted tea cosy, sugar tongs
Old work tools
You could even create your own ‘rummage’ boxes where an object can be chosen at random to talk about.
Other ideas include:
Balls of wool –ask for a volunteer to help wind them back into a ball
Telling jokes – ‘Knock knock’ jokes go down well
Two staff dancing and singing across the room
Lengths of cord in different colours for knotting or plaiting. Create your own friendship knots!
Pairing up odd socks
Selection of nuts and bolts that need sorting into bags or boxes
Wooden door knobs that need painting
Folding laundry that has just come out of the tumble dryer (warmth can be soothing) or hanging washing on the line – even if just handing you pegs
Batting balloons around
Reading headlines from the paper or a magazine
Laying the table, washing or drying the dishes
Passing the biscuits around – or a sweetie tin with old fashioned sweets
Cleaning a window – newspaper and an old fashioned ‘scrim’
Tapping out a tune on a table or saucepans
A paddling pool on a warm summer’s day
Visit by an ice cream van
Conversation starter cards – ‘Do you remember your first kiss?’, ‘What was your favourite subject at school?’, ‘Did you ever go to a circus?’.
The purpose of spontaneous activities is to bring a smile to people’s faces, engage in conversation and create......
. A magic moment when a person experiences unexpected feelings of well being
. A magic moment that enhances a person’s self esteem, self worth and quality of life
. A magic moment when a person smiles on the inside as well as the outside
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