During unprecedented times and at a time when the care sector is being affected enormously by the current Coronavirus situation, resident wellbeing is even more important than ever. As part of this Oomph! are keen to support care homes with stimulating and varied content for resident engagement. We will be releasing resources to our Wellbeing Resources Hub over coming weeks.
At the moment, a focus on resident wellbeing is vital, to combat feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, restlessness and disconnection. Our Regional Wellbeing Coordinator, Jade, explores 20 ways of improving resident wellbeing whilst the UK is on Covid-19 lockdown…
Connect with other people.
In a time where residents are unable to have external visitors, or leave the care home to go on trips to local destinations, it is more important than ever for residents to connect with other people. This builds relationships, which is vital for mental wellbeing.
It can create a sense of belonging and worth, give you and others an opportunity to share experiences and provide emotional support. Things you can do:
Support positive mealtime experiences. This may be the only time residents are socialising, and it may be with a carer if they are isolating in their room. Playing personalised music or media could prompt organic conversations between residents or residents and carers – use this template to gather a resident’s Top 10 hits.
Make the most of all 1:1 visits. Keyworkers can support this initiative – perhaps a list of quick, simple activities could be provided in rooms based on each resident’s life story to promote engagement. These could be as simple as some quiz questions or relevant discussion prompts.
Implement initiatives such as ‘laughter yoga’. A fun and simple way to connect with others, whilst also giving an abdominal workout AND improving your mental health! Learn more and try it out here.
Utilise technology. During this time, residents may really miss their loved ones. Video calling in particular has the advantage of allowing us to see others’ facial expressions and body language. Consider writing some discussion prompts beforehand – ideally person centered – to help facilitate conversation.
Create a Virtual Lounge. You could open up slots for family members or friends to book to speak with their relatives via platforms such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and Whatsapp. How about creating a virtual visiting lounge where residents can take it in turns to use a room to catch up with their loved ones?
Create virtual events. Instead of cancelling your usual clubs and events, try hosting them online instead. This can bring together friends, family and community contacts. How about a quiz or a sing-along (Care Home karaoke!)?
Post it. Ask residents to write postcards, either to send to other care homes, residents’ friends, families or the local nursery or school. Here is a template we have put together to use.
Give to others.
Acts of giving and kindness can improve your mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward, providing a feeling of purpose and self-worth and helpings to connect with others. Things you can try:
Giving praise. To someone for something they have done for you or others. See if any residents have any praise for the team members who have been working extra hard at the moment, make a note and share (if they are happy for you to do so of course!).
Listen. Asking someone how they are and show that you are really listening to their response. For residents who are isolating in their rooms – is there anything they would like to engage with, such as puzzles, poetry or some calming adult colouring? How could this be themed to their interests?
Deliver ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ throughout the home. This could include baking treats for someone in the home, bringing in a resident’s favourite food or newspaper, donating flowers for the residents, and making care packages together for the vulnerable in your community. How about writing positive letters to other care homes, or a local nursery?
Learn New Skills.
Learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing by raising self esteem, creating a sense of purpose and achievement and helping to connect with others. Things you can do:
The kitchen team could host cooking demonstrations. Teaching individuals new culinary skills! These could be filmed and streamed for any residents who are isolating. Or, perhaps you could use YouTube to find demonstrations from residents’ favourite celebrity chefs – we’ve found Jamie Oliver, and Nigella Lawson.
Learn a new skill together. Perhaps knitting, playing a musical instrument, drawing, painting, computer skills, vlogging, learning a new language or pottery. YouTube will be a great help here!
TED talks are a great way of learning. You could set up a weekly TED talks club, based on ideas from staff and residents, streaming the chosen TED talk 1:1 with each resident. Check out the videos here.
Utilise hobbies, skills and talent from the wider team. Staff could run virtual how-to sessions for residents based on their interests – such as sewing, flower arranging and even gaming! You can start virtual clubs that meet regularly – for example, a cross-stitch club or a book club.
Be physically active.
Being active is not only great for fitness, but evidence shows it is also great for mental wellbeing. It can improve self esteem, help individuals achieve goals and release endorphins that can help to positively change your mood. Things you can do:
Follow exercise programmes. Find exercise plans for residents to follow independently or 1:1 if appropriate – we have released 5 FREE programmes here
Implement some physical activity games, to be done 1:1. These could include ring toss, balloon games, target practice or skittles. Ensure you follow your organisation’s guidelines for this in the current climate.
Start a sports club or championship. You could start with slipper soccer, seeing how many goals a resident can score in 2 minutes. This can easily be implemented through a series of 1:1s with residents who are isolating. We have created an Oomph!-lympics Leaderboard template for your very own Olympic Games!
Set achievable daily goals and highlight achievements. This can be done as part of your Resident of the Day initiative! The wider team at the home can help residents achieve goals during daily care duties.
Pay attention to the present moment.
Focusing more on the present can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts, feelings and body. This type of awareness is called ‘Mindfulness’, and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Things you can try:
Guided Meditation. Taking your residents on a visual journey can help them to forget their troubles and focus on the now.
Breathing exercises. These can decrease stress and relax the mind and body, and help residents to sleep better. Try out box breathing using these instructions.