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.