Designing Happy Days resources has taken me inside many residential care homes, day centres and workshops. I have listened to care home owners, managers, matrons, carers and volunteers. Carers have shared stories, events and experiences with me. Others have shared ideas. Many have expressed how they would enjoy more time to engage in a few minutes extra with each resident as they deliver their everyday living assistance.
Carers and volunteers in care services have indicated that they would welcome workshops in social interaction to help them engage in meaningful conversation with the people they care for, especially people living with dementia. For some of us, conversation comes easily but for others, not so. Quite often, carers will admit to being shy, expressing that they don’t quite know how to begin a conversation.
So here’s a few tips to remind us about enriching care:
People living with dementia may forget, be confused or not recognise a person or an object, but they will probably still have feelings even though they may not be able to express them verbally. So watch out for body language; eye rolling, folded arms, banging or agitation as signs of needs.
Encourage carers to engage with relatives ~ finding out about a resident can provide topics for conversation and actitity.
Encourage relatives to share in an activity with the resident ie: memory box, life story booklet or conversation cards – both may feel rewarded with a sense of satisfaction or mastery by achieving something.
Encourage carers to pool and share ideas to create motivation.
Really find out about the resident – [see the Rotary Whisk story in Dementia Workshop blog].
If a resident is refusing to get dressed ~ try to find out their favourite colour ~ make sure they’re not wearing their least favourite colour.
Sometimes just a few minutes extra chatting can make all the difference.
Group chairs for a social environment ~ it may take a couple more minutes to help to move a resident who is immobile but carers have expressed that this format helps with resident interaction.
Keep noise levels in large social areas to a minimum ~ suggest carers don’t call out to other carers over the vacuum cleaner or television.
Traffic around the corridors can be distressing – encourage carers to chat to residents but not to call out to other carers who may be at a distance.
Let residents know what you are about to do before you do it.
Happy Days products are easy to use, save time and allow the carer to care more.
Please enjoy browsing the shop for cost effective conversation prompts.
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