With currently no cure for dementia, many families experience stress and anguish fighting for the care they need and its care, that people affected by dementia, rely on to support them as their condition progresses.
Last week at Sussex Housing & Care, we supported the Alzheimer’s Society with Dementia Action Week (17 – 23 May) and their campaign to “cure the care system”.
At our care homes across Sussex, there has been lots going on. Staff have done an amazing job and enjoyed a fun packed week; you can see from these photos what a positive impact it has had on residents and staff alike!
We have focused on dementia education, but also on the activities that positively impact our residents, touching upon reminiscence, sensory, mental and physical elements for each of our activities.
We’ve held workshops including an overview of dementia and how it effects the brain. We’ve explored the ‘bookcase analogy’ whereby we imagined our brains as a bookcase. Your earliest memories are at the bottom and when the bookshelf rocks, the top moves more than the bottom, so your newest memories fall off first, while childhood memories on the bottom of the bookcase most often stay put.
We’ve focused on ‘not to forget’ activities and family and relatives, with residents at Woodlands care home, Crowborough enjoying recalled memories over old photo albums and family history books and sharing their stories with others. Shirley said, “It’s nice to know you’re not alone”.
Residents also had fun making peppermint creams and remembering old retro sweeties that may have been forgotten, but not for long, with ‘Everyday Creativity’ . There were some laughs!
Flower of emotions creative project
Events kicked off with Tom Kitwood’s ‘The flower of psychological and social needs’ at Saxonwood care home in Battle. We created our own flowers, painting with our favourite colours and choosing words that make up who we are as individuals. These human needs have to be met by us all, in order to maintain a good sense of well-being and develop our own person-centred care needs.
We’ve made wind chimes for the garden, connecting with nature and improving fine motor skills.
Meanwhile at Oakwood Court care home, Haywards Heath we played bingo with a difference. Residents were transported to another time and place, while enjoying this musical twist on the classic bingo with a healthy burst of fun competition and shared joy. We listened to recognisable pieces of music and matched up with instruments on our cards before shouting “Bingo”! Designed for all stages of dementia, the game features evocative melodies carefully selected to trigger memories. We returned to the streets of Paris with strolling accordion sounds, and climbed to the Scottish Highlands with traditional bagpipes.
Creating our own poems around the senses
We’ve helped our residents to express their feelings and share their thoughts with us in order to improve their ability to communicate their inner feelings and preferences, including creating our own senses poems.
Denim for Dementia
We’ve supported ‘Denim for Dementia’ by utilising our creative and team work skills, creating toiletry bags using recycled denim and other materials. Residents and the staff felt happy and very pleased with their work. The results are impressive, wouldn’t you agree?
In the meantime at Woodlands, residents were quizzed about fabrics, fashion and denim, a brilliant way to keep their minds active.
We’ve been exercising with residents ‘copying the action’ and ‘guessing the action’. It was really fun and inventive too, with many residents coming up with their own moves too. The session concluded with quiet, relaxing mediation, promoting the benefits of respiratory care.
We undertook a resident’s quiz around 1930’s trivia and general knowledge, while also reminiscing on days gone by.
We enjoyed music therapy to help relieve stress and create sound through our emotions, including exercising to music from the 60’s.
Our scrabble clubs have been challenging one another with words relating to our emotions and senses. Activities co-ordinator Jade Allcorn explained the importance of providing a wide range of activities for residents with dementia throughout the week,
“We offer residents a whole variety of activities in a typical week at Sussex Housing & Care. It’s important to keep our residents physically active and mentally stimulated whilst catering for all personal preferences. We try to provide something for everyone from music and reminiscing to sensory and group activities”.
People with dementia represent the majority of social care users, so it is vital that the care system is made fit for purpose. With the right care and support, people affected by dementia can live a good quality of life, doing what matters most to them for as long as possible.
The right care and support services can make a huge difference for people with dementia and their families.
Thank you to all our residents, staff and the wider Sussex Housing & Care family, for your hard work and efforts in helping to spread the word about this cause, so close to our hearts.