Supporting residents' past time hobbies and interests | News


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Supporting residents' past time hobbies and interests

To Sussex Housing & Care, person-centred care means creating a picture of a resident’s past and present. Based on that information, we provide them with meaningful choices as to the activities they wish to participate in.

During an activity survey, we actively encourage residents to contribute their favourite things, tastes and preferences. We then use this information to theme tailored activity sessions for different individuals or find ways to support them.

Seeking to understand residents’ hobbies and interests can also serve the important purpose of discovering common ground between residents that would not otherwise have been known to them.


Dawn, a resident at Saxonwood care home in Battle, has travelled all over the world with her husband and family, gaining lots of wonderful memories from a lifetime of adventures. Dawn was gifted a map by a loved one who had created a keepsake and beautiful way of displaying all those amazing flashbacks.

Sadly over time and some wear and tear, the tape and tack used for the map lost its grip and was starting to fall apart. Dawn was understandably worried that she was going to lose a much treasured piece, but Jade our activity co-ordinator at Saxonwood, armed with new tape, glue and patience, managed to carefully piece the map back together, sealing and preserving Dawn’s amazing memories from her past.

Dawn, Saxonwood


Kath is an avid knitter and reader. Sadly after a stroke, Kath lost function of the right side of her body and even with exercise and sheer will power, was unable to regain function to the level needed to hold a knitting needle or book.

For Kath, not being able to independently do the two things she loves and believes is part of her identity and who she is, was detrimental to her wellbeing and Kath’s mood took a drop.

The management team at Saxonwood searched for ideas and resources that could help support Kath with either knitting or reading, and found a device that would hold a book so that once again Kath could read independently. Something as simple as an aid or this small adaptation has been key to Kath restoring her self-determination, has promoted and encouraged engagement and supported Kath in her day-to-day life.

Kath, Saxonwood


Over the period of time that Bruce has lived here at Saxonwood, his mental function has unfortunately decreased. Bruce’s hobbies, interest and mechanical mind means that he enjoys taking objects apart – leading him to also taking the objects and furniture in his room apart too! As a result, and in his best interest, Bruce now occupies a bare minimum room.

With no stimulation or engagement in Bruce’s room, the staff at Saxonwood worked closely with Bruce’s family to build a safe and creative environment for Bruce. Using old plane, car and motorbike books from Bruce’s past, enables him to reminisce with his old books. Together with Bruce, we created a memory box, personalised to Bruce and his hobbies, creating safe family box frames for him to have in his room.

Bruce, Saxonwood   Bruce, Saxonwood


Since transitioning to Saxonwood, Ivy’s anxiety and agitation initially increased; confused about being separated from her family and felt alone.

Ivy brought with her a few selected, very special bears that she had collected over the years which are very important and mean a lot to her. These bears give Ivy an opportunity to be nurturing and feel she has a purpose. They stimulate positive emotions and Ivy gains a sense of calmness when around them, enabling Ivy to find joy and comfort when needed.

Over her months at Saxonwood Ivy’s collection has grown, a combination of gifts from family and also the team at Sussex Housing & Care, who have become more attentive to the impact and have gained a higher understanding of the reasoning for the beloved soft toys.

With support, Ivy created her own memory box, piecing memories together with craft, adding photos and talking about her life. Creating such a bespoke, meaningful piece, inspired conversation between Ivy and the staff, gaining an insight into Ivy’s amazing life stories. It also surprised Ivy as she rediscovered trinkets and photos she thought were long lost. Ivy was able to relay her own history, personal interests and once again explore her youth.

Ivy, Saxonwood   Ivy, Saxonwoodf


When John’s chair is in situ, he has a great view of wildlife from his window and especially loves watching the birds, saying that the birds are “calming to him”. Birds, animals and bringing nature into your everyday life is known to benefit both mental and physical wellbeing.

To enhance John’s enjoyment and his birdwatching hobby, Jade, our activities coordinator spent a morning with John, creating his own artwork of the robin that he often sees from the window.

John was so made up with his drawing but still seemed quite anxious about how good it was. To boost his confidence, his creative work was copied and now takes pride of place, framed and hanging in our activities room and John’s room.

The positive impact this experience has had on John has been undeniable. John admires his artwork often, propelling positive and calming emotions and his family have commented on how much this has meant to him. John’s artwork will later be made into Christmas cards so that he can share his work of art with family and friends proudly, over the festive period.

John, Saxonwood   John, Saxonwood


Marjorie especially enjoys creative activities and has a delicate, unique touch. Understandably, this can take a little bit of time and can bring out anxiety for Marjorie.

Marjorie sometimes starts to feel that a task may be taking too long and now that staff have noticed this characteristic in Marjorie, the Sussex Housing & Care team can reassure her that it can take some time to complete an activity and can always be done at a later time, within a one-to-one environment. This calms Marjorie and allows her to express her own unique creativity, at her own speed.

Marjorie, Saxonwood

Supporting our residents with their hobbies is so important to us. As we individuals become of a certain age, our lifestyles become that little bit slower, but in most the mind continues to function as before.

Without hobbies, this can lead to depression, isolation and loneliness. In turn, depression can affect sleep, appetite, energy and physical health, as well as seeing our overall wellbeing sadly deteriorate.

Encouraging our residents to engage in hobbies and regular activities has a positive impact on them, promoting creativity and grounding their sense of identity.

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