Caring Times, a leading publication for care homes throughout the UK has recently published an article about Activities to Share. The following piece appears in this month's edition, read all about us ....
Caring Times: September 2016
By: Lucy Guthrie
In 2009 Simon Birtles and Anna Terry were commissioned by the local authority of Bromley to provide all its care homes and day centres with a range of reminiscence services, including writing a life story book, recording oral histories, running activity sessions for residents and training staff. While designing reminiscence products for this project they realised that most activity coordinators had a wealth of ideas and enthusiasm for their work but few appropriate tools for the job - hence the birth of Activities to Share.
Providing stimulating activities for people with dementia is a chellenge. Careful consideration has to be made regarding personal preference, cognitive ability, concentration levels, sight and hearing impairment, safety and practicalities.
For some, the dexterity and vision needed to thread, sew or make a puzzle would be too frustrating while stroking a purring cat or soft cushion would be more satisfying. There are so many variants; some enjoy social activity while others prefer to occupy themselves. Despite the onset of dementia, some will attempt a completely new challenge while others will stick with what they know.
Nobody wants to feel they are being kept busy for no particular reason and will know when this is the case. All activity resources require some degree of facilitation and the ones that work best are when both carer and individual are engaged.
Activities are an invaluable tool that can help the carer, volunteer, family member make a genuine connection with the user. When activities are shared they offer a real chance for engagement, interaction and conversation. they also offer a welcome distraction and can bring a spontanious smile to someone's face.
Exercise-based games are a good example of how easy it can be to make a genuine connection and are becoming increasingly popular as the competitive spirit, fun element and feel-good factor are recognised. Care homes and day centres in particular enjoy bringing people together through exercise and multi-player action games.
Activities to Share's product range has grown to more than 300 products, many are bespoke, ensuring it can offer a broad spectrum of resources to support care homes, hospitals, memory clinics and day centres.