Ideas to help activities stay in keeping with a care home’s look and feel

A number of care homes across the UK offer a look and feel more akin to an upmarket hotel or resort. There’s nothing wrong with this, we understand that there’s certain sector of the market that wants and expects this type of surrounding. Having said that though, an issue we quite often see is that these homes can sometimes be reluctant to engage with, and offer, activities that would be beneficial to their residents on the grounds that they are not in keeping with home’s look and feel. We completely understand this, as many activities are derived from children’s games and products, so it is easy for a care home to end up looking more like a kindergarten. In this article we want to explore this issue and offer some suggestions that we think would enable these homes to offer activities whilst being able to maintain the image they are going for.

It is reasonably obvious why a care home might want to present itself like an upmarket hotel or resort, so we’re not going to delve into this reasoning. It is, however, worthwhile reminding ourselves of the importance of activities within the care home environment and therefore why it shouldn’t be overlooked. At a very basic level, care homes are required to provide activities for the wellbeing of their residents and the quality of such provision will have a bearing on the home’s CQC rating. But we are not in this industry simply to tick requirement tick boxes, so what is it that activities do for residents? Activities is a very broad term, especially within the context of a care home, so let’s look at this within the context of product types:

Arts and Crafts

Being creative and making something yourself can be very rewarding and give a sense of achievement, which in turn helps to improve people’s level of self-esteem. Many arts and crafts also require high levels of fine motor skills, which can drop off with certain conditions and older age. It is these fine motor skills which also help to a high degree with people’s level of independence for example brushing one’s own teeth or being able to eat proficiently with a knife and fork. So how do we keep arts and crafts in keeping with the look and feel of the upmarket home? First, if possible try and create a dedicated area so that you are less likely to ‘spoil’ the look of say the dining room. You can also ensure you only get materials out for specific sessions and not leave them out. The choice of art or craft will have the strongest influence though, here are some that we think would be most in keeping:


The majority of people who suffer from memory loss maintain their long term memory for much longer as their short term memory deteriorates. Reminiscence activities tap into this long term capacity by aiding the recovery of such memories. Through doing this, people can maintain a sense of identity, feel more secure, and a greater sense of calm. There are a number of reminiscence aids that are books, that when kept on a book shelf wouldn’t look out of place in an upmarket care home. Other memorabilia doesn’t have to be left out impacting the look of the home, it can be kept in a box and bought out at specific times. A memory box can be a nice subtle addition to someone’s room.


It is not uncommon for people as they get older, and move into a care home, to become more withdrawn. Prompting and encouraging conversation between residents, and between care staff and residents, can go a long way towards improving a person’s sense of wellbeing and belonging. Many conversation starters and aids are relatively small items that can easily be kept out of sight and used only when you want to. Some examples are:


There are a number of benefits to playing games, including: encouraging communication between residents, encouraging movement and fine motor skills, and simply for enjoyment. Games are probably one the worst culprits when it comes to conflicting with a care home’s look and feel. Here are some of our ideas for how to get around this:

  • Buy more classic games such as chess and draughts, these can also come in more timeless boxes.
  • Get a games chest or cupboard to keep them in
  • Decorate Boxes with wallpaper and place on a bookcase or shelf, label clearly and have in easy reach.
  • Get under sofa storage boxes to store larger or heavier games.

Wall Mounts

Wall mounts are by far and away the most tricky products category for three reasons:

  • This is specifically looked for by CQC auditors
  • This is most likely to clash or interfere with a care home’s décor
  • They tend to be fixed, so you don’t have the option to tidy them away when not in use

Here is what we offer that is least likely to clash with the home’s décor:

  • House of discovery, you can design and decorate these how you like to ensure they are in keeping.
  • Through the window art – there’s a wide range of designs so there is mostly likely something that will fit in, also it is possible to get custom images done for a perfect match.
  • Magnetic Wall Games – these can be placed in an area easy to play and would not look out of place in a hallway or reception area, they are fixed with a peel off backing and can be moved easily.

Doll Therapy and Companion Pets

Let’s face it, families of residents find it difficult to see their loved ones and other residents using dolls and companion pets. We’ve found the best way to alleviate this is to communicate the benefits clearly with families and get their buy-in early. The benefits of doll therapy are well documented, and spending a bit of time with families to run through the key benefit will go a long way towards breaking down the stigma.

There’s so much more we could talk about hear, but we hope we’ve been able to give you a few ideas about how to keep activities and care home look and feel in tune with one another and not in conflict. If you’d like some more ideas please feel free to get in contact, we’d love to be able to help.

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