Finally, some of us are able to get back a little bit or normality from the past months of shielding from COVID-19. Slowly, the towns are coming alive, beaches are filling up and pubs and restaurants are poised, ready to go.
However, for those who are more vulnerable such as those living in care homes, life still continues to be cautious. Staff continue to wear the uniform of masks, gloves and disposable aprons in order to protect residents from any outside infection. Entertainment is limited until outsiders are allowed back into the environment.
Older people may also be suffering from a lack of sunshine, having been cooped up indoors for so long and studies show that a vitamin D deficiency can have an adverse effect on brain, bone and muscle function. So, anything that encourages people outside, if even for a short time, will have health benefits and will boost their mood too.
But respite is at hand. If you have a garden or outside space that is available and large enough for some chairs to be placed at the required distance, you can create your own garden party and keep everyone safe at the same time.
If you have some portable tables, why not set up one for crafts, one for board games or cards and one for jigsaw puzzles. Make sure you choose products that are easy to clean and that can be played sitting apart or individually.
You could even play a gentle exercise CD and encourage people to join in or have a singalong and play instruments to the beat (you may need understanding neighbours!)
For those who are more active, set up your own fairground game area – Pineapple Smash is played just like a coconut shy – see who can knock the pineapple off its pedestal. Or good old Hoopla – you could place small boxes on a table with a ‘prize’ on each and players must try to throw the hoop over the item. Hook a Duck is another popular game that everyone can play too.
Why not include a picnic for participants; colourful cake stands, plates and napkins, along with the fresh air can do wonders to stimulate older people to eat heartily. Why not give the food a retro feel with small pork pies, ham sandwiches, fruit set in jelly and a Victoria sponge? Add music if facilities allow. Print out some song sheets and enjoy a singalong to well-known tunes like our ‘Top Ten Hits 1950s’ CD set.
If space allows, you may be able to invite a few family members to visit their loved ones to let them enjoy some much-needed company and conversation in a happy and welcoming atmosphere.