Whole-Home Activities

We are thrilled to announce the winners and runners-up of our ‘Everybodys Talking’ competition – a quest to find and share all the wonderful ways you are incorporating a whole-home approach into your daily activities.

From singing groups and poetry days to simple activities such as residents going about the housekeeping duties with the staff or baking with the chefs in the kitchen, there are a whole host of innovative ways for every member of the care home team to be involved in the day-to-day life of residents.

At winners Abbotsford Care in Scotland, a simple singing group helped to break down resistance and scepticism and ensure that the whole home was involved in the project, a fantastic initiative and a worthy winner. While in London at Apthorp Care Centre, the simple concept of a ‘Poet’s Day’ initiative, has encouraged everyone in the home to spend at least ten minutes talking and sharing meaningful moments.

Winner: Most Inspiring Example of a Whole-Home Approach

Abbotsford Care Newburgh, Scotland

“In 2015 I began a weekly singing group for the residents on a Wednesday afternoon. It was met with enthusiasm from the residents, but scepticism from some of the staff.

I like singing but am certainly no singer! But I have read about the tremendous benefits of music and singing, particularly with people with dementia. When I started the group, carers initially scattered to the winds, but gradually, as the group progressed, my colleagues started to ask me ‘Is it singing group today?’

Alana Duff has a super singing voice and always pops in, while one of our nurses, Evelyn Nisbet, also has a great singing voice and joins in as she is working. We can hear her coming up the corridor singing before she pops her head in and joins in! Other members of staff are often found standing at the door singing along or suggesting songs. At Christmas, the singing group was superb. Evelyn and Alana joined us and we raised the roof.

I also realised that if we sang together when walking to the singing group, some residents walked straighter or better. So, I have continued to do this when walking residents to any activity. I have now noticed that some of our carers are doing the same!”

(Thanks to Laura Beaven)

Left: Abbotsford Care / Right: Apthorp Care Centre Left: Abbotsford Care / Right: Apthorp Care Centre

Winner: Most Creative Example of a Whole-Home Approach

Apthorp Care Centre, London

“Not everyone likes to join in with group activities and not everyone feels in the mood every day. So how do you ensure people are engaging in interesting things to think and talk about?

We have started ‘Poet’s Day’ here in our home. I have downloaded and printed lots of wonderful poems from the internet, such as ‘The Lake Isle Of Innisfree’ by William Butler Yeats and ‘Sea Fever’ by John Masefield. These poems are then distributed around the home to everyone I see: carers, administrators, kitchen staff, the handyman, domestics, senior staff and relatives. Each person is asked to find ten minutes or so, to sit down with at least one resident that day and read the poem to them. They can read the poem or the resident can read the poem to them.

Some people were daunted by the idea of reading difficult poems, and it helped if they asked the resident to read the poem to them – a very effective solution as very soon conversations were flowing. If just ten people get to share a few moments over a poem each day, we won’t all wander lonely as a cloud.”

(Thanks to Fiona Swynnerton)

Winner: Most Meaningful Example of a Whole-Home Approach

Mapleton, Devon

“At Mapleton we follow the philosophy that daily living requires meaningful employment. We believe that people, including those living with dementia, get most satisfaction from feeling useful and from having worthwhile activities to do.

We are all engaged in involving people in the daily activities of the home. Such as washing and drying up, baking with the cooks, doing the laundry, and helping to make beds. Some people like to spend time with the housekeeper as she goes about her daily work – they clean and chat and keep them company. Our clerk also takes a resident with her when she does the weekly banking and they both go for a coffee afterwards.

It is all the little things we do on a daily basis, involving the people who live and work here that makes people feel at home and supports people through their life with dementia. To develop this philosophy you need to embrace an enabling approach, listen to people and bring them along with whatever you are doing.”

(Thanks to Tina Bailey)

Even more innovative ideas from our runners-up – Lavender Hills Care Home in Lancashire, Autumn House Residential Home on the Isle of Wight, Abbeycrest Care Home in Reading and Tynwald Residential Home in Kent – will be featured on the blog next week, keep an eye out!