The care sector is being affected enormously by COVID-19, meaning that during this time resident wellbeing is even more important than ever. At ActivCare we are keen to support care homes with stimulating and varied content for resident engagement, with our new Laughter Yoga Course released date on 1st June and our CPD wellbeing resources sent out each month.
A focus on resident mental wellbeing is vital, to combat feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, restlessness and disconnection. Here are some ways of improving resident wellbeing whilst on COVID-19 lockdown…
Connect with Residents.
In a time where care homes are unable to have external visitors, and residents can’t go on trips to local destinations, it is more important than ever for residents to connect with other people. This builds relationships, which is vital for mental wellbeing.
It can create a sense of belonging and worth, give you and others an opportunity to share experiences and provide emotional support. Things you can do:
Support positive mealtime experiences.
This may be the only time residents are socialising, and it may be with a carer if they are isolating in their room. Playing personalised music or media could prompt organic conversations between residents or residents and carers.
Implement initiatives such as ‘laughter yoga’.
A fun and simple way to connect with others, whilst also giving an abdominal workout and improve mental health!
During this time, residents may really miss their loved ones. Video calling in particular has the advantage of allowing us to see others’ facial expressions and body language. Consider writing some discussion prompts beforehand – ideally person centered – to help facilitate conversation.
Create virtual events.
Instead of cancelling your usual clubs and events, try hosting them online instead. This can bring together friends, family and community contacts. How about a quiz or a sing-along (Care Home karaoke)?
Ask residents to write postcards, either to send to other care homes, residents’ friends, families or the local nursery or school.
Give to others.
Acts of giving can improve your mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings, providing a feeling of purpose and self-worth and helpings to connect with others. Things you can try:
To someone for something they have done for you or others. See if any residents have any praise for the team members who have been working extra hard at the moment, make a note and share.
Asking someone how they are and show that you are really listening to their response. For residents who are isolating in their rooms – is there anything they would like to engage with, such as puzzles, poetry or some calming adult colouring? How could this be themed to their interests?
Deliver ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ throughout the home.
This could include baking treats for someone in the home, bringing in a resident’s favourite food or newspaper, donating flowers for the residents, and making care packages together for the vulnerable in your community. How about writing positive letters to other care homes, or a local nursery?
Learn New Skills.
Learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing by raising self esteem, creating a sense of purpose and achievement and helping to connect with others. Things you can do:
The kitchen team could host cooking demonstrations.
Teaching individuals new culinary skills! These could be filmed and streamed for any residents who are isolating. Or, perhaps you could use YouTube to find demonstrations from residents’ favourite celebrity chefs such as found Jamie Oliver, and Nigella Lawson.
Learn a new skill together.
Perhaps knitting, playing a musical instrument, drawing, painting, computer skills, learning a new language or pottery. YouTube will be a great help here!
Utilise skills from the wider team.
Staff could run virtual how-to sessions for residents based on their interests – such as sewing, flower arranging and even gaming! You can start virtual clubs that meet regularly – for example, a cross-stitch club or a book club.
Be physically active.
Being active is not only great for fitness, but evidence shows it is also great for mental wellbeing. It can improve self esteem, help individuals achieve goals and release endorphins that can help to positively change your mood. Things you can do:
Follow Virtual Classes.
Find exercise plans for residents classes – to gain access to our virtual classes, lesson plans and other monthly resources please email: email@example.com
Implement some physical activity games.
These could include ring toss, balloon games, target practice or skittles. Ensure you follow your organisation’s guidelines for this.
Set achievable daily goals.
This can be done as part a Resident of the Day initiative! The wider team at the home can help residents achieve goals during daily care duties.
Pay attention to the present moment.
Focusing more on the present can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts, feelings and body. This type of awareness is called ‘Mindfulness’, and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Things you can try:
Taking your residents on a visual journey can help them to forget their troubles and focus on the now.
These can decrease stress and relax the mind and body, and help residents to sleep better.
Check out our social media channels for other Mindfulness ideas!
As COVID-19 is also a stressful time for Carers we have shared a blog post on How to Deal with Stress. To read the article click here.