The Importance of Meaningful Social Activities in Care & Nursing Homes

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Social Activities

The Importance of Meaningful Social Activities in Care & Nursing Homes discussed by Bristol Care Homes

Evermore the importance of older people’s social health and well being is being focused on and taken seriously by care homes and if you are looking for a care home for your loved one then it is something you should take into consideration. Bristol Care Homes offer a diverse range of fulfilling activities in each of their care homes across Bristol and understands the importance of meaningful social activities in their Care Homes. We have sourced information in this article from NICE Guidelines.

What and who is NICE?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. Their role is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services and do this by producing evidence-based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners.

The NICE Quality Statement

Older people in care homes are offered opportunities during their day to participate in meaningful activity that promotes their health and mental wellbeing.

NICE states that it is important that older people in care homes have the opportunity to take part in an activity, including activities of daily living, that helps to maintain or improve their health and mental wellbeing. They should be encouraged to take an active role in choosing and defining activities that are meaningful to them. Whenever possible, and if the person wishes, family, friends and carers should be involved in these activities. This will help to ensure that activity is meaningful and that relationships are developed and maintained.

What does Meaningful activity mean?

The NICE Guidance for meaningful activity includes; physical, social and leisure activities that are tailored to the person’s needs and preferences. The activity can range from activities of daily living such as dressing, eating and washing, to leisure activities such as reading, gardening, arts and crafts, conversation, and singing. It can be structured or spontaneous, for groups or for individuals, and may involve family, friends and carers, or the wider community. Activity may provide emotional, creative, intellectual and spiritual stimulation. It should take place in an environment that is appropriate to the person’s needs and preferences, which may include using outdoor spaces or making adaptations to the person’s environment.

What does Mental wellbeing mean?

The NICE Guidance for Mental wellbeing includes areas that are key to optimum functioning and independence, such as life satisfaction, optimism, self-esteem, feeling in control, having a purpose in life, and a sense of belonging and support.

Good Care Homes will have a dedicated person employed to ensure residents can lead satisfying and stimulating lives through a range of daily activities that are tailored to every resident’s needs and preferences, including; self-care, reading, gardening, arts, crafts, conversations, singing, outings both structured and spontaneous for groups and or individuals and much more. Bristol Care Homes has a very varied programme of activities across all of their homes and they have a dedicated social engagement and well-being manager who is responsible for ensuring meaningful activity is planned and happens across all 4 of their care homes to ensure residents are happy, fulfilled and content.

What does the NICE quality statement mean for organisations?

Organisations providing care need to ensure that opportunities for activity are available and that staff are trained to offer spontaneous and planned opportunities for older people in care homes to participate in an activity that is meaningful to them and that promotes their health and mental wellbeing.

Social care, health and public health practitioners ensure that they offer older people in care homes opportunities during their day to participate in both spontaneous and planned activity that is meaningful to them and that promotes their health and mental wellbeing.

Local authorities and other commissioning services ensure that they commission services from providers that can produce evidence of activities that are undertaken within the care home and can demonstrate that staff are trained to offer spontaneous and planned opportunities for older people in care homes to participate in activities that are meaningful to them.

What does the NICE quality statement mean for service users, family, friends and carers?

Older people in care homes should have opportunities during their day to take part in activities of their choice that help them stay well and feel satisfied with life. Their family, friends and carers have opportunities to be involved in activities with them when the older person wishes.

Why are meaningful Social Activities so important?

Social activities can be planned or spontaneous, they can be a group or individual activities and there should be a diverse range so there is always something for everyone. Whether you enjoy a friendly and competitive game of bingo, you love arts and crafts or you love an afternoon tea should be an activity to suit everyone.

An interactive social life is just as important for older people as it is for younger people and makes a huge impact of a resents mental well being, self-worth and happiness within a ‘care’ environment and this is why social areas and lounges in care homes should be set up to encourage residents to talk and form strong bonds and friendships with other residents and carers whilst enabling them to engage in spontaneous activities that happen.

Social ActivitiesWhat type of Social Activities are arranged in Care Homes?

Social activities are classed by NICE as organised and spontaneous activities and they can be planned on the day, or for the days, weeks and months ahead. The activities should be varied to ensure there is something for everyone, they should be voluntary, not forced and residents should be actively encouraged to get involved.

Engagement in activities beyond routine care is an important factor in the life of a care home. A choice of activities is important for improving a sense of independence, confidence and positive self-image for care home residents. Activities should provide a sense of purpose for residents if they create something, use skills from their former work or personal life, or when they make a contribution to someone, something or the care home itself.

You may not want to be involved in a competitive game of cards or bingo but you may be someone that loves reading and wants to be involved in a regular book club and this is why the activities need to be varied to suit everyone. You may have always loved gardening and want to get involved in the care homes gardening, you may have enjoyed flower arranging so you can help with the care homes flower arrangements, or maybe cooking or baking and all of these activities give residents the opportunity to continue to do what you enjoy and love and to feel fulfilled.

Social Activities Examples:

  • Card Games (arranged or spontaneous)
  • Bingo
  • Book Club
  • Gardening
  • Flower Arranging
  • Cooking
  • Painting, Drawing, Art Classes
  • Board games
  • Games Nights
  • Singing Groups
  • Entertainment Events
  • Family Days
  • Dog Days
  • Exercise Classes
  • Afternoon Teas
  • Birthday Celebrations
  • Quiz Nights
  • Outings to local attractions, gardens and many more

It is really important to provide a full calendar of social activities for residents in care homes as research has shown that staying active in both body and mind makes a huge impact to an individuals’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

Taking part in regular exercise (however strenuous) helps anyone stay more flexible and mobile and it also has a positive impact on mental health and well being. Lots of care homes offer exercise classes which residents can do the exercises seated, stood up, using a mat on the floor and in line with their own personal fitness levels. The classes should be fun, interactive and rewarding for everyone taking part and be a key activity helping residents to remain active, build or retain their confidence, independence and feel fulfilled.

Age UK state:

  • Regular activity can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, depression and dementia
  • Moving more helps your thinking skills – like problem-solving, decision-making and remembering facts and words
  • Being active can lessen aches and pains, help you stay steady on your feet and boost your mood

Family days and family activities are a great way for families to stay close to their loved ones whilst getting to know their friends and the carers that look after them.

Questions to ask when Visiting a Potential Care Home about their Social Activities

Social activities are vital for a happy and relaxed care home where there are both opportunities to take part in different activities as well as relax and have your own space.

  • What social activities are available for the residents on the premises (music or singing, reminiscence groups, exercise classes, gardening, celebrations for special occasions, visits from entertainers, and outings to shops, entertainment venues or places of worship)?
  • What is the balance of group activities and personalised individual activity?
  • Are the residents encouraged to stay active and do as much as they can for themselves
  • How are the activities co-ordinated?
  • Who is the activities coordinator?
  • When you visit try to ensure you go at a time when activities are going on and you will see if residents seem happy and occupied
  • Find out what social areas there are in the care home, how is the furniture arranged. Chairs around the edges of a room often mean that residents aren’t able to socialise as well and are also not able to socialise in small groups which can be key to them forming good friendships
  • Are the staff sat with residents talking to them, or do they all seem to be rushing about doing jobs?
  • Think how would you feel socialising in the care home
  • Do they have any pets in the care home or can residents and their families bring them in?
  • Are there lots of resources for the residents, books, magazines, games, TV’s, phones and computers etc?
  • Does the home have a hairdresser come to them regularly?
  • Do the rooms all have a TV, a DVD, a phone and internet access where the residents can relax in their own space when they want to?
  • Are the rooms spacious and well decorated with a homely feel, rather than a sterile hospital feel?

Creative Arts & Social Activities at Bristol Care Homes

At Bristol Care Homes we have developed a creative and active community life at each of our homes. We have a varied programme of interesting and stimulating activities across all of our homes and a dedicated social engagement and well-being manager Marcia, who is responsible for ensuring meaningful activity is planned and taking place across all 4 of our care homes and that our residents are happy, fulfilled and content. Our fully equipped customised minibus offers regular trips out to the attractive local countryside and to places of interest. Each weekday sees a variety of activities which are led by our dedicated activity teams, some of which include:

  • A regular programme of leading musicians from Live Music Now
  • Artists’ workshops, commissions of art and exhibitions with Jamaica Street Studios
  • Creative gardening and outdoor mosaic workshops with Garden Support
  • A variety of creative inputs from Alive Activities
  • Residents enjoy the interaction and interest these activities offer

About Bristol Care Homes

Bristol Care Homes are an independently owned group of 4 high-quality care homes in Bristol. Our dedicated team provide quality and caring services every day and our founding vision is to provide excellence in all aspects of care for all our residents.

We are always looking to be innovative in our services and we offer many features which will help you or your loved one to maintain a high level of fulfilment in your life at each of our care homes. Many of our services are unique to Bristol Care Homes and all include:

  • Beautiful gardens with plenty of greenery, trees and flowers
  • Environmentally designed buildings with 24/7 air circulation always keeping the atmosphere fresh and airy
  • Spacious rooms with increased ceiling height which gives the feel of openness
  • Wide corridors for ease of access
  • Television, DVD Player and direct line telephones in each room
  • Internet access in residents rooms
  • Customised top quality wheelchairs provided when needed
  • High technology baths and walk-in showers
  • Minibus services with a regular schedule of trips
  • Regular maintenance and replacement cycles of new carpets and decoration
  • Top Quality chefs producing tasty, varied and nutritious meals
  • Programme of interesting and stimulating activities for all our residents
  • Warm, friendly and caring staff who get to know each resident and take time with them every day to ensure they are happy and fulfilled
  • Nurses on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Our service leads the way in care home provision and this shows in our Care Quality Commission Ratings:

Glebe House – Outstanding Glebe House Care Home Bristol CQC

Beech House – Outstanding Beech House Care Home Bristol CQC

Field House – Good Field House Care Home Bristol CQC

Quarry House – Good Quarry House Care Home Bristol CQC

Our care homes, carers and the services we provide incorporate: team, development, share, believe, honest, high-quality, holistic, relationships, trust, commitment, excellence, ethos, personal, happy, culture, quality of life, strive, forward-thinking, passionate, innovative, person-centred, supportive, fulfilling, continuity, high standards, friendly, environment, happy.

Contact us today to find out more about our us, the services we offer and the Importance of Meaningful Social Activities in our Care Homes.

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