12 Happy Days Tips for Care Homes

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Twelve Happy Days Tips for Residential & Dementia Care Homes

In this article, our guest blogger Gillian Hesketh MA, outlines some wonderful tips for improving the environment in your care home. The managing director of Happy Days Dementia Workshop & Nostalgic Design, Gillian is a writer and designer, creating reminiscence materials and nostalgic environments for residential and dementia settings to help care teams enrich social care.

Visiting hundreds of residential homes over the past years and being passionate about enriching social care for well-being, I have identified engagement and environment situations which could be easily enriched at little or not cost.

Enlivening and enriching social living areas can help to uplift mood and help carers engage in meaningful interaction with residents on a day to day basis. Prompting memories can bring about stories to share. Creating interesting environments and making engagement materials available can help families and friends share longer and more enjoyable moments with the people they love.

How do your resident social areas look? Are they pleasing? Are social areas interesting? Have you noticed any cluttered corners or notice boards? Is way finding prompted?[/cs_text][/cs_column][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/3″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”https://cairncare.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Gillian-Happy-Days.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 20px 0px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/3″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”https://cairncare.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/home-3095591_1920.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”2/3″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]

Make a difference to your home with my Twelve Happy Days Environment Tips:

1. Entrance Porch /Foyer

Keep notice boards as simple and clear as possible. Display emergency and important information together. Update information regularly. Ensure out of date notices are removed. Use images to attract interest. Display activities for the week on a separate board to stimulate curiosity and provide clarity.

2. General – Social Areas & Corridors

Remove shabby or jaded flower displays, cracked or chipped vases or ornaments. Damaged displays can give negative connotations so removing these items can help to provide a fresh feel. Clear vases may be difficult to see or enjoy. Ask visitors for updated accessories that aren’t required at home.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 20px 0px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”2/3″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]

3. Bookshelves.

Clear tattered books from bookshelves. Books with pictures can create more interest and prompt memories more easily.

4. CD Collections

Sort out your CD collection – Less is more – Too many CDs takes up time when searching for music. Ask residents for their favourites. Sort into music styles. Some residents may enjoy sorting and stacking – Keep hands busy.

5. Smaller Areas & Awkward Corners

Is the best outcome being made of unused spaces? Brighten up dark corners with a sixties patterned wallpaper, nostalgic displays or themed wall art. Try a Happy Days activity tool board, or create a sport, music or sewing theme.
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6. Games & Activities

Repair damaged games and jigsaw boxes. People are used to everyday tasks: fixing and sorting things – so ask residents to engage in the project. [Make it a monthly activity]. Reorganise activity storage cupboards – you never know what you’ll find at the back of the shelf.

7. Vistors

Encourage visitors to engage with residents. Often, relatives and friends are at loss of things to say or do when visiting their loved one. Let visitors know you have a range of nostalgic games, jigsaws and memory boxes to share with residents. Create an activity corner and introduce it to visitors.
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8. Fresh Flowers

There’s nothing better than a vase of fresh flowers to please the eye, tempt the senses and prompt conversations. Have you got any daffodils or summer flowers in the garden? Flowers can be simple and don’t need to be expensive. Move the vase to different locations throughout the week.

9. Wall Art – Displays – Murals

Imagine seeing the wall art through the eyes of your residents. Take down faded pictures or tiny pictures which are difficult to see. Are the pictures too high for residents to see? If so, re-locate pictures to a lower position. If you have a budget, I advise you spend some of it here. Creating interesting collections of wall art in corridors can encourage walking exercise. Avoid blank colours, black backgrounds, spots and stripes which by nature, cannot prompt memories. Wall art can aid way finding too. Images of food often encourages eating and helps direct residents towards dining areas. Check out the extensive range of Happy Days nostalgic wall art online at www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk
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10. General Social Areas

There’s no doubt about it, nostalgic or themed displays can get tongues wagging. Consider the content in terms of residents’ interests. Add room titles and assist way finding: Sun Lounge – Hair Salon – Reminiscence Corner – Gents Leisure Room.

11. Outdoor Areas

If windows look out onto a garden area, add squirrel or rabbit garden ornaments and/or a bird table. Ask a local joiner to make a bird table. Engage interested residents.

Many people take great enjoyment from watching or feeding the birds. Face chairs towards the view and watch the smiles.

12. Balance noise levels.

During visits, I often notice both a radio and a television are switched on in the same room, causing sound confusion. Let residents know when you are going to use loud appliances.

Don’t call out to colleagues when vacuuming – unless it’s for safety purposes.
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Carers

If care teams are happy, everyone will feel happy. If you think and feel well, this will reflect onto the person or people you are caring for. Carers, make sure you have some ‘me time’, eat well, sleep well and plan some favourite activities, spend time with friends, just chill out or read a good book.

Enjoy your home, Gillian
Happy Days Publishing 2018©

Shop online for Reminiscence – Engagement – Games & Nostalgic Environment Materials at: www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk[/cs_text][/cs_column][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/3″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”https://cairncare.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Care.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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