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North Wales Care home residents benefit from activity-filled year

A SPECIALIST dementia care home has had an activity-filled year for its residents. From chair yoga to sensory tables, the daily sessions have helped residents with their wellbeing and promoted an active lifestyle.

Meddyg Care, based in Criccieth and Porthmadog, plan activities based on the interests and hobbies of occupants. In addition, as dementia can affect senses, some of them target their loss of smell and taste.

Before COVID, the home also engaged with the local community by inviting people to speak about their passions like sports and their professions as well as holding concert performances by schools. These are now being streamed via video call.

Natasha Evans, activities manager at Meddyg Care, said: “My role involves planning the activities based on risk-assessment and budget. I like to plan a month ahead and then provide this to the activity co-ordinators who’ll roll these out in both homes. They’ll then feed back to me how each resident responded and felt during the exercise.

“I’ve worked in care since having my son three years ago. Everyone in my profession remembers the first moment they loved their job. Mine was with a gentleman who was unhappy in the home, so I refused to leave him alone every day until he laughed. This really helped his family and after that, my managers thought I was more suited to a role in activities, which I’ve now been involved with for a year.

“We typically put on five activities a day and residents can choose which ones to take part in. We like them to feel like they still have responsibilities and can accomplish things whilst they live here, so we give them small tasks such as folding laundry or chopping soft vegetables like mushrooms for dinner. They can also take part in flower arranging which they can display in their room.

“Bingo is popular and I like to make sure everyone’s a winner with little prizes like cakes and biscuits so no one feels left out. We also play music from the 60s, 70s and 80s in the background.

“The activities have an important impact on residents emotionally and physically. We can see how excited they become and they’re not left sitting in a chair waiting for dinner. I also discuss how the sessions went with their relatives which helps us create a close bond. Before COVID, families also had the option to join in with their loved ones.”

Natasha heads up the Meddyg Care activities team, which also includes Stephen Jones at Porthmadog and Annie Evens at Criccieth.

Natasha added: “One of the first things to go when you have dementia is taste, so I find it interesting to see how things like lemons and sugar taste to them. Our sensory table explores this and we’ll make it seasonal too with curries in winter and ice creams in summer. As a team, we’ll also discuss the reactions from individuals so we can really see what helps them and how.

“On Fridays, we hold chair yoga which involves instructional tasks like ‘show me how you brush your hair’. This is more impactful than asking them to lift their arms. People with dementia can sometimes refuse to do things because they think they can’t do it. Asking them to do something as opposed to telling them gets a better response.

“One of the best things for vulnerable adults is a hand massage as this can comfort them, so on Sundays we also have a pamper day. These types of interactions help us to gain trust with the residents. It relaxes them and often helps starts a conversation.

“At Christmas, we hope to welcome some entertainers who can sing songs from the residents’ era and we’re looking forward to a big party as well which we can livestream to families.”

If anyone would like to share their passions and hobbies with our residents, please get in touch by calling 01766 800 900 or emailing natasha.evans@meddygcare.co.uk.

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