During Dementia Action Week (17 – 23 May 2021) communities, organisations and individuals around the world come together to highlight issues around dementia and explore ways we can support people living with dementia to continue to enjoy life.
Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. (World Health Organization).
At Four Seasons we understand how living with dementia feels and support residents to feel relaxed, secure and happy in a dementia friendly environment. We take the time to get to know each individual, listen to their stories and understand their likes and dislikes. We’ll find out what they have in common with other residents and our those that care for them to help build relationships and shared moments so they can truly feel ‘at home’.
When a person lives with dementia some things might change, but not everything has to. That’s why, instead of focusing on the things a person can no longer do, we support them to continue to do the things that make them smile.
Building supportive environments
Surroundings can have a big impact on a person’s well-being and small changes can make life easier for people living with dementia. We know that our resident’s living with dementia and their families want a safe environment with good food, a supportive team and meaningful activities to look forward to every day. We try to make our care homes homely and personalised, incorporating simple design and décor features such as lighting and flooring choices that minimise visual disturbance. We are also mindful of the creation of familiar points of reference to aid navigation throughout the home.
Gardening can be great for the mind and body, which is why many of our homes have sensory gardens. For those living with dementia, gardening can be hugely beneficial, from touching petals, to smelling flowers and listening to the bees and birds it can be a great activity to keep the brain active. It can help create a routine, stimulate the mind and the senses. Plus a great tool for reminiscence, residents often remember previous gardens and their favourite plants.
Sensory activities is an effective method for reducing anxiety, calming nerves, and providing comfort. In our homes we deliver a variety of sensory activities which provide a level of stimulation that boosts awareness and attention due to the directness and simplicity of the task. View Clyde Courts sensory activities here
Our Resident Musician Eleanor Meynell from Charlton Park, Charlton joined Four Seasons Health Care Group as a Care Assistant after hearing an appeal from our CEO Jeremy Richardson for people to join care teams in our homes.
“For the last 15 years I have mixed my performing as a freelance classical singer and pianist with giving concerts in care homes and with those living with dementia. So it felt a natural step for me at a time when my other work had been put on hold” commented Eleanor.
Eleanor is a professional musician who tours the world as an opera singer and classical pianist. However, the pandemic meant Eleanor’s planned performances for 2020 were all cancelled.
After just 3 months, Eleanor began to volunteer to perform at meal times as music can lift people’s spirits and help them eat better. The home soon realised that her talents as a musician could really enhance residents experience within the home.
“The reactions you get from people can be so incredible” said Eleanor. “You just can’t anticipate how music is going to move somebody, revive a memory or just brighten their mood. Unlike performing for large audiences where you can only momentarily enjoy how your performance has made someone feel; in a care home you can build relationships and make a real long term impact through music”.
“It's been amazing to see some of the responses from people. There was one German lady who had not spoken for four years. After one music session she began to engage with me in a conversation, speaking in coherent sentences. It was incredible.”
Reminiscing with people living with dementia can give them a feeling of comfort and safety. Providing activities which can help our residents to connect with their past encourages them to share stories with us and enables us to build relationships through shared experiences.
For more information about dementia, we’ve provided some handy links below.
Four Seasons Health Care is one of the UK’s largest independent health care providers with over 180 care homes across the UK; find a home near you.
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