Mental health for residents in care homes has often been overlooked in the past. Nowadays with more awareness, the mental health of care home residents in the UK is being looked at in greater detail. A report commissioned in 2013, by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, defined a quality standard that is now expected that covers the health and mental wellbeing of UK care home residents aged 65 and above. Here are seven ways that can be used to support positive mental health in care homes.
Freedom of Choice
Giving human beings choice has been found to positively impact daily lives. It promotes self-worth. In care homes often decisions can be taken away from the residents. It is important that where possible they are the masters of their own lives. Including what to eat, when to see visitors and even in some cases if they want to get a job or help out in the home.
One of the things that impacts mental health the most is the way people treat you. It is difficult to give someone the exact care they need if you don’t understand what they are feeling. Staff in care homes in the UK are now being trained in Excelcare, which is specifically designed to show staff the world from a dementia sufferer’s perspective. There are specific mental health care homes in Cambridge, Sheffield, Leamington Spa and all over the UK.
Activities and Games
Planning activities and playing games can help people to feel at home and relax in their surroundings. Companies have started bringing out games specifically for this purpose including the Tovertafel, which is a game table specifically designed for dementia sufferers.
It can really help residents to feel excited about coming events. It makes their daily life better, even to look forward to things happening. The activities themselves should be varied and accessible.
Many care homes now involve their residents in events. Some put on coffee mornings with local people or breakfasts with emergency services and children. It is important that the residents feel as though they are welcoming the people into their homes as much as possible. Training staff and residents how to use iPads and social technologies can help them feel connected and keep in contact with friends and family.
Chickens and Puppies
Many care homes have found an increase in residents’ mental health when they have something to care for. Keeping chickens can help them to feel needed, and who doesn’t love a puppy cuddle? For residents who are struggling, things like this can be a gateway back to feeling themselves again.
Music to Their Ears
Everyone loves music, affects our core, and works on our internal makeup when we hear a song that we love. A care home in Tunbridge Wells got to try out the new ‘Soundbeam’ technology. It is a touch-free device that translates movements into sounds.
There are so many ways that staff and new technologies can help residents deal with their mental health in care homes.