Activities at Hawthorn Court
Jeff Kirkhouse visits the home regularly and runs painting classes for the residents. Jeff is a watercolour artist specialising in Welsh landscapes.
Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits for older people. It’s not only enjoyable and a good source of exercise, but also provides a source of and fresh herbs for the nutritious fresh food served daily from our kitchen. Garden beds, equipment and tools are modified so that the residents can create a garden that is interesting and accessible. It also improves wellbeing as a result of social interaction, reduces stress levels and provides stimulation and interest in nature and the outdoors.
Even when other abilities are severely affected, many people still enjoy activities relating to music. Musical memory is often retained when other memories are lost. There are many ways to enjoy music, including listening, singing, following the rhythm and moving to the music. Evidence suggests that music can improve someone’s mood, behaviour and wellbeing. Physically responding to the music (through dance or movement to rhythm) can offer a chance for exercise and non-verbal communication. Favourite songs or pieces of music can also be powerful prompts for reminiscence.
At Hawthorn Court, we have a variety of musical activities, ranging from organised percussion groups, Professional singers and entertainers, School choirs and sing a long sessions. We have a dedicated activity co-ordinator who organises such events along with our working partners The Alzheimer’s Society “ Try something New” group.
Reminiscence (including life story work and memory boxes)
People can often remember the distant past more easily than recent events, as they get older. Activities focusing on reminiscence can help improve mood and wellbeing, and promotes social inclusion and seeing the person as an individual with a unique life experience. It is a good way of helping relatives and friends stay connected as well. There are many ways to initiate conversation and participation in reminiscence, including using photos, creating a life story book or using technology, for example watching memorable events (such as the Olympics, a royal wedding or the moon landings) on a computer or handheld device. Reminiscence should focus on the individual and their experiences; a person’s memories will have helped shape their present identity. However, it should be noted that not everyone will enjoy reminiscing about the past. Reminiscence activities include talking about their life histories, discussing photos or objects such as a quilt or medals, or any other tangible item that might trigger memories. We will also make up a ‘memory box’, life story book or an attractive display board that captures important elements of the person’s life.
Maintaining every day skills is essential, whether it be assisting the cooks in baking a cake, helping to wash the dishes, setting the table or folding the table cloths, it all helps to feel connected to normal life and can maximise choice and control. Helping a carer to put the washing out on the line is a simple task, but is helps a person feel important and valued because it relates to past experiences of helping around the home.
Arm chair exercises or chair aerobics is also promoted at Hawthorn Court. It is a fact that exercise is beneficial for a person’s physical & mental health ad can have significant impact on wellbeing.
Excursions & activities in the community
Weekly excursions are organised to visit Topic house, local church services and celebrations within the community. A visit to a favourite place, such as Clyne gardens often helps prompt happy memories and provides another opportunity to get out and about.
The hairdresser visits the home weekly and clients look forward to having the hair professionally washed and blow-dried. The ladies also enjoy having a manicure or pedicure, hand massages, foot spas and in house chiropodist.