When it comes to the nature of care, it can often be trial and error experience and involve new therapies and initiatives being introduced over a period of time, so that their impact can be assessed.
Below, we have listed some of the initiatives that have been introduced into care environments in order to improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those who receive care, visit day centres, or live in retirement communities.
Visits by Children
A scheme that initially began in the United States and Japan to bring children and the elderly together to assess the impact on both of them has since developed into nursey businesses being permanently integrated unto care house. There are now many partnerships between schools, nurseries and childminders across the UK, whereby groups of children are regular visitors to elderly residential settings and in some cases those receiving care at home.
It was thought that bringing the two generations together would have a profound effect on the mental health and happiness of the older generation as well as improving their mobility and physical health as they are encouraged to take part in a variety of activities with the children.
A study earlier this year by Bangor University in Wales, saw six children aged three and under visit an elderly day centre for three consecutive days. This confirmed the positive impact that this had on the other generation, but also documented the positive impact on the children where improvements in language development and independence were noted.
Pets as Therapy have conducted several studies into the benefit that bringing animals to a Care environment has on the individual, and have concluded that spending time with animals has a profound impact on the mental wellbeing of the individuals, as well as reducing stress level and aiding relaxation.
Other research has shown that stroking, playing with, looking after and feeding animals can all work to reduce stress and blood pressure, it can also help those that experience memory difficulties by providing stimulation.
Often, those who are receiving home care often still have their own pets or allow staff to bring their pets with them. There are also animal organisations and charities that bring temperament tested animals such as dogs and donkeys for visits to appropriate settings.
‘Buddy groups’ have been formed all over the country for care users who find it difficult to leave their home due to mental or physical conditions. Volunteers from varying walks of life join individuals in their homes or at a day centre to socialise with them and have access to a personalised box that is filled with items they are connected to, or things they enjoy.
These schemes have proven to be particularly effective with those patients that suffer from dementia, not only providing respite for family members but helping the individuals retain active memories through items and activities that they connect with.
Doll therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers have already been implemented in America and Japan but is yet to make a widespread impact in the UK.
It’s not deemed to be suitable for everyone, and family members can find the practice distressing, but these dolls are thought to provide comfort for dementia sufferers, especially when they are a mother or if they had a caring role in their career.
those establishments who have used dolls have reported having seen increased activity, a renewed sense of purpose and increased communication amongst their residents. This has been attributed to the responsibility of caring for the doll becoming an integral part of their daily routines.
A study found that Doll Therapy could be used to increase positive behaviours, and is an effective approach in caring for individuals suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.