Lessons from Lockdown in Care Homes
The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the normal way of life, and for many people it will be a tough but necessary period of isolation. It is currently unknown how long these restrictions will be in place, and therefore, as we are stuck in our homes for the majority of the day, the question “What are Care Homes doing to relieve the boredom of lockdown for their residents?” comes to mind.
Research for this article soon revealed that care homes in lockdown did not in any way mean a restriction on fun and enjoyment. The story of care home residents from Wales playing ‘real-life’ hungry hippos highlights the innovative way one care home came up with for alleviating the lockdown blues.
There is no doubt the current situation may affect residents’ health and wellbeing by leaving them feeling lonely and bored. When family and friends are not allowed to visit and activities become limited, it’s a struggle. Therefore, this type of innovative activity works to get the adrenaline pumping and create something for residents and staff to bond over. The care staff who put this together and posted the video online, which gained huge traction, added a statement that ‘there will be some tough times ahead’ but that they ‘will get through it together’.
This sense of community is key to combating loneliness and boredom during the lockdown. By keeping social activities running this means that residents aren’t stuck in their rooms on their own and some sense of normality is maintained, and this can be easy to do if precautions for social distancing and strict hygiene rules are put into place.
Socially Distant Bingo
For example, in response to the coronavirus, precautions have been taken in care homes to make sure that residents can still enjoy a stimulating game of Bingo. This picture emerged showing residents playing Bingo in the hallway from their rooms, following social distancing by having at least 2m between each person. This highlights the creativity of the staff, by making sure that residents can keep playing and interacting with others through putting these simple, unconventional measures into place.
Some care homes like Kepplegate Care in Lancashire, have embraced technology solutions and introduced online tai chi, darts and quizzes to keep their residents happy. A virtual visiting lounge has been set up where residents can go to have internet chats with loved ones when they wish, all facilitated by care home staff. Residents even enjoyed a virtual visit to Chester Zoo recently – all from the comfort of their armchairs. Facebook networks have been hastily set up in the shadow of Covid-19 by dedicated Registered Managers, keen to share details of the activities their care homes have been enjoying in the lockdown. They even have fun competing against each other in online games. When the threat of the virus has passed, it would be great if these new connections forged in adversity, continue to deliver benefits to residents going forward.
Everyone copes differently
It needs to be considered that dealing with isolation is a different struggle for everyone, and there is no one-size fits-all solution. Some residents may enjoy sharing in big group activities, whereas others may prefer focusing on other more individually-centred activities.
The Daily Sparkle is an inspirational reminiscence publication produced for activity coordinators in care homes. We recently interviewed the founder, Chris Harding about the fantastic work they do keeping people in care homes entertained and stimulated. They have some extra resources in their package at the moment to help support care staff to meet the challenge of keeping residents occupied and happy during Covid-19. Now might be the perfect time to benefit from their free trial offer.
Whilst these are undeniably challenging times, the lockdown could be viewed as an opportunity for residents to create new shared-life experiences and joyful memories. It does not have to be a scary moment in their lives where they are holed up in their rooms on their own. It also provides opportunities for care homes to show their innovation and creativity – we are in a unique situation which demands a fresh and original approach. What must be remembered above all else is how vitally important it is to keep vulnerable residents in care homes fit and healthy during this viral threat. Keeping smiles on their faces during this challenging time, equally so.
If you are seeking business support for your social care organisation during this worrying time, we can help. Insequa have broad experience of the care sector and are well placed to give support. We have created a Coronavirus Support Pack which covers the operational concerns you may have and addresses many of your policy and paperwork questions at this fast-moving time. We also have free resources to download on our website specifically related to care delivery and Covid-19. Call our friendly team to find out more – 0115 896 3999.