Dementia Care Activities & Meals
Relationship care between the staff team and each individual living in the home is really getting to know each other. I believe you can sense this in the atmosphere within the home. Why do most of the people living in the home smile when a member of staff approach them? Why do most of the people living in the home trust the staff team so implicitly? It all comes down to the relationship care.
Meal Time Experience
When it comes to the meal time experience a good choice is top of the agenda. You will be pleased to know that the vast majority of the food is home cooked from scratch using fresh produce. My personal favourite are the roasts that we have twice a week. The homemade stews, meat or fish pies, cottage pies and fresh fish also go down very well.
You have many choices of where you eat your meals or snacks. Most people choose to eat from a table tray in front of the TV, a few people sit at the various dining tables. If the weather is good the patio area is sure to be popular too. You may also eat in your bedroom, this is particularly important at breakfast time for people who are diabetic to ensure they have enough energy prior to getting out of bed. You are free to eat your meals when you choose starting with breakfast. Some of the people living at Wisteria get up early and enjoy a large cooked breakfast, for those who enjoy a good lie-in, the choice is cereals and toast with a cup of tea. Lunch is usually between 12.30pm and 1pm, but if you are enjoying a good film, have visitors or are just not hungry our cook, will plate up your choice of meal and keep it for later. Our cooked evening meal is served at around 5pm. We also have a supper treat at about 8pm, our kitchenettes are always has a good stock of drinks and snacks.
Our cooks try very hard to find out the meals you like and enjoy and add them to the choices, we always have at least two selections available, the cooks will arrange any soft food or separately liquidised food where appropriate. We are very good at noticing who is losing their taste buds through dementia, these individuals generally enjoy home cooked curries and chilli's and will prepare extra strong flavoured food and ensure these are ready to be served each day. Our cook is also thoughtful and will make extra strong gravy, extra sweet rice puddings. We also consider traditions when it comes to meal times, bread and butter on the table always goes down well. The cooks always look at the plates coming back after a meal and enquire who is not eating much and why and see if they can offer alternatives or compensate in other ways.
The staff team will show two plated up meals to choose from as the meals are being served. For the people who are unable to visually choose a meal, we keep records of meals which appeal to them. The staff team also notice and record if people prefer small amounts of plated meals or where soft food or liquidised food is more appropriate.
The cooks are also used to preparing vegetarian meals, the cooks also have an excellent understanding of a good selection of meals for people who have diabetes.
The kitchen is kept open 24 hours a day, the night staff will find something that appeals if you are hungry during the night.
The staff team value regular celebrations that we hold, as you will see in our photo gallery, which we will add to all the time, meanwhile you can see what goes on in our other homes on our Facebook pages. It’s not just about the fun on the day, it’s also about the preparation too. Most people enjoy helping with the preparations, from making of decorations to icing cakes. People enjoy having their hair done and their nails polished the day before, it all adds to the excitement. All the staff team work particularly hard the day before, making sure they will have less to do on a celebration day, just like most people do on Christmas Day. This allows us to relax, get involved and have some fun with the people who live in the home. We also rota in more staff on a celebration day and the managers try extra hard not to book any appointments that day and get out of the office and join in with the fun.
Who would want to go through life without things to look forward to?
The staff team encourage independence and generally helping out around the home. This can come in many forms, from an individual holding the peg basket and passing the pegs as the staff put the washing out, watering the plants, cleaning the brass, washing up in the kitchen, laying the tables for the next meal, sweeping the floors, dusting their bedrooms, as in your own home the list is endless! We realise this is not for all, however some people really do take pride in these jobs. We as a staff team put a lot of thought into the compliments that we give, as we believe this helps people to feel more worthy, of which of course people living with a dementia need more of.
Who would want to go through life without the occasional compliment?
We encourage the staff team to create situations that allow the people living in the home to ‘mother or parent’ them, especially the younger members of staff, this is wonderful for promoting self esteem. This can be a resident showing a member of staff how to waltz, showing a member of staff how to knit, giving cooking tips to the staff. Seeing a member of staff just sitting on the floor whilst someone brushes their hair is very heart warming to watch. Letting the people who live in the home know that you are tired and would ‘love a hug’, etc. These are all great at adding meaning and purpose to one’s life.
As a person’s dementia progresses their ability to join in with group activities decreases. They have fewer lucid moments and tend to sleep more and more. At this point in time the staff team do not stop activities, we take a different approach, we look to the basic senses, such as touch and sound. Here are some of the stimulations we use:-
Therapeutic music such as nature sounds from birds, the sound of the sea, the sound of children playing, etc.
- Hand massage
- Foot spa
- Slowly brushing of hair with soft brushes
- Stroking of the face with different soft textured material
- Pets bring on more lucid moments
- Just watching group activities
- Sitting on the patio with a member of staff in gentle sunlight
- A pillow case full of different senses to touch