Our hobbies and interests form a vital part of our lives.
They give us enjoyment, fulfilment, independence and, often, a purpose in life. In many ways, they define who we are.
This doesn’t change when people get older, or need to be cared for. In fact, the benefits they provide mean it’s more important than ever to take part in activities.
Sometimes, with age, the capacity to do certain activities diminishes. Reduced eye sight and hearing, and conditions such as arthritis and dementia can all put limits on mental and physical abilities.
However, it’s essential that care providers recognise that people’s motivation to find enjoyment in the things they do still remains.
Why are activities important?
The physical benefits of taking part in activities are obvious. The more people can use their bodies, the healthier they’ll feel, and the longer they’ll maintain mobility and flexibility.
But it goes way beyond physical fitness – as the saying goes: ‘a healthy body, a healthy mind’. Feeling well in ourselves has a profound effect on our mental well-being – and vice-versa. It is vital that physical, mental and social well-being of those receiving care is maintained in a person centred way and engagement in activities can have a huge beneficial impact on all three areas.
Being able to maintain activity helps boost self-esteem and confidence as well as providing meaning and satisfaction in people’s lives.
They feel a valued and relevant part of the community because they can continue to project their personality on the social group. If care providers take the time to understand people’s interests, it helps the individual be cared for to maintain independence, individuality and control over their lives.
If people are bored or don’t have the opportunities to get involved in activities, they’re more likely to ‘give up’ and become withdrawn or depressed. And this can even impact on their day-to-day activities like washing, dressing and eating.
What do we mean by activities?
In this sense, an activity can be anything that stops people’s lives becoming sedentary. This might include leisure pastimes, daily social activities, day trips and inviting people to talk to the group.
While physical activity is clearly beneficial, ball games, or even walking, will be beyond some people’s capabilities.
If that’s the case, it’s important to find other ways to engage with people. For instance, sensory activities or mental stimulation like a daily crossword, music, aromatherapy, stroking animals or games involving reading, numbers and bright colours.
Getting to know the people you care for
When it comes to planning activities, getting to know the people you care for is essential. Gaining knowledge about their life and experiences not only helps you understand their interests, but also to gauge their physical and cognitive abilities.
This will also help you provide purposeful activities to engage people in your care.
It can be difficult dedicating the time to activity researching and planning, ensuring that you meet health and safety aspects and recognising which activities work best for an individual’s needs. Redcrier offer an activity planning training course to help you understand the legislation involved and start you on your road to activity planning. The course has been designed to walk the learner through the structure of an activity plan and will encourage them to utilise a holistic approach in order to create an activity plan.
Redcrier offers flexible, tailored training to ensure you get exactly what you need from the course with the ability to implement those skills in real life situations.
To find out more visit the website or contact us on 01823 332200.