People with dementia can often seem lost, sitting quietly, seemingly with no idea of what is happening around them.
It's easy to be fooled into thinking that this is the dementia taking hold of the person.
Their personality gone, their love of life taken from them.
I made this mistake with my grandmother, dementia is a progressive disease, and these were the symptoms I had learned about at university.
I had seen it with my own eyes at my placements, too.
My grandmother hadn't spoken for weeks.
She sat at the table for hours after mealtimes, her plate left almost untouched.
She 'refused' personal care.
She became 'unmanageable'.
There was no doubt that she had retreated from the world.
The care home manager requestd that we move her out of the home. Despite advertising themselves as a care home suitable for people with dementia, they claimed she needed nursing care and they couldn't manage her 'dementia symptoms'.
We looked for somewhere else for her to go, somewhere that provided nursing care, somewhere where she would be cared for more graciously.
We found somewhere, the manager visited and explained that she did not believe that my grandmother needed nursing care yet, but it would be available for her when she did.
We moved my grandmother into her new home and that is when I realised that her symptoms were much more likely to have been caused by depression.
Within moments my grandmother literally came alive again. Asking questions.
Within a couple of days, she was walking through the garden.
She was looking after her 'baby doll' again. She sat alongside another lady who also carried her doll around with her.
They had tea together with their dolls.
She was smiling and telling the staff how lovely they all were.
I will never give up on anyone with dementia again.
This is why I believe that care home activities matter!
Older people living with dementia are giving up hope. And in turn, their families give up hope too.
Without hope we have nothing to live for.
Activities which give us purpose keep us going.
Activities which are meaningful for us keep us interested in the world around us.
Activities which are fun uplift us.
Activities are a necessary part of our personal wellbeing.
We keep ourselves busy for many of our waking hours. This is not always easy for those living in a care home.
Many older residents need support to find, and engage themselve,in activities which are puposeful, meaningful and fun.
Particularly those living with dementia.
This is why it is so important to have specialists who understand the importance of activities and how to support residents to live their best life.
Activity Coordinators (sometimes called Wellbeing Managers) are key players in establishing a wide range of activities which can support each resident's wellbeing.
I can help support activity coordinators in their role, with a variety of online resources as well as my Silver Membership and training sessions.