As our business continues to grow and evolve, it’s important for me to make sure we haven’t moved so far that we’ve lost sight of where we started. At The Daily Sparkle we have what we call the ‘four pillars’ of our business. Four principles on which all our products and services are designed - what we do must always reflect these. They are:
These pillars have been the same since we started the business, in fact they were why we started the business in the first place. Some years ago, when a friend of mine was taken ill and went into a nursing home I was aghast at how quickly this sharp, vibrant person turned into someone silent and passive. He was totally unstimulated and uninterested in everything around him. His life was devoid of enjoyment, he simply didn’t have fun anymore. He was a shell of the person I remembered. I resolved that this had to change, and it was in this moment that the beginnings of what is now The Daily Sparkle were born.
Stimulation: This was the most serious aspect. My dear friend went downhill because he had no daily stimulation – he was literally bored to death. Making our resources stimulating was, and is, hugely important to me. People need to be stimulated every single day, and it can’t be less than that.
Interest: We all want to feel interested in things, in those things that spark a memory, a sense of familiarity, or make us want to learn more. We all need a place to put our energy and our minds so they don’t become idle. This was essential.
Enjoyment: Why this one? Just because you are in a care home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your life. We should be aiming for people to enjoy their lives as long as they can. And when you are happy and enjoying something, that is infectious. It spreads.
Fun: I love fun. I am a naturally fun, happy person, and yet the care industry can be such an angst-ridden area. When I speak about fun, some people say ‘this is a serious matter,’ but it’s refreshing to have fun. To bring a smile to someone’s face, to make them giggle, to play. It makes the day worth living. It’s not a cliché that laughter is the best medicine. Because healthcare is such a serious business, fun can be seen to be trivial, but I want it to be foundational – which is why it forms the foundation of what we do.
These four pillars are how we do our quality control – and this runs through everything we do. In our newspapers and resource packs, our writers and designers work to the same criteria each day, we pick interesting topics to discuss and design activities we know residents will enjoy. When I go to meet residents, these pillars are there too, I would never spend time with residents without having fun with them. When I work with my team, it’s there too, because if they are stimulated and having fun it will flow through to everything we do.
I find it’s not only helpful, but essential, that we never forget these. That when we’re working on new things, (and we’re always working on new things!), that we make sure we’ve covered every base, considered each aspect of it and ensured that what we are doing will stimulate and interest, that it will be enjoyable and fun.
"Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny."
Chris Harding, founder of The Daily Sparkle
This article previously appeared on The Daily Sparkle.