Activities for residents play a major role at Bartley Healthcare. We know that activities for seniors relieve boredom, create positive experiences, produce laughter, provide a bonding among the residents, and help develop memories of good times. Activities for our dementia residents become even more important because of the unique needs they have, especially those who may be “sundowning”. We have seen countless times how activities for seniors can engage a resident who might be displaying behaviors such as calling out or trying to “go home”. They become engrossed in the activity and participate appropriately because the activity has captured their attention.
The specially trained staff who work on Bartley Healthcare’s dementia program always strive for a “family” experience. This includes involving the resident’s families as they come to visit, as well as creating happy, unique, musical, fun, and entertaining activities. The program is person-centered to provide an activity for every individual on the unit that engages them: whether it is a sports activity, creative arts activity, or a sensory experience. Success means smiles, laughter, helping each other, being involved in the activity, and being relaxed.
Here at Bartley we have created an enrichening sensory program specifically designed for our lowest functioning residents both on our dementia unit, as well as serving our residents on other units who may need 1:1 sensory experiences. This sensory program takes place in a quiet room, with aromatherapy, seasonal objects to look at and touch, and soothing music on DVD’s which have pictures of gardens, waterfalls, engaging designs and animals. The program involves all the senses, and 1:1 attention is given to each resident during the sessions. We have seen very noticeable results from this program: residents who would normally not interact with anyone will smile, laugh, reach for a hand, or reach for an object. The peace and joy that come over the residents are priceless.
Our staff is constantly communicating with each other on what activities the residents truly enjoy and participate in, as well as always looking for new ideas to stimulate the residents and provide more varied activities. The best compliment the activity staff can receive is “Wow! Is it dinner/supper time already? It seems like we just ate a meal!” Success comes at varying levels, but smiles and the comfort and enrichment of our residents’ lives are paramount.