I have been working on Brunswicks’ Healthcare Review for 12 ½ years. Yet lately, it strikes me, that in the last year or so, we have seen a prominent shift with care homes and their residents. We now see a new variety of entertainment offered (even pole dancing!) armchair football, knitting events, pub areas being built within care homes, bucket list wishes being granted, animals visiting (alpacas, cows, dogs, cats etc), and in this issue, a couple renewing their vows and another couple celebrating their 65th anniversary. There seem to be more residents who are living past 100 years old, and I would like to think this is due to better care, better environments, more interaction and encouraged participation in activities and themed days. Wonderful!
But on the downside, dementia seems a lot more common today than it was 12 years ago. So, it saddened me greatly to read that some dementia patients only get two minutes of interaction per day. This is clearly not enough. An absolute minimum of ten minutes is needed to help with their wellbeing according to a study by the University of Exeter, along with understanding from those around them, not just family and friends, but care workers, nurses and fellow residents.
All too often, some are ‘written off’ as being difficult, when studies have shown that those who have more interaction, are a lot more calm and less likely to become agitated with their surroundings or people around them.
So, even though the care home environment has changed in wonderful ways, there is still much work to be done to ensure all residents are as happy as possible in body and mind.