A care home in Maidstone has been recognised for its innovation and creativity in supporting residents living with dementia. Ashley Gardens care home, which is part of the Healthcare Homes Group, was the recent winner of ‘Ladder to the Moon’s’ quarterly Outstanding Activities Competition, in recognition of their work to engage with residents in fun and creative ways.
‘Ladder to the Moon’ supports social care organisations in delivering outstanding dementia care by developing creative environments. Staff at Ashley Gardens are working with the organisation to further their commitment to finding new ways of engaging with their residents, particularly those living with dementia.
As part of the ‘Outstanding Activities’ initiative, which involves activity staff receiving off-site training and on going coaching, a monthly activities box is provided to the home. The content of the box links directly to staff training and is filled with items that can be used to host activities that help staff to connect with residents. The boxes are designed to invoke memories from the past, however staff are trained to take any thought or idea aroused by an object and to open up a creative conversation, encouraging and acknowledging contributions from the group.
The team at Ashley Gardens used the box as part of a Victorian tea party held to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support. The ‘Great Exhibition box’ was filled with a number of items to enhance the event, such as costumes and accessories so that residents could dress up in Victorian dress.
Ashley Gardens was announced as this quarter’s winner of the Outstanding Activities Competition for their innovative use of the activity box at their fundraising event.
Judges were impressed with the way that staff used the box to engage with residents, using it to support an existing event that ‘incited inspiration and excitement’ for residents. In recognition of their creativity, the home has won an ipod touch for residents to use.
Home Manager Jo Mazza said, “The whole team are so pleased to have received this recognition. The activities box provides a great way for us to engage our residents in fun activities that bring them real enjoyment.
“We combined the Great Exhibition box with the Victorian tea party and over two days we gave residents the chance to dress up in Victorian costumes and held a fashion parade, whilst raising £160 for the charity.
“We added costume accessories, hats and jewellery to the box, and even sourced a gramophone to create a really authentic feel to the event. Our staff dressed as Victorian waitresses and served refreshments and we took photographs of residents and their relatives in their Victorian dress
“These activities bring enjoyment and excitement to people living with a very challenging condition and it is so rewarding to see them laughing and enjoying the activities. We look forward to hosting many more events like this in the future.”