carer and patient sharing a laugh together

Enhancing Resident Wellness

Friday November 1, 2019

The importance of activities in nursing homes



A more holistic model of care has become more prevalent across a range of disciplines, from nutrition to clinical care, to mental health, and nursing homes across Ireland are no exception. At Cramers Court Nursing Home, the mind, body and soul are catered for with a new Mindfulness and Wellness Programme. One of the first of its kind in Ireland, this new programme focuses on bringing residents unique, engaging experiences that trigger joyful memories. Developing innovative new ways to engage and encourage residents to become more active is at the heart of this programme. While there is no ‘one size fits all approach’ for every nursing home, in Cramers Court it has been a huge success.



The activities coordinator Teresa O’Donovan says that community involvement has played a huge role in the success of the programme. “Nursing homes shouldn’t be an island out on their own, isolated from the community. In order for our residents to thrive, they must interact with the community around them. When we think of where we are going to buy a house, we decide based on the community we will be living in. It should be the same when we get to our senior years,” said Teresa. The HSE has cited social activities and outside trips as important factors to consider when choosing a nursing home and community involvement is often key to this.



Outside involvement from volunteers and local groups can make a real difference to residents and can bring variety, excitement and new social interactions to nursing homes. For example, at Cramers Court residents currently enjoy visits from the local junior infants as part of their Wellness Programme. The children visit Cramers Court for their “Painting Pals” class, where each tot is paired up with a resident to do arts and crafts with them. Residents even took part in their graduation from playschool, handing out scrolls to the children. “It’s so important to let our residents interact with children, it’s one of the best forms of wellness therapy. It’s also great for younger people too, as it re-educates their misconceptions about nursing homes.



Teresa has also introduced a number of other wellness activities such as equine therapy, special events like charity walks and even a mock wedding, complete with bride and groom played by members of staff. “We held a wedding in-house, with residents being fully immersed in the experience, playing guests, parents of the couple, and so on. We also put a call out to the community to come join us,” Teresa said. “Volunteers dressed up as bridesmaids, flower girls and guests. Everyone got fully dressed in wedding attire, hats included! Some residents even went shopping with family members to buy new outfits. “The whole idea of the wedding was to encourage residents to get involved. We are always trying to find new ways to help our residents create and achieve new experiences. We had a fabulous day out and everyone took pride in what we achieved together.”



“Here at Cramers Court we really want to get across the message of the modern nursing home. These places are for the elderly to thrive in, with the help of services like our wellness programme. “No longer are nursing homes a dark, daunting place, but rather a home full of activity and laughter.” The Wellness Programme in Cramers Court Nursing Home has been very well received by its staff, residents, and in particular, family members. Families have reported improvements in their loved one’s mood as the activities have brought back old memories. The success of the programme in Cramers Court is a wonderful example of how a more holistic approach to care can have a positive impact on residents.