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The Living Well Through Activity in Care Homes toolkit recommends that residents be allowed to help out in the home – but how can it help and why should you do it?

The Living Well Through Activity in Care Homes toolkit was launched by the College of Occupational Therapists as a guide to encourage care home managers to keep residents busy and engaged.

For some, it might seem like a controversial move – your residents pay for staff at your home to take care of them, so why should they be cooking and cleaning? Yet the measures in the toolkit are aimed to benefit those living in care, by giving them purpose, activity and in many ways making them feel more at home.

“Vital for a healthy body and mind”
Karin Tancock, author of the toolkit, states that “keeping active and occupied is crucial for people in care homes who risk serious health complications if they are left with nothing to do. People need activity; it is simply vital for a healthy body and mind.”

Obviously the kit doesn’t suggest that residents are given responsibility for daily chores, but gives helpful suggestions on activities that people in care can get involved with, ranging from sweeping and dusting to helping prepare the evening meal.

Working with staff
Bridget Turner, director of care development, told the Guardian in an interview that the popularity of task-based activities has resulted in housekeeping teams being restructured to help them to work better with residents as an integral part of the care process.

“For those residents who like to hang their washing on the line, fold the towels, polish the furniture or set the table properly, it’s really starting to make a difference,” says Turner.

Support from friends and relatives
The Relatives and Residents Association has also been supportive of the toolkit since its launch, allaying some care managers’ fears that the measure could be objected to by friends and families of residents.

Judy Downey, chair of the Association, says, “If somebody wants to peel the carrots or set the table, or make their own cup of tea, why not? The important thing is that care workers do it with them and don’t send them out to dig the garden just to get shot of them.”

Safety and care
One of the more popular activities with residents is cooking and preparing food. Mealtimes are often a ritual, and for many people in care, especially the elderly, it can be strange to suddenly not participate in the kitchen.

A semi-commercial kitchen can be a huge help in this instance, as it combines the hard-wearing nature of a commercial kitchen with the creature-comforts of a domestic model. A steel framework fitted with colourful cabinet doors creates a space that welcomes residents but is easy to clean, hygienic and long-lasting for carers.

To find out more about how a semi-commercial kitchen from Steelplan can help your care home respond to your residents needs, call us on 0844 809 9186 to speak to one of our team.

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