Enriching Your Residents’ Experience

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Be Curious Together

Children are encouraged to be curious in life, to explore, to play, and to make sense of the world that they live in. Often those early interests stay with an individual into adulthood. If they are lucky enough they may incorporate their interests and passions into work, sometimes they become hobbies. For some, interests and passions can get lost in the ‘noise’ of life. In particular, this can happen when older people move into care. To ensure that you are enriching your resident’s experience it is important to provide opportunities that will awaken their curiosity and make space for their passions and interests.

By showing curiosity we connect with our environments and each other. Sometimes as the responsibilities of our lives take centre stage, we can lose our ‘wonder’ for the world around us. Therefore curiosity must be continually nurtured at all stages of our lives. As to be curious, to discover and explore what sparks our interest and passions is a fundamental part of our personhood and wellbeing. Without it, we can feel that we have lost connection and our place in the world.

Activity coordinators sometimes can err on the safe side with activity provision. This can take the form of activities they are experts in delivering or those that previously have had high engagement and enjoyment. To achieve those outcomes is a sign of hard work and dedication, however, enjoyment and engagement are not the only markers for a successful activity. Activities that have an aspect of discovery, learning, and exploration provide enrichment. They improve and enhance the quality of provision and your residents’ experience and sense of self.


Top Tips for Enriching Your Residents’ Experience!

  • Alot of time and energy can be spent thinking up new ideas for themes and topics. So be curious about your residents. By using discussion-based activity you can identify childhood and adult interests that can influence your activities and make them more meaningful.
  • Take a risk on a new idea and don’t make assumptions about your residents’ capabilities and understanding. Introduce something a bit different to your activity planning and if it works then brilliant, you have discovered something new! If it doesn’t work then try something else, we cannot learn about our residents’ activity needs unless we experiment with new ideas.
  • Create an environment that provokes curiosity. This can be a display table curated with objects and photographs to spark interest, or a display on a current theme. These could be put together with your residents to make an activity in itself.
  • Be Resourceful!

  • Start collecting interesting items and objects, you can create mini museums using small collections and everyday objects. Have a look at some of these ‘Cabinets of Curiosity’ for inspiration and ideas!
  • https://www.pinterest.se/ketutar/cabinet-of-curiosities/ Cabinet
  • Contact your local adult education centres, libraries, art services, and museums. These services are often looking to work in partnership with organisations like care homes. They usually have an education or participation officer who can sometimes provide resources, sessions, or team up for a project.
  • Link up with local art groups and make a section of wall in your home for an exhibition. Artists are often looking for space to share their work with others. Original artwork always provokes interest and discussion and is much more aesthetically pleasing than a framed poster of New York or a bowl of fruit. Better still, frame and display your residents’ artwork.
  • We can now access the wonders of the world at the touch of a finger. Search engines and affordable digital technology can transform discussions and conversations for your residents, and make you much more responsive. If you do not already have access, make a case with your line management for a device to be used for your sole activity use. Tablets such as the Fire 7 can now be picked up for £30 to £40.
  • Learning is for Everyone!

    We can learn new things about the world at any age or stage in our life. Therefore being curious and learning about something new doesn’t necessarily mean that information must be retained and recalled.

    For older adults with health and care needs this is not the goal. Learning for them is any positive change to their experience of life and any activity that provides them with a spark of interest, and understanding, or enjoyment of something new.

    So become curious together and enjoy the new adventures of discovery in your care setting!

    Karyn Stavert

    CEO Creative Paths EM CIC – Proud to be a Not for Profit

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