As part of World Alzheimer’s Month, care home review site carehome.co.uk asked care homes what they do to help support people with dementia.
It found that care homes across the UK use a variety of therapeutic methods, one of which being doll therapy, where people living with dementia are given a doll to cuddle, which can be both comforting and calming.
However, according to carehome.co.uk, care home staff find it important to closely monitor residents’ interactions with the dolls, as some can get too attached, and can put them to sleep in their beds while they themselves sleep in a chair.
Intergenerational mixing is also popular. Children are known to have a beneficial effect on people living with dementia, and the engagement levels of someone with dementia can dramatically change when a child walks in the room and they can be far more animated and communicative.
Wren Hall, a dementia nursing home in Nottinghamshire which offers intergenerational care, recently joined forces with Little Wrens Day Nursery to open an intergenerational space.
Managing director Anita Astle said: “Intergenerational care breaks down stereotypes and promotes empathy and understanding between generations. It is a beautiful way to create meaningful connections and enhance the quality of life for everyone involved.”
Finally, animal therapy also scored highly. Interaction with animals can reduce anxiety in people with dementia and boost mood and communication. Animals can also trigger reminiscence in people who had pets before they entered the care home.
Rosebank Care Home care home in Oxfordshire, which specialises in dementia care, recently transformed into a farm for the day as part of its wellness programme, and played host to dogs, donkeys, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, and rabbits.
Tammie, a lifestyle coordinator at Rosebank Care Home, said: “It was lovely. Everyone felt included in the activities and it was just so relaxing. I think people forget how calming the presence of animals can be, there wasn’t a single resident that didn’t benefit from it.”