Our Occupational Therapists
Our Occupational Therapists work closely with our Care and Activity teams to deliver meaningful and stimulating activities for our ladies and gentlemen every day.
They work to understand both their physical and social needs, supporting them to get the most out of their lives. They do this by enabling them to retain everyday skills, like dressing, making a cup of tea or shopping.
Moving into a care home doesn’t signal the end of an active or useful life. It just means that the person has additional care needs that are better met living within a care environment.
The National Institute for Health & Excellence (2008) recommends that; Older people should be offered regular group and/or individual sessions to identify, construct, and carry out daily routines and activities that help maintain or improve their health & wellbeing.
Our Occupational Therapists
We take these recommendations very seriously and ensure that every member of our community is catered for.
We have three occupational therapists working with our activity and Care teams across the Towerview Care Group. Rebecca Patrickson works across Loxley Court and Smithy Bridge Court. She qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2014 and then worked in Specialist Neurological complex care for 3 years.
I caught up with Rebecca just after she joined the TVC family earlier this year. I asked her how she felt Occupational Therapy fit into the person-centred holistic care model at Towerview Care.
She told me, “I am looking forward to the challenge of working in Dementia and Challenging Behaviour with our ladies and gentlemen throughout the Towerview Care family.
For those who are unaware of what Occupational Therapy is, the best way to describe it is Occupational Therapists use purposeful activity or interventions designed to have functional outcomes. Occupational therapists encourage health promotion through lifestyle changes, support the prevention of injury or disability, and help restore an individual’s independence.
The primary goal is to identify with the support of family, friends, care support staff and MDT what exactly “is important to their day-to-day life”.
Adaption to Activities
Adaptions can then be made to the task they want to do, how they want to do it and the environment. These changes may be necessary for the maintenance of good mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing. To find out more about adapting activities check out our article Why are activities so important for those with Dementia and Complex care needs? by clicking here.
We can look at positioning & handling, supportive seating, motor, sensory, cognitive & social function.
Using OT assessments such as “The Pool Activity Level instrument for Occupational Profiling”, Occupational therapists find the most appropriate activity level for our ladies and gentlemen.”
At Towerview Care, we believe that although 1:1 time is important, it is essential for people living with complex care needs to engage in group activities. They can provide an individual with physical and emotional contact, encouraging them to make friends and build a sense of community. Working in groups can stimulate creativity, increase self-esteem, and help people re-engage and strengthen their communication skills.
For those caring for a loved one living with complex care needs, these may include dementia, mental health needs or behaviours that may be challenging. We have a series of practical activities below that you and your loved one may find engaging and stimulating.
Meaningful and Stimulating Activities
Sing-a-long-an era. – 20s/30/40/50/60s
This website is designed to use music to help people reconnect with their most powerful memories. Evidence shows that music can help people – including those living with dementia – to feel and live better.
m4d Radio is a group of 5 themed radio stations available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, playing music that evokes memories. Our musical memories are typically made from our early teen years through to our late twenties. You can choose your birth year to listen to the musical decade where your musical memories were made.
Playlist for Life
You can set up your own playlists for loved ones. Listening to music that is personal to you and your loved one can help soothe an anxious mind and helps the time pass.
Crafting with scented dough – Knead the dough while taking deep breaths and experience fast relief and an escape from your day. Scented playdough also acts as a hand-strengthening tool for hand muscles.
You can start off by just kneading and rolling the dough into snakes, which was a lot of fun. When they get the hang of it, you can make small pots by using the long rolls of dough and shaping them into coils.
Use ink stamps and cut pictures out from magazines etc, to design a card of their choice. Encourage creativity and self-expression.
Make up a scrapbook “About me”, or the family and the whole family can get involved, sending photos and poems, memories, etc. Or you could look at childhood, schooldays, favourite holidays, pets, foods, friends.
There are so many ways to make Pom Pom’s click here for another, you can make so many things with them too! Rugs, door wreaths, bouquets, animals and many, many more, click here for more ideas.
Knitting is great for people with mobility issues as it can be done sitting down, it helps them concentrate and you can make things together. Even if they can’t knot they can help by winding calls of wool up and this can give you a great opportunity to engage your loved one in conversation.
Decorate rocks and leave them on your walks for other people to find. You can even write little messages on the other side like spread kindness. To find out what you need and how to paint on rocks etc. click here for more information.
Board games for those with dementia are not only an excellent way of boosting and supporting cognition and memory, but they also allow focus and time to be given to the individual. When conversation can be tricky, board games and tabletop games give way into the discussion. They can also build confidence, especially when enjoying games that are familiar from the past.
Noughts and Crosses
With paper and pen, you can make it as big as you need, and you can use whatever you like as counters. This means you can use larger items if your loved one has eyesight issues or if grip is an issue. You can also purchase tabletop versions; these also encourage physical manipulation of small pieces. You can also download this game on a tablet for your loved ones to play against the computer if they want to. Noughts and Crosses is such a familiar game that this can be a game to be enjoyed even in the later stages of dementia.
Snakes and Ladders
An old favourite from childhood and so universal that the rules will be familiar, Snakes and Ladders is an ideal board game for those living with complex care needs on many different levels. The bright colours make the board easy to see. You can also buy preschool editions of the game, which come with larger pieces and dice.
The striking black and white design of Dominoes makes them ideal for those living with complex care needs or dementia. Furthermore, the concepts are extremely easy, even if not familiar. The game can be enjoyed with two or more players and has the added benefit that the pieces are not small.
Again, Draughts is an old classic that is both striking to look at and simple to play. Those with Dementia will likely struggle with more complex strategy games such as Chess, but Draughts retains the challenge of thinking without the bewildering different playing pieces.
Using larger playing cards and perhaps a playing cardholder, there are a myriad of card games that are suitable for those with care needs. Avoid games that involve misdirection or lying, such as Poker, but games such as Old Maid can be popular, especially in the earlier stages of conditions such as dementia. Again, Old Maid is likely to be familiar to many from their childhood.
A card game with brightly coloured and clear cards, Uno can be great, especially in the earlier stages of dementia. It may be new to the players, which could determine its success, but it can be made more or less simple with adaptations to the rules. Matching numbers and colours, it can be enjoyed by larger numbers of players as well.
- Of course, the simplest and best-known game. You can play this with multiple players.
- The dealer deals the entire pack of cards out face down between all the players.
- Then, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, and in turn, each person lays down the top card from their pile into a new pile (the discard pile) in the centre of the table.
- If the card being laid matches the card laid down by the previous player, all players must say “Snap”.
- The first person to say “snap” wins all the cards in the discard pile, and play starts again.
- The winner is the player who collects all the cards.
- The dealer deals all the cards. If there are two or three players, each player is dealt seven cards. If there are more people taking part, each player is dealt five cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in a pile. This is the “fish pond.”
- Each player sorts their cards into groups of the same number or suit (i.e. a group of threes or group of kings), making sure not to show anyone.
- The person to the left of the dealer starts the game by asking another player for cards that will match his hand. For example, if they have two threes, she will ask the other player for threes. If the other player has these cards, he must hand them over.
- The same person continues asking the same player for more cards until the player does not have the cards he wants. If the player does not have the right cards, he can tell the requester to “Go fish.”
- The requester then has to take one card from the “fishpond.” The player who told him to “Go fish” becomes the new requester.
- Anyone who collects all four cards of a set (i.e., all four eights or all four Queens) puts them face down in front of him.
- The winner is the first person to have no single cards left, only complete sets. If two people run out of cards together, the player with the most sets wins the game.
- This is a two-player game.
- All cards are dealt to the two players and kept face down.
- Neither player must look at their cards.
- Both players turn over the top card of their piles and put them face up in the centre of the table, beside the other player’s card.
- Whoever has turned over the highest-ranking card takes both cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile.
- This continues until two cards of the same value (i.e., two sevens) are put down together. The game is now in a state of “war.”
- To continue, both players take two new cards and put one face down on top of the card they have already placed in the middle and one face up.
- Whoever puts down the higher ranking face-up card wins all six.
- The game is won by the player who collects all of the cards.