Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

07th February 2018

What should a proactive Quality Care Home have in place when caring for people living with Dementia?

Hello Sheila,

Can you tell me what a proactive quality care home should have in place when caring for people living with dementia? I am aware of things like well trained dementia staff, memory boxes, living photo books, twiddle muffs, a good care plan and dementia friendly space. Could you please give me any other things?



Dear J,


Thank you for your question.


Many books have been written that answer your question, I will try to answer in just a few paragraphs!


You are clearly well informed and have a great deal of information available to you and you are endeavouring to stay up to date.


When trying to be proactive in the care and activities of people with dementia I think it is very important to be organised and to make sure that all people in the care home are being involved in the programme.


I am a very firm believer that every service user should have an activities diary that is completed each day.


This will help you to ensure that each service user is included.


This is my view of what activities in care homes should look like, always bearing in mind that people will not want to be occupied every minute of the waking day, they will need some rest time too.


In a care home there are many group activities and these should form part of your published programme. Such activities could include:


  • General exercise sessions (I think one a day is good)
  • Church services
  • Entertainment brought into the home
  • Outings

Then there are things that smaller groups will enjoy doing together:


  • Playing cards
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Reminiscence Therapy


There are so many things that can be done in smaller groups.


Finally, there are the interests from each service user's past that it is the best of practice to try to keep the individual service user connected to.


These interests may become group activities, for instance, an interest in sport.


There will be other people who may require assistance contacting family who live abroad through Skype or FaceTime.


It is the gathering of information from family, friends and care plans which will set you apart from other providers if you can identify areas of interest of the individual and respond positively to encourage and maintain that interest.


That should set you on the way to an outstanding future.


I encourage you to have an activities diary for each service user and to publish information about events in the home when family and friends could join in so that you have the evidence of what you are doing.


One last thought, you are probably already a member of the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) but if you are not, then do look at their website:


With best wishes,



*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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