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18th May 2020

Mental Health Awareness: Social Distancing & 100 one to one activities by NAPA

To download the social distancing guideline for care home and 100 Suggestions for one to one activities, shared by our partner, NAPA,  please click here:

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Mental Health Awareness Week takes place 18-24 May 2020; it aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote positive wellbeing. It provides an opportunity for you and your organisation to add mental health to the wider conversation. 

Especially now that the nation is in lockdown with drastically limited freedoms, keeping yourself mentally healthy is critical. During the Mental Health Awareness Week, QCS will be sharing tips on how to stay positive for different groups.

To kick start, our partner, NAPA has provided detailed guidance on how to stay engaged while following the social distancing role as well as 100 suggestions for one to one activities for care users. Download it for free now, or you can read the guidance below.

A) Applying the principle of social distancing in care homes
These measures - which we have developed for our members - are intended to protect people at greatest risk who are most likely to have to go to hospital.

The points listed below are NAPA’s suggested ways of working, they are based on government guidance and best practice principles, they are not legal guidelines. They are intended to support the provision of activity and engagement should the principle of social distancing be applied in a care home.

Having something to do can make people feel useful and valued. Talking, laughing, singing and just being together can help improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness.

In the event of the principle of social distancing being applied, all opportunities for engagement are likely to be on a one to one basis.

  1. Activity and care teams should use existing care and support plans in order to develop individual engagement plans for each resident in their care
  2. The plans should include opportunities for activities over a 24-hour period and should not always depend on the presence of a member of staff to initiate engagement
  3. The plans should be kept in each resident’s room. This is for easy access by all staff members (do not share sensitive information)
  4. Care home managers should identify a staff member to help maintain contact between residents and their loved ones
  5. Activity and care teams should encourage family contact through the means of technology
  6. Care home managers should enable the use of electronic devices to maintain contact between residents and their family and friends
  7. All staff to offer support and encouragement through one to one interaction with residents, in accordance with the required COVID -19 restrictions. The provision of activity is not the sole responsibility of one person; the whole home can be fully involved in an activity and engagement-based model of care
  8. Activity and care teams should properly discard or sanitise activity supplies according to the care home’s Infection control policy
  9. Activity and care teams should ensure items are not shared between residents
  10. Activity and care staff should be enabled by care home managers to liaise with family members and or purchase necessary supplies for each resident’s room, in order to promote one to one engagement and activity. NAPA members suggest the following supplies:
  • contact details of friends and loved ones
  • a mobile phone or tablet
  • decks of cards
  • large print books
  • spiral notebooks
  • colouring pencils
  • watercolours paints
  • notice board for signs t connect with loved ones
  • adult appropriate colouring
  • craft supplies and kits
  • word search and crosswords
  • wool
  • trivia books
  • hand-held video games
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • stationary/pens for pen pals
  • small pots of flowers
  • life like dolls
  • robotic pets
  • aroma therapy
  • essential oils and diffusers
  • music tech
  • headphones
  • online access
  • song sheets

B) 100 suggestions for one to one activities

  1. Use technological platforms to support residents to connect with loved ones
  2. Ask relatives to send in photos of family & friends - from days gone by or recent snaps
  3. Create a photo album, frame photos or make a collage together
  4. Make a special scrapbook or a memory box of significant objects based on personal life history
  5. Help write or record an autobiography
  6. Share favourite stories and memories
  7. Recreate holiday snaps, souvenirs, postcards, even maps and tales of your journey
  8. Read newspapers and magazines aloud to keep the person in touch
  9. Jointly look at magazines with large colourful pictures and invite opinions and comments on the contents whether it is fashion preferences or political views
  10. Sew masks for residents and care staff
  11. Read religious (where appropriate) or inspirational articles, magazines or books- a ‘thought for the day’ or ‘hope for the week’
  12. Read letters from family and friends
  13. Keep a diary to share with loved ones on Skype, Zoom etc
  14. Share recorded greetings from family and friends
  15. Help with writing or typing letters and cards
  16. Find a pen pal and help with keeping in touch
  17. Create collage poster with pictures cut from magazines
  18. Share articles related to the season or next holiday to talk about
  19. Have an indoor picnic
  20. Enjoy a favourite drink or food
  21. If you play an instrument offer to do a private concert
  22. Try teaching simple tunes on an instrument
  23. Sing or hum together, Play ‘name that tune’ with CDs, tapes or music on the radio
  24. Listen to music together
  25. Play simple charades – e.g. miming an action to guess what it is
  26. Wind wool together
  27. Try drawing or painting together
  28. Make simple gifts
  29. Create a sewing basket, button box, sock drawer or toolbox to organise together
  30. Paint a bird feeder or house to hang outside the window
  31. Look at a book on bird watching together
  32. Dust the bedroom together
  33. Brush, comb or style hair
  34. Pamper with make-up, perfume, aftershave or manicure
  35. Ask for help planning your garden & look through a seed catalogue
  36. Plant & look after an indoor windowsill garden
  37. Create a terrarium (tabletop garden arrangement) together, which requires very little care
  38. Play word games & trivia together
  39. Play cards or table board games together
  40. Do crosswords together
  41. Do jigsaws together even if the person can only watch or pick up the pieces
  42. Watch television together (even just a few minutes) and discuss the programme you have seen
  43. Keep up with the Soaps that everyone watches and discuss the next day
  44. Use an iPad to watch clips of an old favourite movie or musical on YouTube
  45. Make a memory wall within the line of vision
  46. Create a story from a picture e.g. looking at a photograph or piece of art
  47. Have a session of ‘retail therapy’ and do some shopping online
  48. Discus recipes and share favourites
  49. Take someone a treat
  50. Put pins in a map of places travelled or would like to travel
  51. Give a gentle hand massage using aromatherapy scented oils or hand cream
  52. Share items to stimulate the sense of smell - spices, perfume or flowers
  53. Show different textured fabrics to touch - silk, cashmere, velvet etc:
  54. Take care of bedroom plants
  55. Shine shoes
  56. Share children’s artwork sent to the home
  57. Sort out drawers and wardrobes
  58. Use a lap piano, name that tune and sing along
  59. Use a tablet or iPad for karaoke
  60. Toss a ball or balloon
  61. Do seated physical activity together
  62. Read a chapter of a novel, a short story or a few poems
  63. Write poetry or a short story together
  64. Look at and listen to an old-fashioned music box
  65. Make a “joy box” (decorated shoe box) filled with fun and favourite things
  66. Discuss seasonal changes looking out of the window
  67. Keep a “window diary” of interesting things that happen outside
  68. Keep a journal of interesting discussions and upcoming events
  69. Make a potpourri together and hang it up to keep the room sweet smelling
  70. Tell jokes to one another, look up jokes on the internet to make it fun
  71. Google Earth National Park Tours – “Visit” national parks across the country and talk about those visited
  72. Make a weather calendar
  73. Take photos to send to friends & family
  74. Make some soap
  75. Have a chat about the theatre, opera or classical music
  76. Take paintings down from other parts of the home and discuss the artwork
  77. Make items for charity together
  78. Bring the blender in and make a smoothie
  79. Keep a track of favourite sports events or teams
  80. Learn a new word or words whenever using a dictionary
  81. Bring the toaster in and cook some toast
  82. Play along with TV game shows or develop your own
  83. Dance, or tap your feet, to favourite dance music
  84. Look at a travel book or brochure & dream about a fantasy holiday
  85. Use small rhythm instruments to make your own music
  86. Read the astrology column in a daily paper and talk about it
  87. Play noughts and crosses or similar games
  88. Talk about local landmarks and how the community has changed
  89. Make lists of their favourite foods, films, movie stars, music etc
  90. Talk about what you would do if you won the lottery
  91. Design & make your own Christmas & holiday cards to send
  92. Toss cards into a hat
  93. Hold hands and be a good listener
  94. Try your hand at drawing each other portraits when possible
  95. With closed eyes see if they can guess different flavours you supply
  96. Talk about, recite or play nursery rhymes and songs from childhood
  97. Work on a latch hook rug while you sit and talk
  98. Introduce relaxation techniques or guided meditation
  99. Create personalised wall and or ceiling decorations
  100. Just be there

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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