Three activities to promote the physical and mental well-being of care home residents
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We are all too aware of the impact on our social lives of shielding and social distancing measures due to the current pandemic.
The past few months have been difficult for everyone due to the social distancing rules and especially so for those living alone or those with health issues.
Parminder Grewal, managing director of Alban Manor Nursing Home, in St Albans explains why it has therefore been so important to focus on both the physical and mental wellbeing of residents.
“At Alban Manor we work continually to ensure all our residents are happy and have the opportunity for optimum physical and mental health, but during last few months it has become even more important as social activities have been so much more home-focused,” she says.
“There are, however, three areas we have focused on and I believe they are important for others too, especially if they are living alone and have perhaps felt lonely or isolated. Some of these activities only require your imagination and nothing else.”
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Parminder’s suggestions include:
1. Physical fitness
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Physical fitness and its benefits are well documented and promoted all around us and we know from research that it also helps with mental wellbeing.
Physical exertion leads to increased flow of oxygen to the brain and the release of “feel-good” chemicals: these in turn can help to reduce stress and anxiety, demonstrating how physical and mental wellness often go hand in hand.
It is therefore important that – if at all possible – we all try to do some physical exercise, even if we are lying in bed or sitting in a chair.
Meditation is considered one of the easiest and best things we can do for our mental wellbeing and there are many schools of thoughts on the different styles.
The ancient texts on yoga were originally concentrated on the importance and benefits of meditation. It is only in later texts that the physical asanas were introduced – and yoga is very much about bringing your body, mind and breath together in the present moment.
The easiest way to meditate is to sit in a comfortable position and allow your mind to calm down by focusing on your breath. Thoughts may come and go, but you should attempt to simply watch them like a spectator and let your mind slow down and relax.
Then there is visualisation, which in some ways is a little bit like daydreaming. This involves using your imagination and visual imagery to calm and relax your mind and, of course, daydreaming can be used in the same way.
3. Engaging the brain
Keep your brain engaged with any number of stimulating and fun activities: reading, for example, can take you into another world and help reduce feelings of anxiety and worry.
Playing board games and cards; doing puzzles or quizzes; singing, chatting or drawing can also have a similar effect. Trying new foods, sewing, knitting, painting, writing poetry and doodling can also help to engage the brain a little more than usual and help to distract you from feelings of anxiety or loneliness.
At Alban Manor we have such wonderful and amazing residents who lead and inspire us to have a full social engagement calendar. We have lots of gentle physical activities, as well as plenty of mental stimulation, that are ideal for keeping nursing home and care home residents happy, engaged and pursuing their hobbies and interests.
We are always open to suggestions to add further interests to our schedule. Our nursing home staff enjoy being involved and taking the opportunity to learn from our wise and knowledgeable residents who have a wealth of knowledge about so many things.
After all, as author Dr Wayne Dyer said: “I cannot always control what goes on outside – but I can always control what goes on inside.”
For more information please come and visit or contact us.
Alban Manor is located in the heart of St Albans. They promote independent living with 24/7 residential, nursing and dementia care.