With face to face groups and classes having to stop due to Covid, the Sandwell Dementia Navigators service has found innovative ways to help people living with dementia enjoy meaningful activities at home.
This need was recognised by the Dementia Commissioner for Sandwell who proposed the provision of activity packs, to encourage families to promote positive interactions and experiences.
Dementia Pathfinders is leading this initiative, liaising with the Dementia Navigators who nominate people they are working with to receive an activity pack, consulting with the person and family carers to identify needs that would be met by an activity resource and suggesting items that might be suitable.
The pack is then put together, carefully packaged and posted to the family. “Each pack is personalised to reflect an individual’s interests and capabilities,” says Barbara Stephens. “A pack might include a jigsaw puzzle to promote sorting skills and spatial awareness, a visually stimulating resource, such as picture flash cards, a themed colouring book to suit the person’s interests and a sensory item such as a fidget apron or fiddle board.
“We have also been able to provide carers with ideas for engaging the person they care for in meaningful activities. Decks of inspiring ‘Ingredients Cards’, developed by Story Chaplain, Charlotte Overton-Hart, have been distributed, giving carers tips on how to motivate people with dementia to get involved in everyday activities and readily available resources, such as making a cup of tea.”
85-year-old June was delighted to receive an activity pack. Daughter, Karen, explains: “Mum’s pack included aqua paints with different sized paint brushes and she just loves them. It’s so easy for her to do and we don’t have to worry about making a mess as it’s just water.
“She also got a beautiful colouring book and felt pens. It has lovely jungle images which aren’t too childlike but are easy enough for her to colour in. The activities give us time together and we have a laugh.”