Saturday, August 1, 2009

Strategies for infusing well-being (part 3)

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals,here is interesting information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here are more interesting dementia articles and activities

Long Term Living

Promoting Social and Mental Well Being

Offer a wide range of activity programming that includes card games, like bridge or even simpler ones, or brain teasers, such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles

Identify residents willing to lead sharing seminars or tutor other residents on subjects related to their own careers or interests (e.g., watercolor painting, Internet surfing, and political science)

Set up daily newspaper groups where the residents share information about a specific section to the rest of the group

Have activity items available on the unit for residents to “borrow” (e.g., craft or scrapbooking supplies, playing cards, lending library, sewing materials, model building supplies)

Establish a welcoming committee of residents who mentor new arrivals for their first month by answering questions, encouraging participation in activity groups, and making introductions to other residents

Encourage the formation of clubs (e.g., poker, book, drama, politics, and debate)

Hold contests that promote interaction (e.g., scavenger hunts, team competitions, and dance contests)

Schedule “open mic” events for residents to share poetry, comedy, and musical talents with each other

Organize residents to complete volunteer activities together for the local community

Occupational therapy practitioners are key partners in promoting well-being in the long-term care setting. With science, research, and evidence-based background that places equal importance on the physical, mental, social, and environmental factors that impact participation in meaningful daily activities, occupational therapy practitioners can expertly identify and eliminate barriers to wellness for this specific population of older adults. For example, occupational therapy practitioners can:

assess a resident's physical and cognitive capacity to engage in various facility activities (e.g., confirming a resident has the motor skills and attention to safely assist in assembling lottery calendars for a facility fund-raiser);

modify the environment to promote participation (e.g., installation of wheelchair-height flower boxes in the garden to allow residents to do their own spring planting);

adapt activities to facilitate engagement (e.g., introducing one-handed stabilizing devices and one-handed typing skills to allow a resident with a recent stroke to be able to return to publishing the monthly facility newsletter); and

assist residents in identifying and engaging in those activities of greatest importance to them (e.g., working with staff to develop a morning routine that enables a resident to get up and be ready in time for daily church services).

“The Well Elderly Study,” landmark research published in 1997,1 was the feature article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This study, conducted by occupational therapists at the University of Southern California, examined the effectiveness of occupational therapy in health promotion efforts for low-income, community-dwelling older adults. Results of this study demonstrated that occupational therapy was more effective than a control group that either received social activity services or no interventions in maintaining a healthy and more independent lifestyle. Subsequent follow-along studies proved the economic value of this preventive approach.

Wellness may seem to be an easily achievable goal if your facility has the programming and tools to address resident needs in a traditional format, but there are steps you can take to promote wellness in your setting even without specific resources.

The evidence for improving the well-being of those living in long-term care settings through occupational therapy and occupation-based interventions is significant. Such interventions can be integrated into daily programming by all staff and at minimal cost through identifying activities that are physically, mentally, and socially meaningful to residents and providing opportunities for engaging in them. If you are having difficulty getting started, ask your occupational therapy professionals to help you make the first step.

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