The theme for this year’s Care Home Open Day is celebrating the role of Arts in Care.
Here’s why it’s important to choose a service that engages with the arts and what to look out for when visiting care homes.
When you are thinking about care homes, the Arts may not immediately jump out at you as being important, but art and creativity most definitely have a place in care settings. And in fact can be what elevates a care home, to a real home.
How often do you walk into a hotel or restaurant and feel comfortable immediately? In conversation with friends we will often talk about the atmosphere of a venue and how it added to your enjoyment. Very often it’s the people we have met that have the most impact. Visiting a care setting will be no different. If you are greeted by smiles and laughter with an atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable then you are onto a winner.
In our experience the best care homes are the ones that offer lots of different opportunities that appeal to the individual. A busy programme of leisure activities might suit the people that enjoy being part of a group. More often though people will want to know about the more basic things that bring us pleasure. For example, can they access books to read easily or be able to walk in the garden when they want to.
A good indicator of a well led and innovative care setting is one that offers a range of creative arts activities for individuals and groups. Sometimes when we talk about ‘The Arts’ we have a narrow definition, limited perhaps, to what we might see in galleries or hear on Classic FM but the creative arts touch every aspect of our lives and bring pleasure to many.
A care setting that appreciates things like flower arranging, letter- writing or cake decorating is just as creative as one that has an Artist in Residence or lots of formal artwork on the walls.
I know of many people that have moved into care homes and discovered talents they never knew they had. I introduced a lady to a simple method of writing poetry, and it became her favourite pastime.
Music plays a vital part in all our lives, but it must be the kind that we like. A good care setting is conscious of this and will offer people a means to listen to what they enjoy and where they might want to be when they are listening. Many care settings bring in paid entertainers and its good to see those that use a range of different providers to offer variety and choice to the residents.
NAPA is a charity that supports activity provision in hundreds of care settings and many of them have embraced the NAPA Year of the Arts 2019. One of the major events of the year is Care Home Open Day on Friday 28th June when care homes will open their doors to their local communities.
Our aim is to showcase what great places care homes are with a theme this year of demonstrating to visitors the creativity on offer in them. The Open Day is a great opportunity for the general public, or anyone considering moving into a care home, to have a look around, talk to residents and staff and get a feel for that atmosphere that might make you feel at home.