A bespoke care home has adapted an ice breaker game to help residents with dementia.
Staff at Mansfield Care’s Belhaven House care home in Troon, South Ayrshire, have introduced ‘conversation balls’ to help encourage better social interaction and mental exercise with residents.
Random questions are attached to each ball which are designed to spark a memory or share a fond experience with other members of the activity group.
The activity can also be conducted as a one-to-one session with a dedicated and highly skilled member of staff.
Belhaven House is one of 11 bespoke care homes run by Mansfield Care which specialises in providing residents with exceptional quality of personal care geared to their needs and wishes.
Belhaven House Home Manager, Fiona Hunter, said: “It can be a comfort to those who have dementia as it encourages them to reminisce and maybe focus on different things that day.
“The activity also helps spark conversations with other residents who have similar thoughts and experiences and build relationships with others within the home.
“In the past we would’ve had large groups maybe 10-12 at a time, however during these last few months it’s been one to one with staff. Currently 85% of our residents are taking part in the sessions which shows what an impact it has had.”
The activity is not only helpful to residents, but also to staff members who find it useful to learn about each resident and to develop long-term relationships.
Fiona added: “At Belhaven House, like all Mansfield Care homes, we look to ensure the activities are led by the wishes of the residents.
“Not only does the Conversation Balls develop cognitive behaviour, but it also helps our residents get some physical exercise.
“The balls are thrown to each resident and they are encouraged to catch the balls, before standing up and throwing them to the next resident.
“Other methods we use to help our residents are memory boxes and this also links with our use of music to help jog the memories of our residents. We find all of these activities are intertwined in making their experience at our home more comforting for them.
“One of our residents Sadie said when she arrived at Belhaven House she didn’t know anyone, but the ball helped her start conversations and allowed her to be herself.”