Get your care home garden ready for the new season
Colourful bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, herald the arrival of the new season. These perennial flowers require little attention and maintenance, making them a great addition to your care home garden, while still adding a lot of natural beauty. Best planted before or during the winter, they will flower in the spring, ready for the warmer weather that signals a return to the great outdoors, with the potential for outdoor activities and for residents to meet their visitors outside on warmer days.
Whatever outside space your care home has – whether you’re lucky enough to have an expansive garden, a few borders, or even just a patio with planters – growing a range of seasonal flowers is an easy way to keep your care home looking fresh all year round. It also creates a conversational topic for visitors and care home residents who may have had a green thumb, and gives you the chance to involve them in deciding which flowers you could plant next, or helping with the planting – with gardening having been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Raised flower beds or putting planters on easy-to-access tables will help make gardening activities accessible for those with restricted mobility.
Top tip: The BBC has a gardening guide for spring bulbs which covers all of the basic details you need to start digging.
Organise outdoor visits for your residents
Even though the government has indicated that there are no restrictions around how many family members and friends can visit care home residents you will still need to maintain practices that reduces the risk of infection. Also continuing with an appointment system so you can keep the number of visitors at any time at a manageable level within an indoor space. Hosting visitors outside can greatly reduce the potential for infection. The UK government guidelines recommend that meeting outdoors at a distance is a safer alternative than meeting indoors, but, if you lack the outdoor space, opening windows and allowing fresh air to travel through visitation areas is also advised.
Even without the current focus on infection control, there is wide evidence that more time spent outside can improve mental health, with a study published in 2017 finding that it: “is psychologically restorative and has beneficial influences on individuals’ emotions and ability to reflect on life problems”.
Now is the time to clean up any outside furniture ready for the new season, repainting wooden furniture if required and checking the state of parasols and umbrellas. Investing in warm rugs and insulated travel mugs will enable your residents to enjoy more time outside.
Top tip: Create welcoming spaces for your residents to meet their loved ones outside, clustering garden furniture to enable them to share a coffee and a chat together, with some of your new bulb arrangements adding visual interest.
Involve residents in spring activities
A fun way to bring spring cheer to your care home is to involve residents in seasonal creative activities. A study published in 2020 by BMC Geriatrics found that creative outlets helped to improve the mood and behaviour of people living with dementia, giving an interactive, sensory outlet. With Easter just around the corner, you have the perfect opportunity to get busy!
Some spring activities you could try in your care home include:
- Easter egg painting
- Easter bonnet making
- Hosting a raffle
- Organising an outdoor tea party
- Card making to send to loved ones.
Decorations made by your residents can be displayed around your care home, which can help residents feel involved, as well as indicating the quality of care that your care home workers provide to potential new occupants. Read our guide on inspiring confidence in families for more tips.
Top tip: ‘Not Just Bingo’ has a whole range of Easter craft activities for the elderly on Pinterest.
Review your care home strategy for 2022
Improving recruitment and occupancy rates will be a core focus for care homes this year. That’s why we’ve released a comprehensive guide that can help care homes improve their service internally and explore new methods to improve resident retention: ‘Recruitment and Occupancy: How to win the key battles for care homes in 2022’.
As expert care consultants, we understand the challenges that care homes across the country are facing and are eager to support them through 2022 and beyond. Our 26-page e-brochure handles key topics, such as:
- Improving new enquiry conversion rates
- Improving care home occupancy retention
- Optimising care home vacancy listings
- Getting your care home recruitment messaging right
- Improving staff retention.
For further information on how to implement new strategies to improve your care home, read more of our expert insights, visit our CQC Ratings Dashboard for up-to-date data on CQC trends, or get in touch for a no-obligation consultation on how we can help your care home management team this spring.