The flowers are in full bloom, the days are getting longer and the temperature is rising… It can only mean one thing: Summer is right around the corner! The period from June to September is a season welcomed by most, with its sunny and bright atmosphere. To ensure that your residents can make the most of this, however, you’re going to need to put in the hard work now. So, as we head out of Spring, here are some of the ways that you can begin preparing your care home for the warmer months so it is well prepared to meet the heat.
Tip 1: Make sure your garden is ready
As the temperature starts to rise, your residents are going to want to spend an increasing amount of time outside – and there’s good reason to encourage this in your home, with a study by The University of Minnesota finding that seniors who spent regular time outdoors experienced an improvement in their physical, mental and social health.
For your residents to be able to reap the rewards associated with being amongst nature, it’s a good idea to start getting your garden ready now. The changes you make don’t need to be extravagant or time consuming, as it can be as simple as getting some new outdoor furniture, or even some potted plants. If you have got a bit more time and money on your hands, investing in a sensory garden for your residents to explore can be a great idea with longer term benefits for care delivery.
Tip 2: Organise outdoor activities
If you don’t think you’re going to have the resources to improve your garden, another option is to think of some outdoors activities that’ll be suitable in the warmer months. This can be as simple as hosting a tea party, or holding a fun quiz on the grass.
Some of the ideas that we love are:
- Allotment space: Why not provide small allotments or planters for your residents to try their hand at growing their own herbs and vegetables
- Kite flying
- Nature photography
- Bird feeding: Leave some seedy treats out and watch as an array of different birds come and visit your garden
- Stargazing: Summer brings with it warmer nights, enabling residents to stay out later to admire the evening sky
- Afternoon tea (outdoors): May be under a shade if the heat is too intensive
Tip 3: Socially distanced visitations
One of the great benefits of the warmer weather is that COVID-friendly visitations are going to get a whole lot easier for you and your staff to organise. Why not consider creating a separate visiting area with some tables and chairs that can easily accommodate socially distanced meetings?
In February, the CQC published an article reaffirming the importance of enabling visitations despite the ongoing pandemic and, as the UK continues to open up, visitations are going to remain an important task for you and your staff to arrange – with even the possibility of further relaxation on the limits in the near future. If you start to invest in the correct facilities, you should be able to accommodate even more family visits for your residents, which will help promote mental wellbeing.
Tip 4: Check your cooling system
Not all care homes have air conditioning facilities but, if you do, it’s a good idea to have a look at yours now to ensure it is still operating adequately when preparing your care home for the warmer months. In all likelihood, you haven’t turned your cooling system on since last August, so it’s probably well overdue a check-up! If your care home does not have air conditioning, assess which doors and windows will allow for the best flow of fresh air for your residents. Having a good idea of where your best sources for cooling air are located will help to avoid any additional searching when hotter temperatures arrive.
Tip 5: Get your menu ready
As the weather will be warmer, your residents will no longer be after hearty stews, casseroles and pies. Instead, they will likely prefer something lighter and more refreshing. Engage in discussions with your chefs to ensure that your menu is in keeping with the season, as well as consider keeping your residents involved with any decisions on new menu options, so that you can better match their tastes.