Methodist Homes Association (MHA) is a charity with over 75 years’ experience of delivering care and support for older people across the UK. They currently support over 18,500 people across their care homes and retirement communities, many of whom are living with dementia.
As well as delivering multiple ‘Thinking Differently About Dementia’ and ‘Time in Nature’ training sessions, we also developed an activity booklet with practical suggestions of how to connect and communicate with individuals with dementia and how to encourage engagement with nature through multi-sensory activities.
Rachel Powell, Manager of the MHA Community in Shifnal, Shropshire attended the training, and also had access to a further session where she was able to ask specific questions, in particular, how to overcome challenges presented by Covid-19 and social distancing.
“All of the training has been brilliant! I feel so empowered. I can now help family members who come to me, who need help supporting their Dad or their Mum with dementia. I have practical tools that I can now give away to others to help make their home life just that bit easier.”
She talks about the impact the training has had on the families she supports:
“I send monthly newsletters, with ideas on how to connect with nature, it might be bird spotting in your garden, or finding certain colours, or looking at patterns in snowflakes. I am getting so much more engagement now from my members”.
As well as supporting members of the community with dementia, both Rachel’s Husband and Father have dementia too.
“At home, particularly with Dad, we’ve seen some real changes that wouldn’t have happened without the training. Dad used to be a farmer, so following advice from the training, I’ve put his chair overlooking the fields, and bought him some farming magazines for us to look at together. Every day I bring him some nature from the outside. It puts a big smile on his face. He’s so much more alert and engaged now. He even initiates conversation which he wasn’t doing before.
“I feel so much more able to cope. The training has helped me see I am now doing the right things, and has empowered me to help my siblings to understand Dad and relate to him better too.”
We’re continuing to work with Rachel and MHA throughout 2021, across all their care settings.
David Moore, Dementia Lead at MHA says:
“Dementia Adventure has helped MHA realise the importance of green care and nature based activities for people living with dementia, their families and our staff. Their guidance and training has enabled us to provide residents opportunities to connect with nature, something that has become so important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dementia Adventure has also supported our homes to bring the outdoors in for those residents who are physically or emotionally unable to access outdoor space”.