It’s easy to take for granted the freedom many of us enjoy when we spend time away from our homes. Whether hopping in the car to the seaside, taking public transport to the shops, or going for a stroll in the park, it’s an opportunity for a change of scenery, physical exercise, and a mental health boost.
That freedom doesn’t need to change when you or your loved one moves into a nursing home. You can still enjoy time outside the home, socialising with other residents or visiting friends and family.
And as part of our new summer of well-being initiative, we’re putting extra focus on the activities we offer outside Fulford — both inside the grounds of the home and further afield.
In this short blog post, we explain why external activities matter to the well-being of nursing home residents and share how we’ve been improving well-being outside of the home this summer (with a little help from our local community).
Note: This is the second of a two-part blog post. Part one covers our well-being activities inside the home. You can read that here.
Why are outside activities important for nursing home residents?
Regularly leaving the nursing home to socialise, explore, and learn can have many health benefits for residents.
For starters, if a resident is having difficulty sleeping, it’s often a good idea to get them out into bright, natural light during the day. This can help restore their body’s natural circadian rhythm, improving their night’s sleep.
Meanwhile, gardening can have several physical benefits, including light exercise and improving dexterity skills (through potting, planting, weeding, digging, etc.).
For residents living with dementia, gardening can be an incredibly calming activity, while spending time outdoors, in general, is a great sensory experience. Smelling flowers, tasting herbs, hearing the birds sing, and feeling the soil between their fingers can help residents connect with their surroundings and bring peace and tranquillity to their lives.
And finally, there’s a mental health component to getting outside. The fresh air and exercise can help reduce stress and improve self-esteem, while the shared experiences can help residents form stronger bonds with one another.
How are we improving well-being outside Fulford this summer (and beyond)?
Here at Fulford, well-being is every bit as important as the nursing care we provide. To that end, we have a well-being coordinator in-house to keep residents informed of our social calendar.
No one is forced out of their comfort zone, but we gently encourage all residents to participate in outdoor activities where possible. The coordinator gathers information on the resident (their likes, dislikes, physical capabilities, and risk assessments) and gauges whether they’d like to go out or not. If they’re keen to get involved, we’re with them every step of the way to make that happen.
From gardening to walking and exercise classes, there’s plenty on offer within the grounds of the home. But we’re also trying to introduce more creative and exciting ways to get our residents safely outside. To do this, we’ve broken things into two broad categories: activities and engagements.
Activities include day trips, like our recent river cruise, while engagements are more community-focused. This is because one of the goals of our well-being plan was to ensure that our residents have positive interactions with the wider Fulford community. For example, this led to amazing local volunteers offering rickshaw rides, much to the delight of our residents.
Learn more about Fulford’s summer of well-being
We’re working hard to positively transform our residents’ well-being here at Fulford. By following our core values of kindness, empathy, dignity, integrity, respect, and trust, our external activities and community engagement are already making a difference — and we expect that to continue throughout the summer and beyond.
If you’d like to learn more about Fulford’s well-being programme (or if you’re a local volunteer looking to get involved), please contact us on 01904 654 269. We’re ready to listen and happy to help.