Organising group activities for older people, including those with dementia, is never easy. Artlink Central has developed a new product to support activity coordinators, care staff and volunteers to do just that.
Creating Conversations Activity Kit: Gardening was developed with the intended benefits of prompting reminiscence and supporting constructive conversation to engage with personal histories and build social connections in day care and residential care settings.
The group activity centres around the theme of gardening, which is broken down into eight topics including flowers, birds, animals & insects, an outing and the working garden. The activity kit can be used time and time again; the changing seasons will evoke different conversations. Even moving between running the sessions inside and outside is likely to promote different thoughts and feelings.
A beautifully crafted tablecloth is the centrepiece of the kit and users are supported with a handbook, activity cards and online resources. Designed to be engaging both for staff and service users, all materials are adaptable for a range of physical and social needs.
Working with the University of Stirling, Artlink Central wanted to assess Creating Conversations Activity Kit: Gardening to evaluate the benefits and learn how the activity kit could be improved. Artlink Central wanted to ensure that the activity kit they had developed would in fact deliver what it set out.
The evaluation project established that the activity kit had a variety of positive benefits, all of which were witnessed during the evaluation of the pilot. It was observed that the activity kit helped: increase confidence of service users involved; reduce anxiety; affirm identities; support positive social connections; and provide opportunities to engage in enjoyable and purposeful activities.
If you would like more information about Creating Conversations Activity Kit: Gardening (or to get your hands on an activity kit) please contact Kevin Harrison at Artlink Central – firstname.lastname@example.org . If you’re interested in further information about the evaluation project, please contact Dr Jane Robertson – email@example.com