We are all aware that life is suddenly very different for everyone because of the coronavirus pandemic. CLDT support is only allowed for essential visits. Also, some homes are further restricting visits from outside. We understand that these restrictions disrupt people’s daily routines. We also recognise that this can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing.
We all like to have a routine in our lives. For people with learning disabilities or on the Autistic Spectrum, use routines to help them understand events in their day. Routines add predictability, which is reassuring. Use the following suggestions to engage individuals proactively and maintain some sort of routine:
- If you don’t already have a daily routine, develop one. You should be able to communicate the routine clearly to the individual. Routines provide structure and purpose, adding rhythm to the day. A timetable such as a daily or hourly planner can be of great help. You can fill out the calendars using symbols or photographs. Some examples are attached.
- Allow individuals to choose from a range of activities. Please find attached an example of a choice communication board. Refer to any Speech and Language Therapy guideline to identify the most appropriate communication methods.
- Look for a mix of activities that provide a balance between active and sedentary life.
- Think of essential individual activities. What are their characteristics? Can you adapt them for the home? For example, instead of an exercise class, online strength or balanced routine, purchase a fitness DVD or follow a yoga routine.
- Set daily goals to give people purpose and a sense of achievement.
- Help people to communicate with family, friends and important people in their lives. You can use technology to facilitate communication—for example, Skype and other communications apps.
- Take regular breaks and eat healthy. Incorporate fruit, vegetables, and water into the diet to help boost the immune system and maintain energy levels.
- Avoid being stationary for too long. Exercise and regular movement will help maintain concentration, burn off excess energy, and prevent stiffness and pain. The movement will benefit those with underlying joint and muscular conditions the most. Contact your CLDT physiotherapist if you need further advice regarding individuals with mobility concerns.
- Adhere to a good sleep routine. If you struggle fall asleep, avoid tea and coffee in the late afternoon and evening. Also, take a bath, use blackout curtains, listen to gentle music or carry out deep breathing exercises. There are apps that offer calming sounds or provide visual aids to support deep breathing exercises.
- Study professional reports (particularly from the field of Occupational Therapy) to refresh your ideas about appropriate activities. These research findings are particularly crucial for those with recognised sensory needs.
- Use the internet as an excellent resource to search for ideas for new activities. Pinterest has many suggestions for art and craft activities, garden games, and indoor activities, among others.
Suggestions For Kitchen-Related Activities
- Pizza or bread making.
- Mixing and kneading dough.
- Cake and biscuit making.
- Decorating ready-made cakes or biscuits with icing and sprinkles.
- Helping with vegetable preparation.
- Making smoothies by peeling fruit and chopping soft fruit. Either use a blender or manually mash the fruit.
- Simple meal or snack preparation using visual guides. Encourage hand-over-hand support if appropriate.
Suggestions For Entertainment-Related Activities
- Pamper sessions: Groom hair and nails. Use self-selected creams for a hand massage, foot spa, massage rollers or vibrating massagers.
- Have an afternoon tea party with the people you live with.
- Enjoy an in house disco or party. Use special light bulbs that replicate disco lights.
- Have a cinema evening with popcorn or snacks.
- In house bingo session.
- Online yoga or music with movement sessions and in-house exercises.
- Play interactive games via Wii or Switch. Examples of great interactive games are bowling or tennis.
Suggestions For Tabletop Activities
- Scratch Art.
- Etch A Sketch.
- Making paper aeroplanes and have races.
- Reading, being read to, looking at picture books or magazines.
Suggestions For Games
- Matching games.
- Snap or card games.
- Board games.
- Connect 4.
Suggestions For Outdoor Activities
Current government guidelines are very clear about the benefits of:
- Walking around a set route.
- Walking in the woods or park.
- Feeding wild birds and take photos or keep a record of the birds that visit the garden.
- Walking or exercising in the garden.
- Using outdoor exercise equipment in the garden.
- Helping with gardening activities such as planting, digging, and sweeping, among others.
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