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Quality of life

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A traditional problem in care homes has been a lack of stimulation for residents.

In care homes in Hampshire , a participatory arts programme is having a “powerful and positive effect” on residents, according to staff, something that is helping improve wellbeing and develop a sociable environment for them, their relatives and carers.

Performers from all over England take part in Hampshire CC’s Activehearts programme, which is run jointly by arts and adult services departments.

Artists and musicians visit care homes to perform for residents and encourage them to take part in creative activities. Events include mini-concerts from symphony orchestras, poetry workshops and music participation sessions. The scheme operates across 32 care homes, reaching around 1,500 residents and delivering 1,000 events a year.

As a regular visitor to the council’s care homes, Margaret Snaith (Con), executive member for recreation and heritage, has seen the value of the programme for herself.

“The residents come into the day room and their heads might be down. Then within five minutes of say, a musician starting to play, their heads go up and their fingers start to tap. It really cheers them up,” she says.

The scheme needs to have the support of care home staff because they must spend a lot of time and effort organising the activities.

Financial support is also essential in Hampshire this is£105,000 per year, which Cllr Snaith hopes will increase with the continued roll-out of the scheme.

But she says the time and money spent on the programme is worth it because residents are provided with arts-related activities they would not have had
access to.

“Hopefully the programme is addressing this and making them feel part of the real world again,” she says.

Find out more

Hampshire CC Steven Pugh, arts events officer.
Tel: 01962 847 018

See also within Best Practice

Help people keep their independence

Offer people personal budgets

Use technology to monitor risks

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