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'Life Skills' nursery station to enhance Rainycrest's dementia care programming

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Long-term care communities are always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for their residents. “Life Skills” stations offer an opportunity to engage those who face the daily challenges of an Alzheimer's or dementia diagnosis.

A relatively new concept in long-term care homes, these interactive stations are designed to spark the memories that recreate familiar situations from the past, such as an office space, laundry room or a baby nursery.

Stations are purposefully designed to spark long-term memories, encourage residents to remain active, create moments of happiness, and aid caregivers in learning more about each resident.

The Life Skills station idea was brought forward to Riverside Health Care by the Responsive Behaviours Committee at Rainycrest. Members include the home's nurse practitioner and Psycho Geriatric Resource Team, along with nursing and activation staff.

This project idea was also well-received and endorsed by staff providing daily care to Rainycrest residents.

Now, the home is in the process of finalizing the installation of their first Life Skills station—a baby nursery—within the Special Care Unit.

“We have had success using baby dolls with residents and we wanted to take it to the next level,” a Rainycrest representative said.

The Life Skills nursery station is meant to create simple moments of joy for residents. It is being designed to be interactive—encouraging residents to touch, feel, use and share the items that make up the nursery.

It will allow residents space and engagement opportunities throughout their day. Life Skills nurseries provide a particularly meaningful activity for many residents.

They allow one to reconnect with their parental instincts and memories of caring for children.

In this way, Life Skills stations encourage residents' minds to focus on experiences from earlier times in their lives, improving their demeanour as they gain a sense of purpose through the familiar activities.

Life Skills stations have a proven track record of offering unique benefits to residents including improved health, recollection, communication and relationship building with caregivers and family members. With today's focus of “person-centered care,” these also help caregivers better understand residents, and develop more specialized care for that individual.

Rainycrest is currently seeking assistance from the community to help in enhancing their dementia care programming for their Life Skills nursery station.

They are in need of nursery-style items such as a crib, rocking chairs, newborn-size clothing and cloth diapers, baby linens and nursery décor. Any questions or scheduling of donation can be directed to Heather Hudson in Activation at 274-3261 ext. 2543 to arrange all donation drop-offs and/or pick up if required.

All items must be approved prior to donation with Rainycrest's activation staff.

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