At New Friends our Vibrant Life Activity philosophy is what separates us from other organizations. We believe that all people can continue to lead full and vibrant lives, despite any physical or cognitive limitation. A person’s whole life is an activity – not just group activities for everyone – and that is why every minute is considered activity for those at New Friends. To implement our philosophy, we focus on two key ingredients: having meaningful relationships and stimulating activities.
We create a personal activity plan for each person at New Friends. We believe that not only are small and large group activity important parts of a person’s personal plan, but that individual activities or one on one with staff are equally important. But the most important activities are the minutes in between each activity. It’s just your life! That’s why each Carefriend at New Friends is trained to help make a person’s life vibrant be their first priority, and the personal care task they may need to do, next.
As dementia progresses, people with significant memory loss can find it difficult to concentrate for any length of time. Battling boredom and finding ways to stay meaningfully engaged with life can be a daily challenge. We do this by:
Completing a Vibrant Life Enhancement Plan,based on the person’s life story—finding what he or she loved to do; as a child, a teenager, a young adult, a mature adult, in later years and now.
Identifying the right level of engagement that will help the person to do what he or she loved to do, or might be interested in doing now.
Creating opportunities for the person to participate in the activity with someone they love being with.
Pacing the environment between fun, interactive periods to eliminate boredom—and calming, familiar, comfortable activities that reduce anxiety and promote optimal wellbeing.
Enjoying the arts. his can be connecting an activity to a widely known painting or making art together in a small group activity. It may be reading aloud, reciting poetry, watching the experience or just being an armchair
The power of music. We believe music is good for the soul of all of us, but especially those with dementia. We weave music into as many of our individual and group activities as possible.
Promoting meaningful movement/exercise. We believe in keeping people moving and provide activities that involve meaningful movement on a daily basis, such as: stretching, walking, chair exercise, and active games that promote movement.
Using all of the senses. Taste, touch, smell, hearing and seeing—all important when promoting stimulating activity. For example, we can capture all of the senses in a group baking activity —or encouraging someone to be the “official taster” after it comes out of the oven.
Engaging the spirit and spirituality: We believe that spirituality and dementia can co-exist; often through music, the aroma of beautiful flowers, reading scripture, or encouraging familiar religious and spiritual traditions.