Keeping hands busy fends off agitation, increases residents’ appetite: LEC

Finger-painting on an iPad and potato-peeling are among activities that are helping West Lake residents most

West Lake Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Janie Denard says programming aimed at enhancing quality of life for residents affected by cognitive impairment is not only preventing agitation, it’s also increasing appetites.

Life enrichment aide Josh Thompson has been working with residents on a finger-painting program using an iPad app called Finger Paint. Josh is able to get the residents to finger-paint using the app, which plays music in tune to the motions.

“Josh has had really great success with that, and what we’re finding is that when he is engaging the residents just before lunch, they’re actually eating better,” Janie tells The OMNIway.

The Prince Edward County long-term care home is in the process of creating a Montessori room, which is already being used. Josh will often take a group of residents to the room for sensory programming. He’ll have one resident using the iPad and other residents colouring pictures.

“It’s a nice little sensory group that he gets going, and he has noticed that on the days when he does those sensory activities with them they’re eating better.” Janie says.

These activities can be both scheduled or used as interventions.

The home also recently bought an iPod shuffle, so music has been added to West Lake Terrace’s Montessori toolkit, Janie adds.

Another popular program the home offers residents with cognitive impairment is potato-peeling. A group of residents meets about three times a week to help kitchen staff with potato-peeling and prepping vegetables for soup.

“The residents will gather a small group, and it hits all functional levels,” Janie says. “You might have a resident who cannot peel a potato but can hold the potato in their hand and is involved in the conversations and the stimulation that’s around them.”

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