For a person to feel safe, happy and loved in your care home then that feeling of safety, happiness and love needs to be familiar, it needs to be a habit.

Regardless of whether or not the person suffers with Alzheimer’s, the deeper levels of the brain are very astute at always developing new habits and understandings on a sub-conscious level. Therefore if daily life in your home is one filled with pleasant experiences, then over time that lady or gentleman will feel, subconsciously, happy.

So what creates this long-term wellbeing? How do we as a workforce develop a habit of joy for our residents?

As the old saying goes – it’s the little things in life that make a big difference.

Aria EMI Care Home Newport
How we communicate with people, even on the most trivial of subjects can plant the seeds for our long-term relationship with that person (in this case our residents).

In their superb book MindGym, Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black explain how you can positively (and negatively) influence your relationships future by the tiniest of micro signals you send out each day.

Research discussed in the book showed an astonishing success rate for psychologists in predicting the likelihood of divorce in married couples solely from a 15 minute observation of them talking with each other. A success rate of 94%.

What was the factor in achieving those results? It wasn’t anything obvious, but rather the tiny signals given out by the manner in which one partner responded to the other. Whether it’s the tone of voice, choice of words, attentiveness, roll of the eyes, a sigh or body language, those little intricacies ultimately determined the future of that relationship.

In essence, how a carer responds to a resident can have either a positive or disastrous effect on the long-term relationship. Speaking with a tone of frustration or dismissiveness can plant a negative seed in the residents’ sub conscious about the carer and the home. Never underestimate the brain’s ability to retain information.

But should a resident ask a carer for a cup of coffee, a smile and a gentle arm on the shoulder followed by ‘of course, let me go boil the kettle,’ can create a sense of reassurance, safety and positivity with the people around them. Continued over time, a memory habit can form where the resident feels happy in the care home that they’re in.

Aria EMI Care Home NewportCreating a positive familiarity is essential to a resident’s long-term happiness and wellbeing, especially if they suffer with dementia. Dare I say, it is more important than the daily ‘activities’ so often seen as core to a care home.

Without being happy in the home itself, how can you reasonably expect a resident to want to participate in any of the offerings your care home may offer? How do you expect them to enjoy life if they don’t enjoy the company of those around them?

It is all the little things that add up to create a successful atmosphere for your residents to thrive in. While offering the world of activities and opportunities is crucial for their stimulation and quality of life, they need to have positive relationships first and foremost.

As human beings, we all have a need for security in order to build a successful relationship. If the fate of young married couples can be predicted on how a husband answers his wife’s offer of a cup of coffee, the happiness of a resident can come down to how kindly your team member answers their concerns.

When we feel good in someone’s company, we behave positively. If our boss is good to us, we work better. If our spouse shows us affections, we return in kind.

Be aware and considerate with your words and actions. Every single last one of them. They are the very foundation of relationships.