Promoting Mental Wellbeing in Residential Care

As we mark the anniversary of the beginning of the first lockdown, it’s safe to say we have all found the last year difficult. For those living in residential care, the high prevalence of the virus in the care setting may be causing added strain and has put further pressure on short and long term mental wellbeing.

A recent survey of care home residents reported that residents were experiencing:
Grief, fear and confusion about change to routine
Stress and anxiety
Uncertainty and fear
Missing family and friends
The negative impact of staff wearing PPE.

An evidence-based research paper published by the New Economics Foundation in 2008 suggested five core actions we can do proactively to improve mental health and wellbeing, the “Five Ways to Wellbeing”

Connect: Stay in touch with friends, family, neighbours; be there for others, build strong meaningful relationships. It’s ok to ask for help.

Keep Learning: Be curious and seek out new experience and learn new techniques to help you cope. Find the time to ask questions and learn from your service users and colleagues.

Be Active: Do regular physical activity whether that’s going for a walk, yoga or an online fitness video. It’s tough when you are busy and while gyms are closed during the lockdown, but doing some activity makes you feel good.

Give: Working in the care sector requires an enormous amount of kindness. Take a step back and appreciate yourself for the work you are doing.

Take Notice: Sometimes we are just too busy to notice and be mindful of our surroundings; take time to appreciate the world around you and appreciate yourself!

Good mental wellbeing doesn’t mean you will never have a difficult day or find situations hard. But it does mean that you will have the tools to cope better with those tough times.
What can you do to look after yourselves?
Based on the research mentioned about the following are actions that you can take to take care of your mental health during and after lockdown.

Maintain connected to family and friends
Keep smiling and talking about how you are feeling
It is ok to feel anxious and worried
Be kind and patient with yourself and each other
Avoid continuously watching the news
Learn how to relax and be mindful of your surroundings
Take notice of the things around you
Sleep and eat regular health meals
Keep yourself active and participate in activities

There is Strength in Asking for Help
Every Mind Matters
This site provides expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Samaritans
Support provided 24/7, whenever you need to talk.
Call 116 123 FREE or Email [email protected] You can even write a letter. The process of writing itself may be helpful.
https://www.samaritans.org/

Mind
Mind provides information and support for those suffering from poor mental health.
https://www.mind.org.uk/

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