top of page

Person Centered Activities

What are person centered activities?


The dictionary definition of the word “activities” includes synonyms – activeness, animation, life and liveliness, entertainment, hobby, spirit, and vitality.


These words all describe things you would hope and pray for your loved one to have despite moving into residential care and this is why activities are paramount. There is a need for those in care to retain, regain and even develop new skills in order to continue having a good quality of life. The “quality” of care in a care home should be based on how residents feel and the quality of their lives, not just the food and décor.

Activities can be anything which is enriching, purposeful and beneficial to the resident. Activities are different for everyone. We all have different hobbies, likes and dislikes. Nurtured people can live full and enriched lives which include fun, laughter and purposeful activity.



How has increased activities at Donnington House benefitted the residents?

Art Therapy

In 2017, a second Activities Co-ordinator was employed so that residents could have the opportunity to enjoy increased person centred and group activities 7 days a week as opposed to 4 days a week.


 This has resulted in a benefitting the residents with an increased fluidity of one to one attention which is more consistent. It has also meant that art therapy is now part of our daily practice.

Art therapy is a relaxing form of gentle non invasive psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Within this context, art is not used as diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing. It also provides a good distraction.


Weekly gathering at our new crafting table in the communal space has been positive and well received as well as creative games and conversation through in house gatherings such as the ‘ladies coffee morning’.


Residents have actively contributed to Christmas Cards making, decorations for Halloween, our Christmas Market, Royal Wedding festivities, sporting events, Macmillan fundraiser mornings and more. The crafting table has been empowering and also recognises the creative and business skills of residents as well as making them feel like a ‘family’.

Live Music from around the world

We currently work with over 31 local entertainers, lecturers, musicians, magicians, pet therapy groups and local volunteers to ensure a diverse, entertaining and stimulating weekly diary for our residents.


We have everything from Mexican Harp playing, accordions, classical piano, vintage old time singing, Ukulele bands, relaxing Indian instrument sessions, Baritone singers, Operatic afternoons, local choirs, quizzes and more.


Our dedicated in-house activity co-ordinators are trained in fine art, crafts, beauty, massage and holistic therapies just to mention a few.

Pet Therapy

We have a one to one volunteer pet therapist who visits us. Our residents will have the chance to touch, hold, and interact with a wide variety of animals and learn new interesting facts.  

Educational Lectures

Every few months we also have educational lectures about art, creativity, the Royal family, life in 1969, the RAF, Remembrance Day to name just a few.


We have a local hairdresser that comes in every Wednesday. We also undertake nail care and polish, massage and more.

Interactive, sensory and technology

Residents also enjoy daily relaxing music and we have increased our music provisions by investing in a record player. This is played at lunch times. We have purchased three portable plug in CD and tape players this year for the rooms so that everyone has the access to music. 

Other benefits include our daily interactions and increased inter active resources. We now have a mobile book and audiobook library which we take around the rooms. Residents have access to a free book swap. On the trolley we have a range of magazines, games and puzzles as well as our own magazine subscription to ‘Focus’ a magazine which features everyday science, the amazing breakthroughs affecting our future, new technologies and space exploration. Contributions are from leading academics and popular scientists.

This year we invested in hand held buzzers with animal sounds and a whiteboard. This was a two part strategy to do with staff wellbeing and an opportunity for staff and residents to collaborate competitively via games such as ‘Hangman’. It’s well-loved, energetic, noisy and creates lots of laughter. Everyone is involved in all the departments and there are also prizes. We have an ongoing domino challenge and the scores are also put on the whiteboard. Jigsaw puzzling was also positively received after buying laser cut shaped puzzles and setting challenges for staff to answer clues about resident’s life in order to complete the puzzle.

The internet is also being utilised as an additional activity. We use online facilities for reminiscence, Google street view, poetry, bible verse, prayer, stories and song lyric printing. Many more positive and result focused ideas have been instigated over the last year such as using more technology, Virtual reality headsets, increased diverse entertainment such as Indian dancing and the redevelopment of our notice boards.


We now have two notice boards in the communal space and have streamlined all the events and entertainment calendar into colourful eye catching A4 posters for residents as well as family and friends. Creative and craft ‘a’ noon activities have tripled and are a regular event on the calendar as well as a volunteer West Sussex Libraries reading friend, a regular volunteer pianist, more pet therapy and more creative educational lectures.

Visual Independence & Merlin

Each day residents now have access to the Merlin LCD viewer.  Merlin is a flexible desktop magnifier that allows you to pivot and adjust the screen for you most comfortable viewing position. Merlin’s Split screen mode lets you view magnified images and can accommodate peripheral or eccentric viewing. The Merlin lets people with low vision, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and cataracts read write and regain their visual independence.

Staff Training

We have also implemented more training for staff regarding activities. We have been working with ‘Alive’ and this has given other staff insights in to the role as well as confidence to also consider how they might also undertake activities. Alive is one of the leading practitioners in the UK of meaningful activity for older people in care. They provide fun and dynamic activity sessions to encourage creativity, celebrate life stories and get the circulation going. Alive training enables staff to enrich the lives of older people - putting wellbeing at the heart of care through activities that foster closer relationships and happy environments.


Our most meaningful activity however and the one with the  greatest impact is simply by ‘being there’ and engaging with our residents over a longer period of time such as a sit down and a cup of tea. Most residents long for a good conversation and company as well as someone to pay attention to them.

Any wellbeing, faith / holistic issues that arise regarding insecurities or anxieties are followed up much faster due to more staff awareness. This is really important when it comes to one to ones and especially in the settling in period when residents are at their most vulnerable.

bottom of page