I just wanted to give a brief update of what we have been doing with our 'Dementia Cafe' and 'Friendship Group' over recent weeks, since lockdown began.
As it seems it is going to be some time before we can physically meet again, colleagues decided to look into on-line 'Zoom' meetings so that virtual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy sessions could be offered to clients and supporters.
We've been running two sessions a week for about a month now and, with some fine tuning, things are going really well and participants seem to be enjoying a bit of social contact and stimulation. The sessions are highly valued, as evidenced by our returning members.
The outline of each session is as follows:
- Introductions (maybe with an item of sharing, for example showing a family photo or introducing a pet)
- How are you? / Brief catch up with the week's news, by way of orientation
- Themed picture and music quiz - 25 questions and 5 songs (with reminiscences and story telling included)
- Scores and virtual refreshments and prizes (it's just for fun!)
- Planning for next week and 'Thanks' and 'Goodbyes'.
We have about ten members and their supporters joining each session. A few clients are able to use the tech independently, but more need a bit of support to get started.
As for 'Zoom', it's free for 40 mins. But our NHS Trust has purchased the full application.
With a bit of practice, we have learned how to save pictures onto the desktop of the facilitator's computer and then change the background image as we progress through the pictures and questions. We have yet to figure out how to share a YouTube video screen, rather than hold a phone up to the microphone to play the music, but there is a way of doing this. Hopefully, by next week this will be sorted.
Colleagues are planning to offer additional sessions, for example 'Thai Chi', and a local 'Dementia Choir' already has an on-line group up and running.
I will keep publishing the 'CST Activities Pages' we use each week, so you can borrow from them if you wish to take a similar step into the virtual world. And of course, clients and supporters wherever they are can use the materials at home. If in a formal care setting, printing off the questions and pictures can be useful, especially for writing answers and scoring papers.
Anyway, that's it for now. These are difficult times I know, but keep smiling and stay safe.