On Monday 28 August, many people across the UK will enjoy a long-awaited summer bank holiday. Introduced in 1871 and originally intended to allow bank staff a day off to watch or play cricket, the eagerly anticipated break will be a welcome change of pace at the end of what has undoubtedly been a busy summer for care homes.
As August draws to a close, it can be a good time to reflect on the summer and look ahead to autumn. This can mean an enjoyable mix of summer activities and useful planning tasks to help prepare for the rest of the year. Since so many people have the day off work, you will hopefully receive fewer emails, phone calls and general demands on your time. Leaving you and your staff freer to spend the day with your residents and working on different areas that need your attention.
While the bank holiday is only a few days away now, there is still time to organise a small get-together if you haven’t already done so. Send out some emails to residents’ families inviting them for afternoon tea in the garden. Order food, drink and supplies for a picnic and pick out some summer tunes to play to enhance the party atmosphere. You can use Care Vision to check that you have enough staff on duty to keep things safe and on track. For an even more informal event, invite people to drop in throughout the day to suit their own timetables and have food and drink on standby for when people arrive.
Late August is a good time for gardeners to prepare their beds, borders and blooms for the autumn months. Any residents who are keen and able to take part could be furnished with a pair of secateurs, for example, and supported in doing a spot of dead-heading of flowering plants. Weeding is another fairly gentle gardening task that people might like to do. Topping up bird baths with water and feeders with water and food is also enjoyable and will help attract birds to the garden right into September. Residents might also enjoy watching your team carry out other seasonal jobs, such as pruning shrubs, watering containers and feeding the soil, ready to support the autumn bulbs.
Decluttering for winter
Many people like to spend bank holidays getting ahead of jobs like decluttering their belongings or changing over to their autumn/winter wardrobes. If any of your residents are keen to do this, it can be a satisfying way to send a couple of hours. Help them go through their belongings to check for damage, or to see what they would like to keep or throw away/donate to charity. Often, this can help clear out cupboards and shelves in plenty of time for people to see what replacements they might need to buy – giving friends and family some great ideas for Christmas presents.
Bank holidays often trigger memories in older people of how previous high days and holidays were spent. From fun days at the beach to exciting sporting events; DIY sessions to lazy lie-ins and relaxing at home, there can be a huge amount of happy reminiscences wrapped up in these precious days away from normal routine. Encourage residents to create scrapbooks, make memory boxes or simply write down their recollections, either just for themselves or to share with others. Often, a tale of how one resident spent bank holidays as a child or young adult will spark off a memory in someone else, leading to a fascinating wider conversation.
Digital HR help
Sorting out staff holidays, leave of absence and more can be particularly challenging during the summer months. More people are booking holidays, which can require extended periods of time away from work. As September approaches, others may want time off to organise ‘back to school’ admin for their families, or to accompany children on their first day in a new class or educational setting. Using Care Vision to keep track of holiday requests, ensure adequate staff coverage and plan rotas that take holidays into account is the best way of managing this complex and often frustrating task. Not only can you plan and update rotas in real time, staff can log in to see when they are scheduled to work to help them plan around what they need to do.