Colour is often a well considered aspect of a care home’s design and colourful care homes are great for residents. Colour effects emotion, understanding and well being and we know that a colourful space can improve mood alongside dancing and singing. We provide colourful props, always ensuring there’s a choice within our lessons, leave props in the space to brighten it and wear a uniform that allows colours to stand out. Colour can also inspire memories by association.
Recently a few of us have used colour to theme entire Active Armchairs sessions and they’ve all been really successful. In this blog post, Jenny talks about how she’s used colour to enhance conversation in her Active Armchairs sessions.
Colourful Conversations in Active Armchairs
Written by Jenny, Level Three TRS Teacher and Active Armchairs Facilitator
I have been doing the theme of ‘Colours’ in my Active Armchairs session with my monthly homes: Hazelwood Care Home, Woodstock Care Home, Harpwood Care Home and Fairby Grange Care Home.
When I decided upon the theme colours, I wanted the theme to be the catalyst for some conversations to help me get to know the residents a little more. And my theme did exactly that. We talked about favourite colours, our favourite flowers and their colours which led to lots of conversations and memories about weddings, summer trips, gardening and visiting family. We also talked about different coloured fruits and this led to some lovely conversations about fruit picking when they were younger and the adventures that took place. It was lovely that the theme took us to some many different conversations and it was a joy to hear so many memories.
I found this theme a bit of a challenge coming up with songs about colours and some of my connections to the theme were a little far fetched, however I really enjoyed doing it as it pushed me out of my comfort zone in a way and challenged me to use music I hadn’t used before.
We started off with a wonderful song called ‘Colour my World’ by Petula Clark. I had not heard of this song before and neither had any of the participants in any of the care homes, but it captured all of us. It is an uplifting song with a good tempo and pace and this is how we started the sessions with the warm up.
Some of the other songs we did were ‘Build me up buttercup’ for Yellow with our flowers conversation, ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ with our egg shakers and ‘Heard it through the grape vine’ which came out of our conversation on fruit which led us to grapes on the ‘grapevine’. We used green, red, purple and black scarfs for this one to go with the colours of the grapes!
We also had a lovely moment when we danced to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ with my rainbow ribbon props. I love using this song as it also brings singing from the participants which always gives me a really warm feeling. I always use an opportunity in this song to have some little one to one moments with the residents dancing with them whilst they choose a movement with their ribbons and then I copy them. This again gave a lovely personal touch which is one of my favourite parts of my Active Armchairs sessions.
Across the four different homes, I played a few different games but my favourite was throwing the bean bags onto the same coloured spots. I had some different coloured magic spots on the floor and bean bags of matching colours. The residents had to throw the bean bags onto the corresponding colour. I also gave them a hula hoop to throw any colour of their choice in, which was a less challenging option for those that had limited range of motion. But I was so surprised by how many got the correct colours bang on the spots. This was great for their control and mobility and we had a few goes each so they could see if they could beat their best each time. This task also brought some laughter in the room.
I loved doing this theme, it helped me develop my skills as an Active Armchairs facilitator, brought lots of colourful conversations and was a joy to see the responses of the residents.