Leonora House, a London-based Octavia Housing home, have been members of the Happiness Programme for over a year now. We had a great conversation with Pooja Gosavi, activity and volunteer manager at Leonora House to find out how the Happiness Programme has been helping her residents.
Pooja began by speaking about how the Happiness Programme has been incorporated into daily life at Leonora House:
“We mainly support residents who are living with cognitive and physical challenges. We’ve noticed that it has greatly and positively impacted the mental, physical and psychological wellbeing of our residents. They have become more sociable, more independent and have begun to enjoy life a little more.”
She also speaks about how this has helped the staff:
“It helps free up a lot of time for the staff to go and do other things. For example, residents who are able to come down into the lounge to play with the magic table 360 are out of their rooms. This then gives us the opportunity to clean and do what we need to do.”
Pooja had some great stories to share about her residents and the Happiness Programme:
” One of our residents had suffered from a stroke, and I must say, the improvements that I have seen in his cognitive abilities, sensory awareness and motor skills have been marvellous. He loves the Happiness Programme so much that he makes the effort to come into the lounge. He loves puzzles and really enjoys the Proverbs game, which helps his cognitive ability. Now he tries to see how many proverbs he is getting right each day. It’s a huge morale booster for him and he feels so elated.”
She continues, speaking about another resident:
“We have one resident whose sister will come to visit from quite far away. Sometimes he will then go back to stay with her and the family for a little while. On their most recent visit, he refused to go as he wanted to be with his friends at Leonora House to play their magic table games. He did not want to celebrate his birthday back home because he didn’t want to miss out on Happiness Programme sessions.”
Finally, she speaks about what her residents enjoy the most:
“We have some residents who are bed-bound, so we take the Happiness Programme up to their flats and project the games onto their beds. One resident, who would rarely show engagement, was smiling so wide at the Ripples game. It was amazing to see, especially from someone we had struggled to get engagement from. We also find that Piggy Bank is a hot take with everyone and it gets very competitive. You should see the excitement and enthusiasm!”
We also asked Pooja what it was like working with our team, and how this collaboration between Social-Ability staff and care workers is vital in ensuring that the best level of care is provided:
“For a carer, what is more important than seeing the smiles on the faces of your residents? The main aim of Social-Ability is to reach out to the elderly and improve the quality of their lives. This can only happen when you’re taking on board suggestions, and Social-Ability is doing a fantastic job of that. Not only are you listening, but you’re acting on it. I’m hoping to get this into all of our Octavia services because I can see the benefits it’s having not only on our residents, but also on our staff.”
She finishes with some advice:
“I encourage as many residents, staff and family members to be a part of this. True to its word, it does spread happiness for everyone. Be innovative and creative with it . Take the Social-Ability teams’ advice and tips in the regular emails that they send out. You’ll see the benefits on the mental, psychological and social wellbeing, and of course, happiness all round.”
The Happiness Programme is a first-of-its-kind initiative helping to change the lives of people living with cognitive challenges. We use interactive light technology to provide meaningful activities for residents and patients in care homes and care settings. For more detail on what the Happiness Programme is and how it’s helping care venues across the UK, visit our getting started page.
Alternatively, jump to our dementia, learning disability and NHS pages for more specific detail on how it’s helping care homes like Barchester and HC-One as well as hospitals and local authorities such as St George’s Hospital, London and Westminster and South Kensington Council.
For anything else, you can contact us here too.