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How do I help someone with Dementia? 

There are many ways to help someone with Dementia. Ensuring they feel calm and at ease is important. One way this is possible is with the Happiness Programme, which uses interactive light technology to create a sensory enviornment. In the videos below, you can see how they have been using the Happiness Programme to help people with dementia at The Kensington. 

We’re proud to be bringing you another incredible case study to add to our growing collection. In the first of two videos, we hear from Suzannah Bannister, Activity Co-ordinator at The Kensington, Bupa.

We spoke to Suzannah, along with two of her colleagues at The Kensington.


Surpassing expectations

The Kensington has subscribed to the Happiness Programme for over a year. We spoke to activity coordinator, George Papadopoullos, to see what his first impressions were:

“When we first received the Happiness Programme, we thought that it was specifically going to be used with residents living with dementia. We’ve actually found it exceptionally useful with bed-bound residents, but also for our brain injury and stroke effected residents too.”

He continues:

“What surprised me was that a lot of online activities don’t feel real, but with the magic table 360, you can touch and hear and that stimulates the senses and makes it very effective.”


Bringing culture into activity sessions

Suzannah Bannister, activity co-ordinator at The Kensington told us some incredible stories of resident experiences with the Happiness Programme:

“It’s really helped bed-bound patients to come out of their shell and allowed us to get to know the residents more. For example, one of our non-verbal residents was listening to the Radio game. He was able to move his hand, dance and sway along with me to the music, and this built up our personal rapport.”

She continues:

“The Irish and Welsh radios are great too! We have many residents from these countries and the music brings them to life. It’s bringing culture into our activities which is so important.”

Suzannah talks about using specific games as topics of conversation to really get to know residents:

“We use the magic table 360 games as conversation topics. For example, we often use Hot Air Balloons to talk about resident’s travels. It can be very relaxing to watch or interact with the hot air balloons.”

She carries on:

If the residents are in a more lively mood, then I put on Balloon Pop and they could do that for house because it is just so beautifully visual and it really does help.”

Suzanna tells us about a few different resident experiences:

‘Lucy, a non-verbal resident, loves Elvis and we didn’t know until we put on Elvis Radio and she started dancing and smiling.”

To finish off, she says:

“We have a person who suffers with blindness and even though she can’t see the games, she still sits and joins in with the conversations around the games. We can guide her hand movements so that she still gets to participate in the activities. It’s inclusive.”


Creating Connections

We also spoke to Adam Tallis, manager at The Kensington, who tells us why this has been vital to them during the pandemic:

“The Happiness Programme has been invaluable, beginning the programme during the pandemic has been great for us because it enabled us to interact more with our residents.”

He continues:

“On our dementia floor we have a few residents who are quite introverted. They aren’t very keen on partaking or getting involved with activities. However, throughout the last twelve months of having the Happiness Programme, it has encouraged them to participate a little bit more.”

Adam then goes on to speak about how the Happiness Programme has helped them to develop more person-centred care:

“It has allowed us to have more person-centred activity, which is really important. It’s great having activities, but if they don’t reach the individuals, then you’ve not achieved what you set out to do.”

He finishes:

“You’ve got residents who would possibly become list within an activities programme, and what this has enabled us to do, is create a connection.”


Not a member of the Happiness Programme? 

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 dementialearning 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. 


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