Lockdown 101: Working One-to-One

In our Autumn competition, we asked you what imaginative ways you have been carrying out your important work during lockdown. Covid has presented an extremely challenging situation to everyone in care homes, so we were keen to find out what activities you have been doing, how you have helped residents keep in touch with their loved ones, and what advice you would give to a carer or activity coordinator facing another lockdown.

We were bowled over by the response we had to this competition. The effort and creativity you have all been putting in to supporting your residents and co-workers during this time is truly incredible! The variety of entries was so good we’ve compiled them into sets of tips and ideas here. This week: Working One-to-One.


Activity packs to keep in individuals’ rooms have been a big success. These might include word searches, crosswords, colouring pages, short stories, reminiscence pages, poetry, prayers, inspirational quotes, and Getting to Know You Bingo. You can tailor each resident’s pack to meet their unique needs – perfect person-centred care.

A mobile activities trolley with a fold-out table and a variety of games and activities is a great idea too. At Woodstock Care Home they call it their Jolly Trolley, which we love!

1-2-1 time is the perfect opportunity to focus on the individual resident’s wellbeing. Think about playing some sensory music in their room, or using essential oils to evoke memories – you could even do a hand massage followed by a manicure.

You could also try some of these other brilliant ideas: practice mindfulness together, bring in a pet for them to stroke and cuddle, do some armchair exercises, use tools like Interactive Me to look at family photos, listen to their favourite songs, assist residents to sort out their rooms (for example, dusting, folding and mending clothing), use an Air Swimmer to provide a really magical moment for a resident, or just simply be there for residents during these hard times.

“After four months of lockdown, residents and families began to become despondent not being able to hug their loved ones. A FaceTime rota became an everyday activity. For one of our relatives, this just wasn’t enough. Her needs were as important as her husband’s, who lived within Sunrise. Normally she would visit twice a day and enjoy Sunday Lunch here. The team picked up on her sadness and we decided to do something special. So we arranged the nearest thing we could do to a real visit. Glad rags on, hair done and a 3-course meal with wine sent to the ladie’s house while her husband enjoyed his over a FaceTime interaction. Quite a moving scene.”
Geraldine Bunning, Sunrise Tettenhall

Getting creative is really well suited to individual or one-to-one settings. Try origami, knitting and crochet, drawing and colouring, aqua painting, and simple craft activities such as finger painting.

It’s especially nice if all the residents can contribute to a group project such as model aeroplanes, boats and cars for the gentlemen, flower arranging, making themed items like paper Christmas wreaths or Christmas decorations, Valentine’s Cards or Easter bonnets.
Bringing the outdoors in is another brilliant activity – try potting up hanging baskets, or making herb trays so that residents can have sensory smells in their rooms.

Print pictures of all your residents, or all the members of a resident’s family and make a collage in each person’s room. This will help them feel connected and provide a great talking point for staff.

Reminiscence has also continued to be popular – use local history photographs to share memories, or use the Daily and Weekly Sparkle to prompt conversations. Don’t forget the power of memory boxes, and think about discussion topics that could prompt reminiscence. For example, at Newstead House they asked their residents what advice they would give to the younger generation.

“We celebrated VE Day with reminiscing talks and activity packs delivered to residents.”
Fiona Knight, Burlington Hall

Lots of you also recommended keeping things as normal as possible for your residents. Some lovely activities could include tea, coffee and cake at the weekend while discussing the newspaper, doing jigsaws, reading psalms, listening to music, playing games like Dominoes or Connect 4, doing crosswords, word searches or sudoku together, listening to podcasts or audiobooks.