Supported holidays for service users are an important part of our summer activities. These special times offer many well-being benefits, some of which are highlighted below.
Planning and decision-making
We support our service users to decide where they would like to go on holiday, and who they would like to go with. Some form close bonds with fellow residents and welcome the opportunity to go on holiday with them.
Some individuals choose to return to their favourite places because of happy memories of previous holidays. One of our service users is going to Greece on holiday later this year.
UK destinations such as Hemsby or Great Yarmouth in Norfolk or Skegness in Lincolnshire are popular choices. The resorts on the East coast of England offer many traditional seaside holiday activities and they are easily accessible from our homes in Northampton. Alternatively, some individuals choose a caravan holiday or weekend break in a holiday park closer to home, and some visit their families further afield.
Preparing to go on holiday and planning holiday activities can also help with a range of cognitive skills such as memory, information processing, strategic thinking and complex tasks. These activities can form the basis of psychology sessions as well as being an integral part of each individual’s daily therapy.
Connecting with family
Some of our service users go on holiday to visit friends and family. They are supported by their key worker and an additional activity support worker, both while travelling and on holiday. These trips include destinations such as Brighton, The Channel Islands, Ireland and Serbia. They provide opportunities for service users to re-connect with families and friends, spending valuable time with them in a familiar environment, while being supported by our care staff.
In addition, these visits give families and friends the opportunity to see how their loved ones are. This is especially important if they live some distance away and/or are unable to travel to see their loved one.
A change of scenery
Although structure and routine are important for many of our service users, a change of scenery is also welcome. New experiences can help to stimulate the brain and cause the release of dopamine – ‘ the feel-good hormone’, re-energising and boosting mood.
Enjoying plenty of fresh air and the sensations of being by the seaside can also improve well-being. These may be the salty air, the calming sound of the waves, feeling the cold water and sand beneath your feet or the taste of fish and chips eaten on the beach!
An annual holiday is a priority for many people and because someone is living in a residential service, it shouldn’t mean that they can’t go on holiday if they want to. At Richardson Care, we believe that service users should have the same opportunities to live normal lives as much as possible.
In many cases, when service users are admitted to Richardson Care, they haven’t been on holiday for years, if at all. We always aim to include a holiday and/or supported home visits in an individual’s care plan, if this is something that they would like to do. As we have been arranging holidays for service users for over 30 years, we have built up excellent relationships with holiday venues that are able to support people with complex needs. Our experience has shown us that these holidays are not only possible, but very beneficial, to our service users and we will always aim to support them to go on holiday.
For those service users who do not wish to go on holiday, there are plenty of day trips to give them new and interesting experiences. For example: Peterborough Cathedral, Whipsnade Zoo, Sywell Air Show and Hunstanton beach, as well as cinema and shopping trips, lunches out, etc.