Train Themed Octaband Activity
The following activity for the Octaband was offered in the January issue of The Sparkles Monthly Resource Pack in the context of train travel. Of course, in the UK, folks may have traveled via train more frequently than in the U.S. With permission, I offer the activities below and a link to their website:
Trains and railway travel will have played a huge part in the daily lives of residents. They will have many memories to share, from working on the railways to travelling from place to place.
To set the scene and stimulate a conversation read through pages 4, 8 and 9 in the January magazine. There are some great sound effects on the January CD (tracks 38 – 45) to play. There are also some large A4 visuals relating to train travel at www.dailysparkle.co.uk/ptjan16dlsh. Other triggers for memories are clips or footage easily found on the internet, and any railway related objects you can come across.
Questions to ask
How often did you travel by train? Why did you travel by train? When was this? Where did you go? What sort of trains were they? What were the carriages like? How did they sound? How did the ride feel? What were your fellow passengers like?
Have you ever gone by train on long journeys – perhaps to visit friends or relatives or to go on holiday? Where did you go? What was the journey like? How long did it take? What did you do? What did you see from the window of the train?
Did you or anyone you know ever work on the railways? What job did they do? What types of jobs were there? Did you live near a railway line? What was that like?
January Music and Movement
We’ve linked this month’s exercise idea to our railway theme. It is a good way to encourage some fun movement as well as plenty of joining in.
As with all these music and movement activities, be very flexible. If people just want to conduct, sway a little to the music, or just hum along, that is fine. But try to encourage as much physical participation as possible. This is a great activity in which to use an Octaband.
An Octaband is a brightly coloured, stretchy piece of fabric with eight (or sixteen) legs and loops on the end of each leg for easy holding. It has been designed to stimulate and engage people with dementia to interact with each other. It is perfect for moving in time to the music. You can find much more information about it at www.octaband.com .
Comfortable chairs placed in a circle.
You will need
- January CD and a CD player
- an Octaband
- whistles and flags may also be useful
What to do
Pass the Octaband legs around the group until you have formed a complete circle. Make sure everyone is comfortable holding the legs. Then slowly and gently accustom the group to moving together. Start with smaller individual movements, for example, swaying from side to side, shaking, raising or lowering arms, and stretching the material in different ways.
Introduce the music, all on a train theme, and encourage movements in response to it and the remembered movement of a steam train. It is important that as leader of the session you join in as well, as you will find that movements you do will be mirrored back to you by the rest of the group. Watch for any individual’s spontaneous actions and copy these movements. They will then be incorporated into the group ‘dance’.
Sometimes not everyone will want to join in – it might be enough for someone to sit back and watch or close their eyes and just listen. Perhaps someone would prefer to to be a ‘station master’ with a flag to wave and a whistle to blow.