Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give

Using the Five Ways to Wellbeing to understand the positive potentials of everyday activites in care homes.

BESiDE's aim is to understand how the built environment in care homes can facilitate physical ability and wellbeing.   We needed to focus our observation study in a way which allows us to highlight times the building affords or hinders opportunities for wellbeing. We ask:

What are the opportunities for the wellbeing of older people to be supported by the care home building?

Wellbeing is a contentious term and can be understood in many ways because of its holistic nature.  There are many different frameworks and measures for understanding it with different emphasises across many different academic disciplines.  We have adopted the 'Ways to Wellbeing' framework.  This was developed in collaboration between the Government Office for Science's Foresight project "Mental Capital and Wellbeing' and the New Economics Foundation. The framework is designed to act as an accessible call to action, in a similar way to the target of Five Portions of Fruit and Veg does for dietary health.

The key qualities of this framework which made it suitable include: it is non-discipline specific and uses non-technical language; it does not require specialist knowledge to apply; it relates directly to personal activities, which our observation of everyday life data is structured around; it is backed by UK Governmental body; and it is formed from an extensive evidence base. By applying this framework within care homes we built a new understanding of what this looks like in this context:


Residents connecting with the people around them: other residents, staff, and visitors of all sorts including family and friends but also professionals, delivery men ...  Social interaction, investing in relationships, chatting, laughing, hugs, touching. 

Be Active

Residents going for a walk. Stepping outside. Playing a game. Dancing.  Standing. Moving from one space to another.  Taking a stroll or a wander.  Every little counts.

Take Notice

Residents being curious and noticing points of interest around them  Also, being connected to the world through media including, for example, the television news.  

Keep Learning

Residents 'keeping a hand in' - practicing skills, organised activities, and personal hobbies.


Residents helping each other out, looking out for others, helping in the running and maintenance of their home and showing their appreciation. 

This framework allows us to associate activities from throughout the everyday life of the care home with opportunities for increasing personal well-being amongst residents. It aids us in building insight into the effect environmental factors have on care home resident’s wellbeing.