Rebecca Spicer, Volunteer and Activity Manager at Brendoncare, reflects on care home activities in Brendoncare, the unseen elements and what has stood out to our Activity Coordinators in 2021.
There aren’t many professions where you can learn about someone’s life story and share precious memories of marriage and love. Where you can encourage residents to develop a new skill and help another to rediscover a forgotten hobby or interest. Where you can find laughter in your every day.
Our activities team across Brendoncare provide opportunities for social interaction between care home residents with shared hobbies and interests. They also bring outside entertainers and visitors to give talks or play instruments, source new and improved ways of doing things and, where possible, always involve furry animals!
Our Activity Coordinators have to be inventive: they adapt their care home activities to suit a variety of needs or abilities and always have a plan B. They build relationships with the catering teams, continuously plan events throughout the year to offer something special and of course always provide the fun!
In the last year, they have held events such as: an inter-home Brendoncare Games, an inter-house scarecrow competition and, as always, they’ve hosted a joyful and festive Christmas.
As we look ahead for 2022, planning is underway for Easter and the Platinum Jubilee.
The unseen elements of care home activities
There are also elements of support in care home activities that are often unseen.
A reassuring touch of a held hand whilst sharing personal stories, the comforting presence during daily walks around our gardens: these are things our Activity Coordinators provide that are often overlooked. These small one-to-one opportunities of what our homes call ‘personal focus’, where a resident can have quality time to do anything they would like, make a massive difference to those living with us.
‘Personal focus’ time may include: writing a letter, reminiscing old photos, watching a much loved programme on TV, going for a walk, having support with zoom calls, crafting, playing music or learning a new skill together.
Making time for these one-to-one personal activities gives our residents joy and brings out that all important smile.
Similar to personal focus time, we also ensure to incorporate Material Citizenship into our care plans. This uses personal, functional items as a resource to ensure people living with dementia maintain their identity, have choice and control and enjoy a meaningful life.
Stand out moments from our Activity Coordinators
Betty, Activity Co-ordinator at Brendoncare Stildon, has been spending time with a resident living with dementia to help her improve on her writing. They have been practicing writing a line every day.
Retaining letter form and remembering words has been something the resident has been struggling with, so they’ve focused on this by talking about what to include and copying some writing. Being able to read aloud her thoughts helped improve her writing skills. Over Christmas, she wrote her own Christmas cards to send to family and became emotional when she was able to handwrite a card to her sister.
Laura, Activity Co-ordinator at Brendoncare Froxfield, has been working with the care staff and the rest of the activity team in Froxfield to support a resident with her speech and communication. The resident has been living at Froxfield since having a stroke and has had relatively poor communication since her admission.
Her speech is now coming along well due to their support and the family have commented on how nice it is for her to be able to hold small conversations and have noticed that she is making more connections with words and their meanings during their visits.
Carla, Activity Supervisor at Brendoncare Alton, has found that the simple things can really make a huge difference: spending time with the residents in the garden, feeding the birds, being outside in fresh air and taking time to stop and enjoy the moment. One resident has thrived being outside and being active and has been filling the feeders on his own.
Carla also finds that helping residents continue with everyday tasks they would have done at home can be beneficial and of comfort to them.
Want to know more about being an Activities Co-ordinator in Brendoncare? Check out our blog on a day in the life of an Activities Coordinator at Brendoncare Knightwood
Brendoncare Community clubs helps to alleviate social isolation and loneliness in a positive way. Our community clubs can give people in later life the opportunity to get out and connect with others in their local community.
Volunteers are essential to our work at Brendoncare and we could not achieve what we do without their involvement. Our volunteers make such a difference and put smiles on the faces of members and care home residents every day.