How To Help & Support Your Activity Coordinators
Calling All Care & Dementia Home Groups, Managers and Regional Support Teams: How To Help & Support Your Activity Coordinators by Gillian Hesketh of Happy Days Dementia Activities & Design
Imagine your favourite hobby or pastime. Consider the equipment you need it. Gym kit? Running shoes? Music Scores? Football boots? Books? Gardening gloves, trowel, spade? Tool box? Canvas, Paintbrushes? Where do you store it all?
On behalf of Activity Coordinators and Life Style Facilitators, I’d like to say to care home groups, managers and regional support teams simply this: ‘Please consider the provision of storage and preparation space for these enthusiastic and dedicated social care teams. During interior design visits to care and dementia homes, I have seen activity materials, games and jigsaws tumbling from bookcases, stacked high up, squashed into corners of tea rooms and stacked on the floor. Lack of space appears to be the culprit.
During AC training sessions, participants almost always discuss the lack of storage and preparation space available. This seems to make planning ahead more difficult and stifles the AC. I’ve listened to stories of AC’s storing materials in the boots of their cars, spare bedrooms and kitchen worktops. Please, help activity coordinators by providing a space where they can organise and store materials on site; prepare activities, plan and create events for their residents. Maybe add a little extra time to their day for preparation of the varied programmes necessary to enrich social care for every resident including people who may be living with dementia.
As we know, a good sense of wellbeing goes beyond a healthy diet and exercise, it includes intellectual and emotional good health, requires mental stimulation and a wide range of opportunities for social interaction. Some of us enjoy being part of a group; others prefer a less busy life-style and this is clearly reflected in a residential care setting. Some people may remain in their rooms through choice or immobility and the AC understands the need for provision of varying engagement models.
The AC’s role is much more complex than often recognised, working on many levels; planning everyday activities, encouraging outdoor activity, organising entertainment and finding interesting visitors from pets to pat to school visits. AC’s are often responsible for encouraging other carers to be part of everyday activities, enlisting volunteers, creating seasonal events and fundraising. Imagine providing all these opportunities without a base, suitable storage, a workspace, desk or a quiet corner to plan the week’s activities, arrange events and update evidence based feedback for care home and CQC records. If you are reading this and can help, just ask your AC’s what they need to make their day more efficient. Activity Coordinators are passionate, enthusiastic people; their love of life often infectious as they help everyone enjoy everyday. So let’s keep this spirit and energy flowing by establishing a space or base for them to plan, create and grow social activity for wellbeing.
It’s a win-win situation which just needs a little attention and perhaps a cupboard or two. Top Tip: Wheel Out Your Activities with a Happy Days Activity Trolley© Another way to help AC’s and care teams store materials and engage. Happy Days Activity Trolleys© are packed with reminiscence baskets or boxes, memorabilia and nostalgic games. Wheel the trolley into lounges, activity rooms or personal rooms. Change the themes daily or weekly. Store in a cupboard or leave at reception for relatives to share with their loved ones during visits.
Shop online - Search ‘Activity Trolley’ at www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk Or click/copy to direct link here: https://www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk/? s=activity+trolley&post_type=product
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on themed rooms, activity and reminiscence materials, wall art, murals, games and more. We accept NHS purchase order numbers and care home accounts.