Here at Oomph!, we know the huge difference that great activities can make to the wellbeing of older adults. We caught up with Sarah Savidge, winner of the Dementia Care Award for Best Activities Co-ordinator 2016, and Lisa McLaughlin, winner of the National Care Award for Care Activities Co-ordinator 2016 and found out how qualities such as enthusiasm, patience and forward planning make an outstanding Activities Co-ordinator.
Both awards focus on highlighting and celebrating excellence in the long-term care sector, rewarding those that work hard to provide consistently outstanding care so we spoke to them to find out what they think makes an outstanding Activities Co-ordinator.
We asked Sarah and Lisa what attributes they think makes an outstanding Activities Co-ordinator. They highlighted the essential qualities as having bags of enthusiasm, motivation and confidence. Sarah explained that having many life experiences is also important as residents have lived long and exciting lives and it's beneficial to be able to relate to them on a one-to-one level.
Lisa said that taking time with individuals and prioritising them over anything is vital and told us that "it can be pressurising and you really have to remain relaxed and patient with everybody. It's difficult living with dementia never mind caring for somebody, that's a totally different ball game." To help tackle this, Lisa feels that you must have a "positive, enthusiastic and motivating energy, all day every day", even if you're not feeling up to scratch. By doing so, and leaving your troubles at home, you can focus solely on individuals and drive their days forward.
"I think having that strong relationship helps drive the ball".
Lisa McLaughlin, Belong Warrington
Lisa told us that excellent forward planning is also necessary and spoke about how she'd arranged a canal barge trip during one Summer for all her residents. "There were lots of risk assessments involved, it was stressful, it was difficult but everyone enjoyed it and it got fully booked so quickly that I had to arrange another one. I was getting lots of demands, which was great!"
Following on from this, Lisa told us that "strong team relationships are crucial". Lisa has a lot of faith in her team which she believes has been developed through a good level of authority, balanced out by a good level of friendship and being able to approach people if she or her team are worried about anything.
For anyone planning on starting off as an Activities Co-ordinator, Lisa suggests to "come and spend a day with someone that does it, see how exciting and how varied a day can go". The beauty of the role is that you can unleash your creativity. Sarah advised that if you simply "love life, people, music and nature you will be heading in the right direction".
Sarah and Lisa have both displayed excellent efforts as Activities Co-ordinators and we're very proud that they both incorporate Oomph! into their weekly activities which they say helps stimulate the mind, body and soul of their residents, improving their overall wellbeing and happiness. Through Lisa's Oomph! training and our monthly resources, her and her team have been able to personalise Oomph! sessions, tailoring these to individual's needs.
"Residents look forward to our interactive group sessions especially when we incorporate an Oomph! session with a story telling and snacks".
Sarah Savidge, Admiral Court, Hallmark Care Homes
Lisa and Sarah have noticed numerous benefits for their residents from Oomph! sessions. Sam from Belong Warrington, was unable to walk after a fall at the beginning of the year, but is now able to walk with a walking aid. Incorporating music can also create moments for the residents, encouraging reminiscence. Sarah believes that Oomph! has given confidence to her residents to attend group sessions, socialise and involve themselves more in community activities. "Residents who may have kept to themselves or preferred to stay in their rooms are venturing out more into the community and becoming more confident and involved".
Congratulations again to both Lisa and Sarah, you really are outstanding Activities Co-ordinators!
This October, many Oomphers! kicked off their Halloween festivities in style. We've seen witches, ghouls and some wonderfully crafted pumpkins. At Manor House, Embrace, the Halloween spirit didn't end there. A spooktacular Oomph! session saw the Mayor of Bicestor, Jonta Lis, and the CEO of Embrace, Trish Lee, put down their pens and paper and pick up some Oomph! pom poms.
Manor House also held a 'Guess the Weight' of the giant pumpkin competition, using a pumpkin so large that it weighed a whopping 21 stone! Following on from the wonderful competition, Oomphers! made their way to the newly refurbished garden lodge where representatives of Manor House's local Co-op joined residents in a spooky themed Oomph! session. During the Oomph! session, participants were 'waving their broomsticks', 'lifting up their witches hats' and overall having a wonderful time.
We can't wait to see what other tricks you have up your sleeves, keep up the fantastic work!
With Christmas fast approaching, we're all very excited to be swapping our witches hats for Santa hats, and broomsticks for mince pies. Do you have any Oomph! plans this Christmas? Why not send in your Oomphtastic! pictures and stories into Oomph! towers and you might be featured right here on our news page!
The Activity Co-Ordinators at Woodside Care Home in Rugby have created an exciting and innovative project to provide a talking point for residents at the home who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other progressive memory disorders.
In a bid to create a new channel of communication between residents and carers, the team at Woodside submitted the idea for their Dolls House Project to The Oomph! Foundation, a new fund created with the aim of inspiring unique activities which impact wellbeing.
The Woodside Dolls House Project took a classic wooden dolls house and restored it to aid reminiscence of early memories – something that some residents at the home with progressive memory disorders are more comfortable with.
Using the £100 funding provided by The Oomph! Foundation, Woodside Activity Co-ordinator Carol worked with residents at the home to paint and decorate the house, bringing a new lease of life to a well-loved exterior, which is now a sophisticated shade of cream and features smart brown shutters. They also decorated the interior of the house, using 1940’s and 50’s style furniture, although there are already plans to introduce fixtures and fittings from other periods into the house to encourage reminiscence about different times in residents’ lives.
Val Hase, a resident at Woodside who had a similar doll’s house when she was a child, was involved in carefully selecting the furniture, including particular items such as a tin bath and potty under the bed which has brought back many memories.
Val commented: “It’s beautiful – it looks select!” as well as suggesting that “she would buy it if it was for sale”.
Carol, the home’s Activity Co-ordinator said: “Val was very excited to be involved in the project – Val and Rose want to christen the house ‘Dun Roaming’ and will give it door number 51 as there are already 50 rooms at Woodside!”
The Woodside Dolls House Project has provided a fantastic focal point for the home, and the finished house will be displayed in the reception area for all to see and enjoy.
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