Finding Joy in Meaningful Activities
The role of our Activities Co-Ordinator within Beech Lodge Care Facility is so important, her brief is as simple as ‘Find a meaningful activity that helps you connect with all the residents both as a group and individually’. The impact this person has in the lives of the residents is immeasurable but perhaps a story might illustrate the power of the connection they have with our residents.
This year we had a new resident admitted to us at Beech Lodge, he had come straight from the hospital but wasn’t aware that he was staying with us long-term. Due to his condition his family could no longer care for him at home. Despite his confusion our new resident began to understand that he was not going to be going home and became depressed. He refused to come out of his room, even for meals. He didn’t mix with the other residents at all. We tried to do anything we could to encourage this man to join in, to go on trips, to come out and listen to the musicians that play weekly. This all fell on deaf ears. He was happiest in his room.
We had a change in Activity Co-Ordinator over the summer and with that change came a person with a brand new set of skills. Where our previous Activities Co-ordinator had been brilliant at one-to-one contact and getting to the heart of people our new Activities Co-ordinator is creative and very active. She also had a deadly eye for a car boot sale bargain. She is into furniture restoration in a big way and she began to recruit a restoration crew from the interested residents. She approached our resident who hadn’t been out of his room. He was interested, he wanted to be able to use his hands, sanding, priming, painting, creating.
There was a room sequestered for the furniture restoration, there was the sound of chat, music playing, the smell of paint and varnish fumes wafting out of the room, and right in the middle of it was our man! He was laughing, engaged and delighted to be working on something again. He had loads of energy; the change was instant.
We regularly see him walking around with purpose as he has goes about his restoration projects. He’s so much happier and mixes with everyone now. We can all enjoy the fruits of the labour of the Restoration Crew, the view from the office here at the Nursing home is of a beautifully restored console table with a decoupage tray matching it. With this one activity our new Activities Co-Ordinator has brought a new purpose to many of the residents who were finding it hard to connect with other more sedate activities. There is talk now of a nursing home Men’s Shed, and selling the restored pieces at the car boot sales to fund more projects, there are also plans for a Garden Gang for the summer.
For our new Co-ordinator her objective is well achieved, she found the activity that helped her connect with our resident individually and helped him find his place as part of the group but more so she helped this man find hope for a future beyond the four walls of his room.
We take pride in the work we do here in Beech Lodge, and we take pride in the care we give to all our residents.