activities in care homes
a day in the life of an activities lead
Working as an Activities Manager comes with many challenges like constant multitasking, finding the right activities or tasks for all residents to enjoy and participate in, keeping an eye on details and sometimes contacting local communities for events.
Signature Activities Managers are hard working team members that have a keen, positive motivation to make each day better than the last; here are their answers to some of our questions.
Do you meet with the team when pitching these ideas?
I meet with my activities team regularly to discuss any upcoming events and pool our ideas to decide how best to make the day enjoyable for the residents, from making the invitations and decorations, what food and drink we will have on the day and what sort of entertainment we will have.
What’s an activity or task that’s always on your to-do list?
Resident birthdays – we have a one-to-one with residents whose birthdays are coming up and discuss if they would like a birthday party, for these we liaise with the kitchen team for a birthday cake, restaurant team for the resident’s favourite drink, the activities team offer ideas for gifts and will write the birthday cards for the month ahead. On the day we decorate our bistro and have a lovely afternoon or tea and cake with the resident’s favourite music.
We always celebrate seasonal events such as Saints’ days, Chinese New Year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Jewish festivals etc.
How do you come up with new ideas?
I often refer to previous activities programmes from last year or the year before for ideas of things to add to the programme as generally there will be something I’ve forgotten we did or that we haven’t done in a while that I feel the newer residents will enjoy. I also follow many of the other Signature Homes on social media and all the activities leads get together on teams each month to discuss and share ideas which is great. I am also in contact with the activity lead in one of our closest homes (Farnham Common) and we share ideas and have made the recent decision to invite residents to each others homes to be able to share activities and entertainment especially as Farnham Common being a new home they are still very much building their activity schedule with a small number of residents at present.
What’s been a most favoured big event?
One of our favourite events are our gala dinners, we have two a year (spring and winter), these are usually themed, (Andre Rieu, James Bond, Royal and The Great Gatsby have been the latest themes) we make invitations and invite all the residents, canapes at 5pm followed by a three course dinner in our dining room in which a head of department will host each table, we then move to the café for coffee and entertainment. Everyone is encouraged to dress up and we assist the residents with hair and nails during the day and picking out outfits if they wish.
Residents are really looking forward to the upcoming coronation street party, we held a similar street party for the Queens Jubilee last year with residents and their families and it was a magical day.
What’s a favourite event daily in the homes?
We have a varied weekly programme, but the favourites are our twice weekly exercise classes and entertainment, we have a giant crossword twice a week in which the residents work together to solve it and this is always very well attended.
Do you ask residents for ideas or suggestions?
I meet with residents once a month to give them any updates, be it staffing, decorating or events, our residents are always kept informed of things happening in their home. I also discuss with them ideas for trips and activities to gauge interest and ask them for feedback on previous events.
Do you find it challenging to schedule and organise tasks?
It can be a challenge to schedule and organise tasks as we are always having to juggle having enough staff on a day when a trip is organised as well as still having a member of the team to run activities in house, I find I often have to attend the trips which means spending the next day trying to catch up with emails and paperwork. We also have to accommodate staff training days which can leave us limited with which activities we can do being the smallest of the Signature Homes. Having enough time to research new activities and ideas can be a struggle with the daily demand of tasks that need doing, softworks, emails, phone calls, checking the months ahead for any entertainment I need to book, trips I need to book and preparing the following weeks programmes. I always have to try and stay at least a month ahead in my calendar.
Communication is key and having the wider team on board to help share the responsibility and organisation is helpful.
Are family and friends always invited to visit during these activities or special days?
Family and friends are always encouraged to join activities if they are visiting and are personally invited to attend the larger events.
Trip ideas for these usually come from either places we’ve visited before or recommendations from members of the team or residents families who have visited. I do spend a lot of time researching on the internet for new places to visit and will often visit in my own personal time to gauge if it is somewhere with suitable access and facilities.