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Kirsty 6th Feb 2021 Activity Coordinator

I am looking for some advice. I have been working as an activity coordinator for about three months now in the UK. Right now I feel totally burnt out. We have been in a lockdown since I started work. I can't even buy newspapers to bring in for them. I have organised things such as making juice with a juicer, we do dancing and I even got a horse to visit the outside of the building. I'm at the point where I just don't know what else to do. I don't feel like I am a one woman entertainment system. We don't have an activity room as such more a lounge where the residents sit around the edge. The home I work in is a dementia home. I really like my job and like the residents a lot but feel like looking for a new job as finding it all very difficult at the moment. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks :)
Julie 6th Feb 2021 Activity Coordinator
Hi kirsty, I know how you feel, it's been a tough year, and as an activity co ordinator I've had to completely adapt to changes with residents needs on a daily basis. I try to do a couple of big activities a week like
Cheese and wine
Mad haters tea party
Food tasting from around the world
Themed afternoon
Afternoon tea
Lounge games
Games tournaments
and then I try to do some smaller activities making sure every residents gets time with me.
Last year we did a cruise ship, where we had a party to set sail, I printed tickets, got staff to dress as sailors, then every week the ship docked in a different country, we had food, music, games from that country, four weeks later we had a home coming party. The residents have asked to do it again. Good luck and stay safe.
Susan 6th Feb 2021 Activity Director
Hi Julie
Thank you for sharing the activities you have done
Hopefully this will help Kristy
Susan 6th Feb 2021 Activity Director
Hi Kristy
I agree you are in difficult situation
I really don’t know what the job market is like in your area and I don’t know if you want to change careers or not
I know that getting used to a new facility under the ideal condition is difficult
It takes at least three months to get to know the residents
Thus if you go to a different facility you will have to start all over again
Here are some ideas

Don’t forget to read the comments on these activities
You may have to adapt and modify them to meet the needs of the residents in your facility
Also see if you can get family members to help you they can call to engage them in someway

Jean 6th Feb 2021 Activities Coordinator
I think it will get easier if you can just hang on in there Kirsty, as Julie has said it has been a tough year. You will probably find inspiration and ideas on the Golden Carers site that you can adapt to meet your needs. It is difficult doing activities in a lounge, I have this problem too, as you have very little control of your 'space'. I have mixed ability residents sitting in the lounge, distractions as people walk through the group or pick up items from the table, people who are not taking part are asleep in a chair where I am trying to work and then another resident who wants to take part sitting further away and telling me they can't hear.. Just remember that if just 1 or 2 residents have enjoyed it you have succeeded.
Susan 7th Feb 2021 Activity Director
Hi Kristy
I had some more thoughts
Do your best
If staff complains about your performance ask them for help
Hopefully this will all work out
Susan 7th Feb 2021 Activity Director
Hi Kristy
I agree with Jean Things will get better
Andy 7th Feb 2021 Activities Co Ordinator
hi Kristy,
firstly welcome, i have been a activities co coordinator in the UK for nearly 2 years and how its changed in the last year with lock down. please dont be downhearted as we all have days sometimes weeks where we feel like packing it in cause you feel we are getting no where. i had a wobble myself last week as residents were frustrated as we are struggling to meet the needs of everyone on a daily basis and as much as it hurts to say that, its literally impossible as we have 80 residents. please deep down we all do our best, anything music related is always a winner. we use m4d dementia radio/BBC music memories among others which offer their own activity sheets. For our dementia a couple;e of our most popular activities are aqua paint, music, dice games, conversation starter games. For the residents who do not join as much we have the mechanical cats and dogs and dolls you can buy but that depends on budget. but i literally have a massive list of ideas and activities, so never feel alone and you can always ask me if you would wanna brainstorm. Guess the scent or tasting sessions go down well also. hope this brings some positiveness and things improve. never feel alone. its a hard job but rewarding and i am sure you doing a wonderful job.
Kirsty 8th Feb 2021 Activity Coordinator
Thanks everyone! Yeah it feels a little overwhelming sometimes. I think I just need to worry less perhaps. Yes you are right Jean. In my head I feel like the aim is to have everyone involved but that isn't possible with 22 different personalities.
Jean 8th Feb 2021 Activities Coordinator
I think that our job is very much one of highs and lows. You need to remember the successful days and the difference you have made for one or two residents when you are feeling down. Good luck
Susan 9th Feb 2021 Activity Director
Thank you for that, and Jean
Julie 9th Feb 2021 Activities Coordinator
Hi Kirsty.

It's been a tough year and my job as activity coordinator in wales has changed dramatically. Last March I thought I was drowning, but inspiration eventually comes every now and then. we all need to try and not be too hard on ourselves. You need to think outside the box now. My care home has been very strict during the past year, so it has been 90% one to one. A lot of the time I spend communicating with friends and family of residents, via phone or video call or writing letters for them. I find reminiscing games are good, balloon, skittles. Seated exercise is good I use you tube videos ( with music of their era). Reading the local newspapers and chatting about them. Crosswords, colouring, magic painting, flower arranging (can be just buying a bunch of flowers and getting resident to arrange in vase). Board games (snakes and ladders and domino). Anything musical. With advanced dementia i found sensory music/autism sensory music and sometimes with video visuals works well, blowing bubbles, hand massage. Hope this helps. Keep going this is such an important job. Some days I feel I haven't achieved much but that's just me being hard on myself. I know what ever i do with my residents it helps them.
Jill 10th Feb 2021 Artist - Workshop Practitioner
Hi Kirsty,
So sorry you are feeling burn out. Don't feel under pressure to be the big entertainer.
I do a lot of 1 to 1s currently. Manicures, reflexology, foot spas, I devise starter sheets for the morning, quizzes etc. The residents love the programme 'Lingo' which I have adapted for the lounges.
We have craft sessions where I sit and assist the group members. They help to create wall displays.
Hope you can make use of this info.
Susan 10th Feb 2021 Activity Director
Hi Jill
Thank you for your information and support

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