A Day in the Life of an Activity Co-ordinator
Ever seen an advert for an Activity Co-ordinator at one of our Care Homes and wanted to know more about what that really meant? What’s involved and what it’s really like to work in that role? Look no further, we’ve compiled all these answers for you. We got in touch with our amazing activity teams to find out what a day in the life of an Activity Co-ordinator is really like.
‘When I tell people I organise activities in a Care Home, people think we play bingo every day. It’s much more than that.’ Bianca Turner, The Lindsay Care Home
To start, let’s talk about the role. Our residents are at the heart of everything we do. We want to enrich their lives and to help them achieve things they didn’t think were possible anymore. Activities are at the heart of this. You’ll be the creative mind who dreams up and organises an activity programme for the home. You’ll get to know our residents, their interests and their life stories so you can deliver activities just right for them. You’ll liaise with external companies from the local community, organise days out and ensure you’re working within the activities budget.
‘Care is given when you come to a nursing home, activities are there to brighten their day.’ Bianca Turner, The Lindsay Care Home
So, now you know about the role let’s talk you through what to expect throughout the day.
Everyone’s day should start with a smile. You’ll go around and speak to our residents, check how they’re doing and let them know about the activities planned for the day.
Check your planner and notes
You’ll check the activity planner and make sure everything is organised. If you didn’t work the day before you’ll go over the staff notes from the previous day, check who took part in the activities and see if anyone needs additional support. If there is a birthday that day or activities planned with local companies, you’ll ensure everything is organised. Depending on the home you may plan a week or even a month ahead, so you’ll be responsible for ensuring all your amazing ideas are organised in advance.
This can involve a variety of duties; assisting with feeding, helping to serve drinks or just interacting with residents and being there as a support to the care team.
‘You must be flexible even though you’re an activity co-ordiantor you may be asked to help with feeding or to make teas, it’s a varied role you have to be willing to help everyone, we’re all one team’ Laura Harris, Nairn House Care Home
One to ones
Some of our residents can’t take part in the main activity so we always ensure these residents get one to one activity time. The activity during one to ones is up to you. It might involve reminiscing tools, puzzles, reading or just a cup of tea and a chat; you’ll get to know our residents and tailor this time to each individual.
‘Life doesn’t end when dementia begins’ – Helen Bryne, Sunnvyview House, Care Home
In this role admin and paperwork is mandatory, it’s important and you’ll need to ensure this is always kept up to date. Firstly, that activity notes for each resident are recorded daily and their care plans are updated. You might catch up on emails or organise external companies to come in like singers or dancing groups.
You’ll organise and update the activity planner and ensure you’re working to the activity budget. This budget will be yours to manage so you’ll need to keep on top of this and ensure that costs are signed off by management. You might be asked to update the home’s Facebook Page or try your hand in marketing events at the home.
‘If there are things you’re keen to do in the role, you can suit the role to you and what you’re passionate about’ – Freya Cope, Fountains Lodge Care Home
Main Morning Activity
Each morning always includes one main activity, depending on the size of the home this could be one activity per unit or one main activity across the home. You’ll work to engage our residents and encourage them to take part. Activities can include musical acts, days out, exercise classes, visitors from the community, arts and crafts, the possibilities are endless!
This is your chance to bring your creativity and ideas to the role and to our residents. Got a new idea you want to try? Research the details and take it to your manager to review. As our residents are at the forefront of activities it’s important to try out new and different things that will engage them.
You’ll either work autonomously or in small team to research activity options, contact local companies and manage the whole booking process. Where possible you must ensure the activities are suitable for all residents and be prepared for rejection. Sometimes the best activity doesn’t necessarily work out and sometimes our residents won’t be interested so you’ll have to work hard to engage them and encourage them to take part.
‘I have learned to take rejection well. Sometimes it’s an absolute flop but it’s about trying something different, trial and error.’ Bianca Turner, The Lindsay Care Home
You’ll support with lunch time duties which can involve assisting with feeding, making drinks for the residents or just being there to support the care team.
Main Afternoon Activity
In the afternoon there will be a second main activity that takes place either on a different unit from the morning or for the whole home to take part in. You’ll speak to and encourage the residents to ensure they get as much out of the activity as possible. If there are residents that didn’t take part in the morning, it’s important to encourage them to take part and attend.
‘Sometimes we have activities such as poetry reading and ended up finishing on a reminiscent session, you have to be prepared and have something else ready. You need to be adaptable to change, think on your feet. It makes it more enjoyable for the residents.’ Wendy Putt, Green Gates Care Home
You might prefer to complete your admin each morning, but you’ll also have chance in the afternoon to get everything up to date. You might update the planner, check the activity for the following day is fully organised and if you’re not in the following day you’ll ensure there are notes and instructions for your colleagues to go over in the morning.
‘You never look at what they can’t do it’s what they can do – that’s how you have to look at it.’ Helen Bryne, Sunnyview Care Home
Depending on your shifts you may also help at dinner; you’ll make drinks, serve meals and it can involve assisting with feeding to support the care team.
If you’ve got this far, you’ve made it to the end of the day! Still interested? Well, you’ll probably want to know about the hours. The hours across our homes can vary depending on the size of the team. The shifts usually start from 8am onwards and finish up to 6pm. You’ll work to a weekly/monthly rota and usually alternate weekends are required, but not in every location. In smaller homes you might work alone and be solely responsible for organising and planning the activities whereas in larger homes you’ll work as a member of a small activities team, sometimes up to 3 people.
This is a rewarding role, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. Our team gave us an insight into some of the things you should know before taking on the role.
- Sometimes residents aren’t interested in the activities so getting them to take part can be really challenging.
- Thinking of activities that everyone can join in with, some residents can’t do certain activities, so you’ll need to adapt the activity for those residents and make sure they can get involved
- Keeping our residents focused. You will need to ensure the activity is planned for just the right amount of time to ensure they stay interested and enjoy it!
- You can’t be timid, you need to drum up enthusiasm to encourage our residents to take part. You’ll often be rejected but there are plenty of times you’ll win, you just have to keep going.
‘Jump in with both feet. Don’t come thinking it’s a walk in the park and playing board games. You need a sense of humour, you can’t take anything too seriously – be silly, be creative and have fun.’ Emily Voce, Eglantine Villa Care Home
Not sure about applying? Well, Emily Voce from our Eglantine Villa Care Home is here to tell you ‘If you are not sure, just give it a go. Even if you make one person’s life better for a day, a week, a month, it’s worth it. The personal rewards you get emotionally and mentally are more than you can put into words.’
Think you’re up for the challenge? If so, you’ll be rewarded with a career like no other. You’ll take part in enriching the lives of others, you’ll be a friend, a companion and you’ll get to be you at Bupa.
To apply for our available activity roles please get in touch on our Facebook Page or visit www.bupa.co.uk/careers.