2 October 2020

A day in the life of a scheme activity coordinator

Josie Ibrahim

Working as a Senior Care Assistant for 12 years, Josie’s creative flair saw her changing roles back in February. Now an Activity Coordinator at two of our extra care schemes, Josie has been getting residents’ creative juices flowing and minds stimulated during the pandemic. From painting and pottery to arts and crafts, our older people have welcomed this act of normalcy in these far-from normal times.

“I love my job as an activity coordinator – providing residents with activities of their choice that help to alleviate their anxiety and loneliness. The residents who are getting involved are finding it very rewarding, especially as it takes their minds off the pandemic. Their creations are varied and include model houses, paintings, cards and painted bottles – all of which were showcased at a recent exhibition.”

With all activities taking place in accordance with government guidelines, a recent outdoor art session saw the residents transform their garden at Miranda House into a beautiful oasis of greenery.

“Towards the end of summer, a few staff and residents came together to paint the garden wall at our extra care scheme, Miranda House. Upon completion, one resident has fed back that brightening up this dull corner has brought it back to life – “despite the recent grey skies, every time I step outside and see this wall it cheers me up.”

Always looking for ways to improve residents’ quality of life, Josie and the team have recently introduced a Magic Table at James Hill House – offering opportunities for those living with dementia to increase physical and social interactions and, most of all, have fun.

“Thanks to funding from RBKC, we have been able to install a Magic Table at one of our extra care schemes -  a specialist piece of technology designed to support residents living with dementia and help care staff promote stimulation through interactive games.”

Her work with older residents shows that it is never too late to learn a new skill.

“When lockdown meant that our residents were unable to go to the day centre, many were feeling low and upset. To keep lockdown boredom at bay, one older gentleman joined one of my painting classes and developed his skills in sketching and painting. He produced a beautiful piece of art which was displayed during our art exhibition and he was very proud to show it to his friends and family.”

As well as leading arts and crafts sessions, Josie is a dab hand at planning an event – always aiming to make a fuss of residents on their birthdays.

“It’s been a tough time for residents so its important we do what we can to boost their mood. I’ve organised socially distanced art exhibitions and birthday celebrations – putting decorations up and organising a photo booth to capture some of the joy from the day. I try to make an effort to help residents feel special – making them cards, buying them a birthday cake and singing them happy birthday. Seeing them happy and showing their appreciation through a simple thank you always makes my day.”