Taking part in activities

Moving into a care home can, understandably, be a daunting experience and when our residents first arrive, taking part in activities is not necessarily one of the first things on their mind.

No-one understands this more than Queen’s Lodge Activities Coordinator Barbara Winstanley who has a tried and tested approach when it comes to encouraging new residents to join in activities.

 “You have to remember it’s a massive change when people have to leave the homes they have lived in for so long to move into a care home, and the initial transition period can be difficult,” she explains.

“It’s therefore natural for their first reaction to be that they don’t want to take part in activities and that’s why I take time to really get to know them first.

“You have to pull them in gently, so I sit down with them and find out all about their lives and what they like and did and then build from that point.”

Barbara also understands that even when she can encourage people to take part in activities, some do not want to do this in a group situation, so she also plans activities on an individual basis.

She explains: “We have a lady at Queen’s Lodge is religious so I bought her some religious quiz cards and most days I will spend 20 minutes with her asking her questions, which she really enjoys, and from that she has opened up and we often just sit chatting about the bible and other things which are important to her.

“I also got her a plant known as a resurrection plant which looks like it is dead but as soon as you add water it comes back to life. The lady enjoys watering it and it provides another talking point for us.

“It’s all about finding the key to the door and in her case, it was religion, and in other cases it can be something like painting.”

Barbara has worked in care her entire career, including adult mental health and learning disability services and childcare services.

She came to Queen’s Lodge as a carer 12 years ago and has been our Activities Coordinator for nine years.

“It’s a dual role because I like to be hands-on and enjoy caring too, but I do enjoy planning activities” she adds.

“I produce a plan each week but I make sure it is flexible so we can adapt to our residents’ specific needs and their requests, because ultimately, they are in control of what we do.

“A good example is bingo. This has always been a staple in most care homes but increasingly we are getting new generations of residents arriving who don’t play bingo, so it’s all about offering choice so we get more people taking part in activities.”

Barbara says she would recommend working at Queen’s Lodge to anyone.

“It’s a lovely environment to be in and we just in big family,” she says.

Outside of work, Barbara has two grown-up children and enjoys spending time with her two greyhound rescue dogs.

She says: “I used to bring my older dog into the home to act as a therapy dog, but he is getting too old for that now, however once my younger dog is ready, I hope to bring her in as the residents love it when animals come into the home.”

Why Choose Constantia Healthcare?

Residential & Nursing Care

Providing a homely, safe and secure environment for your loved ones

Respite & Day Care

Looking after your loved ones while you have a well-earned rest and break

Alzheimers & Dementia Care

Specialist care for people with complex needs at Roseleigh in Middlesbrough

Varied Activity Programme

Stimulating body and mind with an ever-changing schedule