Tonbridge Residents Keep Active and Social at Care Home
This year has been tough for everyone and there are so many workers who have kept the country going during these difficult times. The staff at Barnes Lodge care home in Tudeley Lane, Tonbridge have been working tirelessly to keep residents busy and happy. We explore what it means to be a Social Activities Facilitator during a pandemic.
To work in social care, you really do have to be a certain type of person, someone who is kind and compassionate and Kay Hawkins is no exception. Originally a carer for Rapport Housing and Care, she would fill in for the Activities Co-Ordinator when she was on annual leave and enjoyed it so much that when a vacancy become available, she applied and has been one of our Social Activities Facilitator at Barnes Lodge for years.
“I haven’t looked back since!” Comments Kay. “I am currently doing six days a week at Barnes Lodge because of the pandemic, we can’t have lots of visitors and entertainers in the home at the moment and I just wanted to keep as much normality for the residents as possible, I want them to stay happy regardless of what is going on in the outside world.”
“What I have really learnt during these difficult times is that we don’t have to do these big activities every day, it is all about spending time sitting with residents, having chats and drinking cups of tea. I know it sounds like such a cliché, but it is true regardless – Covid-19 really has bought everyone closer together. This really is a home; we are a family.”
Resident Catherine was busy having her hair done by Kay whilst the hairdresser cannot visit the home and straight away, she started explaining what Kay meant to her: “I don’t know what I would do without Kay! She is friendly, so friendly and you don’t even feel like she is a worker here, she is just so good to us. I normally go to activities in the afternoon, I just love the word games and I really enjoy it. I get some one to one time with Kay on a Monday, although I could do with her 24/7! I miss her so much when she isn’t here.”
One of the most popular activities Kay is currently running is ‘Knitter Knatter’, which is a chance for residents to have a chat and socialise whilst knitting away together. Kay explains that it is a very laid back activity and the residents choice, “we are all very relaxed and that is when the residents open up and let me know what type of things they would like to do with their week, I am a firm believer in sitting down with everyone and finding out what they genuinely want to do – that is so important to me.”
So, what does someone like Kay think is the best thing to do during lockdown? “Oh, it is always the simple things such as going for a local walk, together we have discovered some lovely areas to explore right on our doorstep. We are all trying to adapt to the current situation, and I am learning a lot of new skills – I can even roll hair now and I am not too bad at all!
“I do miss the normality and the hustle and bustle of the people coming and going, but it has truly been amazing to get even closer to residents and learn even more about them. I feel very lucky to be with them during these uncertain times.”
Nicky Pett, General Manager at Barnes Lodge added: “Every member of staff has made me so proud this year, they have all worked so hard and continue to put the residents first, regardless of what they are facing. We know how important activities are to the home, it really does make everyone so happy and the staff do a wonderful job of keeping residents entertained during these rather strange times”