• Sarah

Mandy - activities coordinator

Updated: Mar 23

Mandy is the activities coordinator at a care home which has 46 rooms, and 15 of those are in a dementia unit. Overall, the home has about 30 people who are living with dementia, from people at the very beginning of their dementia journey, right through to the very end.

Mandy is passionate about her job and the people she works with:

“I love it. I love my job. It's absolutely fantastic. When you are working a care-based role you see the people, but you don't necessarily have time to sit and talk to them about their lives. When you're an activities coordinator, you have that time, and that is fantastic. I can listen to one person tell me the same story 50 times. I don't mind. It's wonderful and they love it.”

Mandy has found Vibrant Communities very easy to use:

“Vibrant Communities has made our lives so much easier. The residents love it, and we love it. It's easy. With certain residents you can put it on and leave them to it, which is great.”

Wide range of social groups and events

Mandy has found that the wide range of events on offer helps her to personalise the activities that people can take part in. She supports one lady who is an artist and loves art. Some of Mandy’s other residents really enjoy the gardening club, and there is one gentleman who is a big fan of the football club. Mandy says:

“I did actually sit with him last week to do the football - it's all about the football museum. And they were asking questions and he was answering all the questions! He knew all the answers and it did amaze me because he is living with quite severe dementia as well. It was lovely to see, it's getting onto a subject and knowing your residents, and knowing what they would like and what they wouldn't like.”

Another of Mandy’s residents is a keen photographer. Part of the dementia group’s focus is on a photograph, and she has found this part particularly engaging:

“Because of being a photographer, the part where we have a photograph and we tell a story around it, interests her because she takes a lot of interest in the photograph - how they've set it out, and what they've done wrong, and what they've done right. So, it's quite interesting to actually hear her say ‘they haven't quite got that right, have they?’ because she's looking at it from a photographer's point of view.”

This resident is also a fantastic musician and used to play the piano. When the sessions include music, she gets very animated and starts playing along on the laptop keyboard!

“Sometimes things move and go all over the place because she's actually playing the piano on the laptop. So, she's playing, then she'll sing along if she knows the words. She loves it. And by the time we finish she is beaming, and you can feel her buzzing. It's just wonderful.”

This resident really looks forward to the sessions, Mandy says:

“I say to her ‘It’s Tuesday, we're going to see our friends on here [laptop], is that all right?’ She goes, ‘Oh yes, I really enjoyed that last week.’ She remembers that which is absolutely amazing. When she sees the laptop come in, she knows why, and she will sit there. When she's on Vibrant Communities, as far she’s concerned, she's talking to her friends.”

Expert hosts

All events are facilitated by hosts who are experts at including people in the sessions and making sure everyone joins in. They have all have years of experience working with people living with dementia, and if a resident gets upset Mandy says the hosts mute them, until they are ready to re-join the call:

“So they will mute us and they will carry on. If everything just stopped when something happened, then that would be inflammatory and make it much worse."

People with dementia using technology

The people Mandy supports have adapted well to using technology over the last few years:

“I found it [Vibrant Communities] really, really helpful and I think that our residents are absolutely amazing. They have adapted, they all know what Skype is. They all know what Zoom is and they are happy to use it. It was a bit tentative at first, but the minute they realised that the person on the screen was talking back to them, they were like, yeah, this is great. They absolutely love it.”
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