Report from the Recreational Activities and Volunteer Co-ordinator 2018 / 2019

The report below was originally published in our Annual Report 2018 / 2019.

cathy higginson recreational activities coordinator allambie heights villageIt has been an absolute pleasure working with the residents in my first year as the Recreational Activities and    Volunteer    Co-ordinator    at    Allambie    Heights Village Residential Aged Care Facility.   Thank you to all the fabulous residents, staff, Villages’ Residents and Volunteers who have been so welcoming and made my transition here so easy.

‘A stronger focus on each and every resident’

It has been a busy year with plenty of group activities planned every day for the residents to participate in, if they so choose. Supported by our valuable volunteers, the popular activities include Trivia, Reminiscing, Craft, Wrapped with Love Knitting groups and  ‘Getting to know  You’  sessions.  Whiteboard quizzes and games, the well-attended bingo sessions, textile and sewing groups producing many Easter bunnies, Christmas elves and Christmas decorations all contribute to active and stimulating days. The newly introduced Choir practice continues to draw a large number of participants and beautiful voices.

Many residents participate regularly each week, asking questions, problem-solving and enjoying the stimulation that these activities provide. Although specifically targeted to stimulate brain and memory, the sessions also provide a social and fun environment for the residents to come together.

This past year we have had a stronger focus on each and every resident, learning more about them, their background, interests and likes so we can continue to improve their day to day life and how we can make their life better within the Allambie community by our staff getting to know them.

Through the year, we have increased one on one visits to those who may be unwell, require emotional support, are less mobile and who self-isolate. Four residents currently benefit from 1-1 social visits from Lifeline Volunteers.

In addition, we have increased outdoor sessions and accompany those residents who enjoy walking around the grounds of the Village allowing staff to build rapport with the residents and for the residents to feel they are getting quality time and companionship.

We have incorporated relaxation therapy as well as individualised room visits where we provide hand and shoulder massages offering quality time with the residents whilst giving them a special pampering session. This year we have implemented more Dementia Specific Activities designed to stimulate all the senses, smell, touch, hearing, sight and taste.

Always ensuring the activities have a fun focus, they have included: cooking demonstrations involving Damper, the cheese and chive dampers proved popular, Christmas mince pies, muffins and pikelets; ball games; jigsaw puzzles; art and craft; word games; talking books utilising the products provided by the Warringah Library Service; trips down memory lane where we discuss their personal memories and life stories.

The weekly poetry session is a favourite with many of the residents, especially listening to Banjo Patterson and A. A.  Milne. We have recently introduced a new quiz game, ‘A Better Visit’ designed by Alzheimer’s Australia. It is presented on an iPad via the television so that everyone can view. It is another fun exercise for the residents providing brain stimulation and community engagement.

The residents also enjoyed seeing our physiotherapist Rachel’s wedding. Again, via the iPad, Rachel’s big day was streamed through the big screen to a boisterous crowd of residents and greatly enjoyed by all.

Our rich and varied recreational activities program also involves: twice weekly bus trips (we always have a full bus); our Physiotherapists lead our exercise classes twice weekly; the weekly Choir Practice in the Community Hall is a fun afternoon and very popular with almost standing room only some weeks but we always find a chair for our choristers; visiting entertainers continue to be popular and this year we enjoyed concerts by Sydneysiders Express, the Barbershop Quartet, the Happy Wanderers, Loosely Woven, the Mirrabooka Singers who all performed in front of an appreciative audience who enjoyed many encores.

The various church services continue and include German Lutheran, Anglican/Ecumenical Services and Catholic Mass. Our monthly beautician visits and weekly hairdressing service are popular as always and the monthly library service is still an anticipated and welcomed visit.

At different times of the year we ran some special events and activities with the residents being involved in the build up to the specific days. These included Australia Day, always a fun day but this year we saw a surprisingly competitive spirit in many residents from our residential aged care facility, retirement village and staff engage in the Pavlova Decorating Competition which was a close call between the Coddled Caterers, The Dream Team and the Goldies who battled it out in the Final.

Other Special themed days included a French Themed Day; Oktoberfest; St Patrick’s Day Shenanigans, Easter and Mother’s Day Celebrations. The Melbourne Cup Afternoon Tea with a hat parade was well supported and enjoyed by all.

The Christmas Lights Bus Tour while enjoying a glass of sherry with fruit cake was a hit. And our Christmas Lunch/Staff Concert for Residents, Families and our Retirement Villages’ Residents saw a full house as always! The theme was ‘Across the Universe’, and the staff danced and pranced till their wigs fell off while our lovely Nepalese staff dancers added some cultural diversity, all loudly applauded by the audience. The meal was excellent as always.

Our Visiting Farm was a huge hit as residents fed the goats, stroked and enjoyed the antics of a cheeky duck and cuddled the baby chicks. We held an Australian Drought Appeal Fundraiser in September with a special ‘Farmers Fare’ themed lunch raising a massive $3,104 collectively which was generously supported by Allambie Heights Village Ltd., our Residential Aged Care Facility and Village Residents and staff to help support our Australian farmers.

Our regular Residents Meetings are very well attended and a Catering sub-committee involving residents, catering staff and management was set up to engage in advising about choice of meals, etc.

It has been an exciting and fulfilling year and it is a privilege to provide our residents with fun, stimulating, personalised activities and experiences each day.

Cathy Higginson
Recreational Activities & Volunteer Co-ordinator

Download Annual Report 2018/2019 (PDF) »