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Abbotsford Activity Co-ordinator

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Abbotsford Activity Co-ordinator of the Year also wins National Everybody’s Talking Competition

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Laura Beaven, Abbotsford’s Activity Co-ordinator of the Year 2016 has also won Daily Sparkles National Competition called Everybody’s Talking winning £100 for her and the care home.

Laura shares with us her Winning entry that won her the competition. I started working as the Activities Coordinator in October 2015. Very quickly I began a weekly singing group for the residents on a Wednesday afternoon. It was met with enthusiasm from the residents but skepticism from some of the staff.

I like singing but am certainly no singer! But I have read about the tremendous benefits of music and singing particularly with people with dementia. My thinking is that it is not about what we sound like, but about having fun. In the past carers scattered to the winds, but gradually my colleagues started to ask me "Is it singing group today?" and popping their heads around the door and joining in with the songs – even suggesting songs.

Carer Jess Mccauley sat with a resident whom she knew very well. Jess also knew the song that the resident knew, so encouraged her to sing it for us. It was a lovely moment as the resident couldn't communicate well. Alana Duff has a super singing voice and always pops in making us all laugh with her hilarious dancing, sometimes singing something for us or joining in. One of our Nurses, Evelyn Nisbet, also has a super singing voice and joins in as she is working. We can hear her coming up the corridor singing then she pops her head in and joins in!

Other members of staff are often found standing at the door singing along. I encourage them to come in, but, as I know, it takes courage to sing in front of others or even in a group for the first time. So if standing at the door is where they feel comfortable, I am happy with that....for now!

At Christmas the singing group was superb. Evelyn and Alana joined us and we raised the roof. I have had lots of suggestions of songs from staff. They have even looked songs up on their phones for me to hear, to see if it is something we could add to our repertoire.

I realised that if we sang together when walking to the group, some residents walked straighter or better. So I have continued to do this when walking residents to any activity. I have noticed that some of our carers are now doing the same – Hannah Shovlin and Shioban Howard do it beautifully. We have the group every Wednesday come 'rain or shine' so if you fancy a sing song, please come and join us!

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