Professional Care Workers’ Week
Caroline Ramsey, Lifestyle Coordinator
How do you keep 80 care home residents and the people who look after them positive, buoyant and entertained through a global pandemic? It’s a big challenge, but one which has been smashed by Caroline, Lifestyle Coordinator in one of Care UK’s Ipswich homes.
“Caroline’s greatest gift is her sense of fun and she has an amazing way of creating cheerfulness and laughter wherever she goes,” said her colleague Lee Oliver . “She has done wonders in helping keep everyone’s spirits up during a difficult time for the home, its residents and our fellow team members.”
Central to Caroline’s success has been her use of music to keep everyone happy and engaged. Her karaoke sessions are a wonderful thing and bring joy to all. This is because everyone can join in at any level – the residents’ faces light up when they see Caroline. She not only encourages them to sing but to dance as well, even if they are in a wheelchair where they can dance sitting down. Musical instruments enhance the experience.
Music has been especially popular and therapeutic during the days when Covid restrictions meant residents could not be visited by family members and friends. Certain songs tapped into fond memories and conversations and created a pleasant atmosphere where residents could feel secure and part of a community.
Caroline takes music to residents in their rooms, in the suites and in the dining room. Her musical breakfasts have been particularly popular with residents living with dementia. They brighten the mood of the residents and give them a positive start to the day.
Caroline’s contribution to fun in adversity does not stop at music – she also has the support of a four-legged friend to keep spirits up. She owns Ronnie, the home’s dog. A cute Maltipoo, Ronnie is a great hit with residents, especially those who owned pets. Stroking has wonderful benefits. It lowers blood pressure and lifts the spirits, and stroking soft fur is a lovely experience. His visits spark a lot of conversation and memories of past dogs and cats.
Caroline has done a wonderful job in training Ronnie as a therapy dog. He is gentle and calm with the residents and they love him.
It is not just residents who have benefited from Caroline’s positivity – she has also been a boon to colleagues during some of the most difficult months ever faced by the care home sector.
She has helped new team members to settle in with her easy-going nature and sense of humour and fun. She has talked newcomers through all the home’s routines so they not only feel welcome but also quickly feel at home.
Caroline is also adept at organising events and activities within the pandemic rules. Last summer she made a fairy garden outside which was adored by residents and visitors alike. The garden was created in a smartly painted upturned boat, with beautifully detailed aspects representing all areas of the home. Each of our suites was given a fun name and residents and their families had a great time spotting their bit of the home in miniature.
Caroline keeps everyone going. She’s always got a smile and has a really bubbly personality. She has a warmth that radiates around her and she really cheers everyone up.Relative of a resident
The final word goes to one of the home’s residents: “Caroline brings a smile and a bubbly atmosphere wherever she goes and whatever she does. She has really helped me to stay positive during this difficult period and everyone I speak to in the home feels the same – she makes you feel settled with her happy and natural disposition. I can only add by saying we all think she is a true gem in the way she carried out her work for the benefit of all of us. God bless her.”