Keeping the old folk entertained

Marie Martin with Joan Greenlees , who at 95, still likes to get involved with the many activities that Marie puts on as the Activities Co-ordinator at Alexandra House.
Marie Martin with Joan Greenlees , who at 95, still likes to get involved with the many activities that Marie puts on as the Activities Co-ordinator at Alexandra House.

Marie Martin is an activities co-ordinator at Alexandra Nursing Home in Eastwood.

She spends her days making crafts and playing games with the residents, and booking in entertainers and singers.

Marie is quite new to the job, having started in post back in July this year.

She says she feels a sense of achievement in what she does, and says her role keeps the residents entertained day to day.

She organises games of Bingo and does knitting, crafting and plays board games.

The care home worker says she focuses on seasonal activities and has recently been getting the pensioners making Christmass tree decoratoions out of salt dough.

“I’ve been busy making a festive igloo out of milk bottles as well!” she said.

“We had a church service here for Remembrance Day and we made table decorations and ghost lanterns for Halloween.

“I’ll make sure I do something for Valentines Day and I’m sure well make Easter bonnets next Spring,” she said.

The 42-year-old from Ilkeston said the activities gave the residents a feeling of ‘inclusion’.

“If it’s a group activity they get to know other residents and it’s a great opportunity to make friends.

“Some people are quiet and shy and it brings them out of themselves a bit.”

She said she loved the job because it was varied and challenging.

“I like the variety, and I like the challenge because it’s difficult thinking of new things.

“I have to accomodate their abilities. If they are ill in bed I might just read them a newspaper. If they’re struggling with hearing I go for something visual to do.

“It’s about what works for them. If it doesn’t resonate with them they don’t get much from it.”

The events co-ordinator even trys to get families involved.

“This weekend I’ve organised horse racing. It will be a DVD game and there will be drinks and nuts and crisps out like they are all at the pub!

“It’s about that homely feel and getting people involved and making them feel welcome.”

Marie started out working as a receptionist at Alexandra House. She then moved to work in human resources at the company head office, before taking on an acting manager role at the Canal View home in Ilkeston.

She says although she is happy for now, she eventually wants to move into management and is getting some care worker experience under her belt.

“I’ve started to do one shift a week working as a carer. Most managers work their way up through that route so I wanted to get some experience.

“I’m happy here for the time being though. I feel very comfortable here because it’s where I started. I know the residents becasue some have been here a long time.”