Residents and fellow staff at Brackley Care Home are getting ready to cheer on activities coordinator Barbara Foley to national award success.
Mrs Foley, who joined the team at the Kingsley Healthcare run home in April, is one of five finalists competing for the title of care activities coordinator 2021 at the Caring Times National Care Awards to be staged at the Hilton London Metropole on November 19.
Home manager Sheena Croston described Mrs Foley as a natural for the role, marveling at the way she manages to draw people out of their shells.
“She is gently persuasive and it is wonderful to see residents blossom and flourish and gain a new zest for life,” she said.
Residents are equally full of praise, 101-year-old Clifford Bilney saying: “She puts her heart and soul into the role and has the patience of Job with us older people.”
Mrs Foley, who lives with her husband in Gawcott, near Buckingham, said she loved her job which represents a complete change of course from her previous successful career in retail and hotel management.
She said: “I was inspired by the amazing care my father received in a care home and began working in care when we lived in Devon.
“When we moved back to the Buckingham area to be closer to our five grown up children I was delighted that the job at Brackley Care Home came up.
“I love the activities role because you spend more time with the residents than as a carer and get to know them better.”
She has become the home’s champion for dementia care and is actively involved with local schools to implement awareness and knowledge of dementia and to encourage as many children as possible to become Dementia Friends.
Mrs Foley has shared her passion for gardening with residents by launching a garden club. There are raised beds so all residents have easy access to them.
“Now residents are enjoying the fruits of their labour at meal times and nothing is tastier than home grown spinach and lettuce,” she said.
Her love of music has prompted her to form a successful residents’ choir.
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Author: Stephen Pullinger