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What an Activity Coordinator does in a Care Home

To make care home life as fun and interesting as possible, most homes offer regular social activities and group activities to engage residents and help them socialise with each other.

This person-centred approach to care could include all sorts of activities - from relaxing activities like gardening, painting, board games and knitting, to gentle exercise, carpet bowls and bingo, as well as day trips out of the home.

So, with all these activities going on, who’s in charge?

Lots of care homes employ an activities coordinator to plan and run activities at the home – and in this article, we’ll explain exactly what their role is and how you can become one. Read on to learn more.

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In this article:

  1. What is an activity coordinator?
  2. Why it's an important role
  3. Skills, experience and qualifications required
  4. Training on the job
  5. What does an activity coordinator do in a care home?

What is an Activity Coordinator?

Activity coordinators, also known as activity workers, are in charge of organising social activities in a care home, although they can also work in someone’s home or as part of the community in social care.

Depending on how big the home is, activity coordinators may have to schedule group activities for quite a few people! Activity coordinators will then help to run the activities and encourage residents to participate, help them take part and answer any questions or resolve any issues they might have.

This role also involves asking residents what new activities they’d like to try, finding out about old hobbies they want to pick back up and tailoring activities to individual interests.

If the home can support days out and trips, the activity coordinator will be the one to pick up the phone and book them, organise transport and ensure the correct procedures are followed for the trip.

Sometimes, an activities coordinator will get involved in fundraising for the home, due to their connection with the local community.

Why It’s An Important Role

There are many reasons why being an activities coordinator is an incredibly important role. For one thing, without activities, residents will likely be bored, feel isolated or lonely and won’t be getting the exercise and socialisation they need to be happy and healthy.

Given that lots of older people struggle with mobility or might have a health condition, making activities easily accessible for them can really boost confidence as well.

For those with dementia, special dementia-focused activities such as reminiscence therapy help to bring back fond memories, improve mood and reduce agitation or distress.

Being an activities coordinator today has a much higher focus on wellbeing. Looking at residents’ emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing is becoming more important in order to tailor activities that are meaningful to them and suit their personal preferences.

Similarly, many activity coordinators will promote diversity and inclusion in a care home, from celebrating various holidays and awareness days to regularly rotating activities, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

This role is important as it can enable residents to live their life to the fullest.


Skills, Experience and Qualifications Required

An activities coordinator can be an entry-level role, so a lot of the time you won’t need anything more than:

  • Good literacy, numeracy and writing skills
  • Strong communication, organisational and time management skills
  • The ability to understand and follow instructions
  • A friendly, kind, patient and compassionate personality

Being able to think on your feet and act quickly is also a must – activities won’t always go to plan and you’ll need a cool head to resolve problems quickly.

Some care homes may ask for formal qualifications such as a GCSE A-C in Maths and English, or a social care qualification, such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. Don’t worry if you don’t have these formal qualifications. If you’re interested in getting them, you can often work towards them once you’ve started the job.

Having local knowledge is an advantage, as activity coordinators often organise events in the local community, including with schools, churches, charities, local groups and alongside residents’ family and friends.

Activity coordinators need to be good listeners. If a resident has a particular desire to try a new activity, coordinators should do their best to make it happen. Similarly, if residents have feedback or a complaint about an activity, this should be taken on board to try and improve the experience for everyone the next time around.

Above all, if you want to be an activity coordinator, you’ll need to be creative, enthusiastic, optimistic and really care about people.

Training on the Job

When you start working in a care home, you will need to get your Care Certificate as part of your induction, in addition to completing health and safety training – including first aid training.

Some activity coordinators then go on to pick up their Health and Social Care Diploma while on the job. Depending on the type of care home you work in, you may be given more specific training for things like working with people with dementia, autism or other conditions. Being able to balance this training with work is where excellent time management skills come in handy.

You'll also learn new skills about working together with your colleagues to create personalised care plans for residents - learning the likes and dislikes of any new residents is incredibly important for any activities you choose for the home.

What Does an Activity Coordinator Do in a Care Home?

There’s an amazing range of fun care home activities available at the homes of today – these are just a few of the more popular ones that activity coordinators may include in their programme:

  • Arts and crafts

  • Reading and poetry

  • Language classes

  • Singing and music activities

  • Chair-based exercise

  • Yoga or Pilates

  • Bingo

  • Pub quizzes

  • Movie nights

  • Board game nights

  • Trips to the theatre

  • Excursions to nearby towns or places of interest

A diverse activities programme is a must – not everyone likes to do the same things and fewer options available might risk isolating residents.

If a resident has been sitting away from the group and seems reluctant to participate, an activity coordinator should gently approach them to ask whether there are any activities they particularly want to try.

The life of an activities coordinator is a busy one – and you should expect to be on your feet a lot! However, there's never a dull moment and through getting to know each resident and their likes and dislikes, the role can be really rewarding.

As the importance of overall physical and mental wellness becomes a greater focus in our care homes, the role of an activities coordinator will be essential to ensure that residents are happy, stimulated and have a great quality of life.

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