Dementia Club Coordinator: A Day in the Life of Jill

February 22, 2024

Welcome to our ‘A Day in the Life’ series, where we chat to HILS team members to see what they get up to in a typical day and the impact their efforts have on clients across our services.Staff member smiling and looking at happy Dementia Club client

Our Kingfisher Dementia Clubs offer an exciting mix of activities for people with mild to moderate dementia every Monday to Wednesday at the Jubilee Centre in St Albans. As well as providing a great time for clients, the clubs also offer respite for unpaid carers. Our wonderful team currently consists of four caring volunteers and two permanent, highly trained members of staff. One of those individuals is Jill, our Kingfisher Club Coordinator, who oversees all the activities and makes sure everything runs smoothly.

Read on to get a glimpse into a day in the life of Jill when she’s running the Kingfisher Dementia Club…

What does a typical day look like?

Before anything else, preparation is key…

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings involve lots of preparation for the day’s club session to make sure attendees enjoy themselves, eat well, and have fun. Firstly, Jill writes up the plan for the day on the big whiteboard in our Kingfisher room, which involves writing all times next to activities so that clients can see what’s in store for them. She also grabs the latest newspapers and any arts and crafts supplies for the day’s schedule.

Jill then spends some time getting creative by doing some research into fun ideas for the quiz of the day. Quizzes, games, and puzzles are great ways to have fun and can help to stimulate the minds of people living with mild to moderate dementia. After sorting out all the fun stuff, the last bit of preparation is writing up the menu board for lots of people’s favourite part of the day, lunch! Once all the nutritious food options are written up and ready to choose from, Jill then gets the register out so that she’s prepared when clients begin to come in.

Time for clients to arrive…

Clients start to arrive from 10am, and Jill makes sure she speaks to all of the family members dropping off their loved ones to cover any concerns they might have. If there are any new attendees, Jill will always make sure the family members are up to date with everything there is to know about the club and what to expect. She loves making sure people leave the Jubilee Centre relaxed and with a smile, knowing that their loved one with dementia is in safe hands, and in for a great day!

Two dementia club clients smiling and interacting

Jill then helps the volunteers to make tea, coffee, and other refreshments. The staff have established relationships with the clients that come to the clubs regularly, so usually know what drink people will ask for before they make their request.

Once the register is taken to make sure everybody is there, it’s time for the fun to begin! The morning consists of exciting, engaging quizzes with lots of laughter and amusement. Clients then enjoy a seated exercise session with light, gentle movements to help improve circulation. Cerebral quizzes and gentle exercises are known to help cognitive function in those living with dementia or memory problems, so it’s a great way to start the day. Whilst the volunteers are chatting with the clients after the exercises, Jill has a little bit of free time to write up the activity sheet logs for the afternoon. Soon enough, tummies start rumbling and it’s time for lunch.

Jill and the team guide the clients down the corridor to the spacious restaurant where they enjoy a hot, nutritious two-course meal. Did you know we also have a Drop-in Restaurant at the Jubilee Centre every weekday, where guests can enjoy a hot two-course meal in a social setting? Lunch is served from 12.30pm and there is no need to book.

Appetites satisfied, it’s back to the Kingfisher room for tea, coffee, refreshments, and a natter. Jill reads interesting, unusual, and stimulating stories from the local newspapers and everyone gets involved in discussions on the latest news.

Dementia client smiling with a red pen in her hand whilst doing arts and crafts

The afternoon is then jam-packed with fun quizzes, games, or arts and crafts. Jill prides herself on offering a wide range of both group and individual activities, and she works with clients to understand their hobbies and life stories so that the team can create activities that centre around their interests.

And so the day draws to a close…

As 3pm starts to approach, it’s time to get clients ready to head home. As loved ones begin to arrive, Jill enjoys reflecting on the day with everybody and how much fun they had. She checks in with family members again in case any concerns were raised and makes sure everybody leaves the centre happy.

It’s now time to lock the register away, clean up any arts and crafts spillages, and tidy up the room ready for the next day. Jill now has a bit of time to catch up on her emails and do any admin before wrapping up for the afternoon. Another successful Kingfisher Dementia Club session!

It doesn’t stop there…

That’s a typical day for Jill whilst running the Kingfisher Dementia Club, but she also has other tasks to keep her busy throughout the week. This can include processing invoices, booking any external entertainment like singers, staffing schedules, menu planning, and popping to the shops to grab things like squash when the club is running low. She also puts a significant amount of energy into promoting the Kingfisher sessions, whether that’s working with the Communications & Marketing Team on social media advertising or handing out leaflets in the local area.

Jill also helps run the 10-2 Club at the Jubilee Centre every Thursday, where she helps people enjoy a range of activities from pottery and arts and crafts, to sing-alongs and dancing. This multi-tasking superstar also sometimes helps out on a Friday at our other Community Hub, Friendship House in Hatfield.

We are so grateful to team members like Jill who go above and beyond to run great services for older and disabled people in the local community. Are you interested in joining the HILS family alongside great people like Jill? Check out our current vacancies, we’d love to hear from you.

Kingfisher Dementia Club sessions take place Monday to Wednesday at the Jubilee Centre in St Albans. Clients can attend without a loved one or carer, and a diagnosis is not necessary. Anyone can refer themselves, or a loved one, by sending us a referral form.

We also partner with Hertswise, a Hertfordshire-based service designed for people living with dementia, low level memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment, and their carers. Whether it’s a group in your local area, one-to-one sessions, or carer support, Hertswise offer a range of engaging activities,  information, and advice.