As an Activities Coordinator at Balhousie Monkbarns, Angela Crosby is proud to be able to bring smiles to the residents every day.

Joining Balhousie in 2021, Angela has spent her life working in the care sector and looking after people who need extra support. “I was brought up with somebody who had learning disabilities, so I’ve worked with people of all ages, from young children to much older people,” explains Angela.

Earlier in her career, Angela wasn’t sure if she could work with older people, worrying that she would get too attached to them. “I do get attached. I see all these remarkable ladies and gentlemen that live here and they’re all like my grannies and grandads.”

Angela’s attitude is that, just because they’re older, it doesn’t mean their life isn’t for living. “What I do is all about making them feel special. It’s not just about coming in, having a cup of tea and a wee chat with them. It’s actually finding out about that person, their interests, because it can spark ideas for person-centred activities that are meaningful to them.”

To say Angela is passionate about what she does is an understatement. She lives and breathes activities and is always planning, thinking ahead about what experiences she can give the residents. “We have a weekly planner which is displayed on the noticeboard the Friday before with all the following week’s activities on it. We create these by going for one-to-one room visits to find out what the residents would like to do and try to make the activities person-centred so that people are getting to do things they enjoy and in a social setting as well.”

With a deep interest in understanding dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, Angela studied dementia at the University of Stirling for two years. “It fascinated me. It was something I felt really passionate about and that I could make a difference in.”

The results of Angela’s hard work is  plain to see in the home with many happy and busy residents. Monkbarns has live musical performances twice a month which are hugely subscribed to by the residents (and staff!). There’s Bailey the therapy dog, a cockapoo who regularly comes in for a cuddle. There’s also trips out into the local community ranging from going to the circus to pub lunches.

“We have a lady here who is in a wheelchair and said she can’t dance. Now, she comes down from her toom whenever there’s live music and can usually be found in the middle of the dancefloor using her hands to dance,” says Angela. “Nothing stops us here!”

When it comes to being an Activities Coordinators, according to Angela, loving your job is a must, but you have to be full of fun as well.

“You’ve got to have an outgoing personality. I certainly have an outgoing personality – too much at times!  You have to be caring as well. These people are somebody else’s mum, dad, granny, grandad and this is their home. You have to be passionate and not afraid to put yourself out there. Once you’ve cracked that, it’s so rewarding.

“I love my job. If I can put a smile on somebody’s face or have a resident tell you they’ve had a brilliant day, or a member of their family say their mum used to be socially isolated and now has a better social life than they do, then I know I’m doing my job properly.”