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Spotlight on Aged Care: Marg Hayward, Lifestyle Coordinator


Margaret Hayward is the Lifestyle Coordinator at The Salvation Army’s Gill Waminda Aged Care Centre in NSW.
Margaret Hayward is the Lifestyle Coordinator at The Salvation Army’s Gill Waminda Aged Care Centre in NSW.

“For some of the residents, being in a nursing home is one of the hardest things that they’re going to do,” says Margaret (Marg) Hayward, Lifestyle Coordinator at Gill Waminda Aged Care Centre (Gill Waminda). “If we can make them feel welcomed, loved and cared for, then they will feel like this is home, and we’ve done our job.”


Marg has worked at Gill Waminda for over 17 years as the Lifestyle Coordinator. She thoroughly enjoys this role, particularly the social aspects of the work, and believes it suits her as a “bubbly person”.


In her role, Marg seeks to implement programs that excite residents and connect them socially with each other and the staff.


Brian, a resident at Gill Waminda, puts the finishing touches on cupcakes for morning tea.
Brian, a resident at Gill Waminda, puts the finishing touches on cupcakes for morning tea.

The activities Marg plans are often varied according to the unique needs of residents. For example, cooking is one of the favourite pastimes of residents who join in the specialised memory support activities.


“The residents make their own morning and afternoon tea ... they go from prep right through to the clean-up,” she explains. “While the cleaning up is often re-done by the kitchen team, this is a rewarding activity for the residents and most useful in helping them feel a great sense of achievement following their activity.”


Other ‘fan favourites’ at Gill Waminda include the ladies’ quilting and knitting groups and, of course, the foot spa pampering sessions. Many of the men love gardening, with Marg noting that the centre is looking to “get some usable gardens ... to give [the men] ownership” of the project.


Bingo is the most beloved and longstanding activity at the centre. “They just love bingo,” Marg shares, jokingly noting that it always produces a “competitive attitude” among the residents.


Organising social activities are a key priority of Marg’s, especially as social connection is so important for older persons. Many residents already have pre-existing connections, which Marg also seeks to maintain.


The Lifestyle team prepares barbeque breakfasts to help build and maintain social connections. These breakfasts provide an opportunity for residents to spend time with each other and share their feedback on what they want from the centre itself.


Kicking off at 6am, Marg and her team cater for the breakfast requests from residents, “be it pineapple fritters, hash browns, sausages, bacon or tomatoes,” she says.


Marg always goes above and beyond for her residents, but she notes it is all done as a labour of love as the residents daily inspire her. “They teach me so much,” she shares. “If I can become half of what some of these people are, I would just be so proud of myself. They teach me all the time. Not just who I want to be but how I’d like to act. It’s their teachings, their stories, and their methods of doing things. They offer so much of their mountain of wisdom to me.”


 

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