A Wrexham care home worker is celebrating a gold industry award as she plans the ‘best Christmas ever’ for the residents.
Christine Lewis took top honours in the Wales Care Awards for her role as Wellbeing and Activities Co-ordinator at Pendine Park’s Highfield Care Home.
The mother-of-three was a winner in the Promoting Fulfilled Lives category which recognised her commitment to enriching the lives of residents, many of whom suffer dementia.
Christine, 57, is busy creating memory books. Each will bear names in gold letters and will be painted pink for the ladies and blue for the men.
It is hours of painstaking work for Christine who, on Christmas Day, will step into a Santa outfit to hand out more than 60 gifts from the ‘meds’ trolley she decorates in tinsel.
She said: “I love what I do and to win an award for it was overwhelming. My daughter Michelle came with me to the ceremony and we both cried happy tears.”
Every week Christine, who lives in Wrexham, organises art and craft classes, bingo and a mid-week Chinese or curry take-away.
She ensures key events in the year are commemorated. There was a Halloween party, bonfire night fireworks display and Remembrance Day service where she read a self-penned poem.
She added: “The memory books are an idea I’ve had to support the residents with dementia. Often they can’t recall what they had for lunch but will remember things like our Maypole celebration last year. We can place pictures in them and look back on the nice times they have shared.”
Formerly a cleaner in the home, Christine stepped into the role 18 months ago and has a diary packed with activities.
Thursday is film night and on Saturday residents enjoy a sing-along to songs from a book she made herself.
On Valentine’s Day she ensures every resident has a card and red rose. On St. David’s Day, she places daffodils round the home.
At New Year Christine, who has grown up children aged 27, 30 and 34, will lead a Congo dance round the home.
It’s all part of her strategy to bring cheer to what she calls her ‘extended family’ in their final years.
Colleagues, who nominated her for the award, say she is the ‘heart’ of the home.
Manager Tracey Smith said: “Really she just doesn’t know how good she is. She enriches the lives of over 60 residents. We all adore her.”
Christine received the Promoting Fulfilled Lives award, sponsored by Boots Healthcare, at a ceremony at Cardiff City Hall.
The industry gongs, also sponsored by Ontex Healthcare and Barchester Jobs, highlight the remarkable dedication of care workers across Wales.
MC for the evening was opera singer Wynne Evans – better known as Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV adverts.
Presenting Christine’s award was Meri Huws, Welsh Language Commissioner for Wales.
Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.
He added: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.
“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.
“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.
“We take our hats off to them.”