Anna Curmi, Active Ageing Coordinator, Casa Marija
Anna has been employed with CareMalta for three years. She previously occupied the role of housekeeper. Her typical day starts early in the morning with rounds greeting the residents and encouraging them to participate in daily activities.
“Keeping residents engaged and active in the daily routine of the home is a such a beautiful task. We dance, draw, sing, tell stories, have competitions, bingo, water games, pet therapy sessions and say the rosary together.
“The residents appreciate every little gesture and love the activities, since most enjoy being independent and like their freedom. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they had to give this up.
“I also make it a point to visit residents who are unable to get out of bed, talk to them for a while and organise a number of bedside activities too.
“It was very hard for me throughout the pandemic, especially during those times when I was in quarantine and could not be there for our residents to cheer them up. Now, that we are slowly going back to some normality, I’m so eager to see a smile on their faces once again. We have also started our outings and the residents love them, especially after such a long lockdown experience.
Carol Galea, Active Ageing Facilitator, Casa San Paolo
Carol is a beautiful person, inside and out. When she is not working, she loves to spend time with her 86-year-old mother who lives with her and the family, read a book or watch a good film.
“I love coming to work at 7am to find the residents waiting, either to wish me a good day or update me with what has happened while I was away.
“I then start getting ready for daily activities. Every single one starts with a good cup of coffee. Bingo is a big favourite. We also have a Maltese board game, which takes residents down memory lane and life in days gone by. Many residents talk about the war, while others remember special dates.
“Many talk about how hard it was to raise a family, recounting many a heartwarming story about their parents or children. This makes me appreciate life and the many blessings I have. Every moment is precious. We must live for today, as nobody knows what tomorrow might bring. Whatever life throws at us, we must accept it and keep moving forward.
“The pandemic has been a huge blow to our residents. They felt isolated, being unable to see and hug their loved ones or even meet up with other residents.
“What I really enjoy about my work is having the chance to make a difference in a person’s life by just listening and being there. I try to make every resident feel special by becoming their best friend. I pray that the pandemic will be over soon, so that our residents can touch, hug and kiss their loved ones without restrictions, thus enjoying every moment for as long as God permits.”
Claire Camilleri, Active Ageing Facilitator, Żejtun Home
Claire has been working at the Żejtun Home for the past 16 years and she wouldn’t change a thing in her life. She started off as a kitchen assistant and worked her way up in no time. Claire’s day starts early. She goes round informing residents about their two activities of the day.
“No one ever expected the pandemic to hit so suddenly, but we tried our best to work around it, giving the elderly a normal life as much as possible. During last year’s company lockdown in March, I lived at the home for four weeks. When this ended, I had mixed feelings, as I missed my family, but I also missed our residents.
“Spending time with them during activities is what I enjoy most. We knit together, play board games, laugh, cry, read, do crafts with recycling material, watch a good film and even cook and bake. The fact that they appreciate what I do for them is so fulfilling. They are loving and kind and the stories they share are amazing.
“Activities help them physically and mentally and since our timetable is quite varied, they get the chance to move around too. We try to cover and combine all the things they enjoy doing in our daily plan. Now that some restrictions have eased, we are even going on the occasional outing.
“I sincerely hope that these sad times pass quickly, so they can start a normal life.”
Marion Abdilla, Active Ageing Facilitator, Villa Messina
Marion has occupied her current role for over two years. She started working with CareMalta as a carer in 2016, after which she was promoted to senior carer, always at Villa Messina. She is currently studying for a Higher Diploma in Gerontology and Geriatrics at the University of Malta.
“I love to spend the little free time that I have in the countryside with my family. Working as an active ageing facilitator is fulfilling and rewarding, as I truly enjoy seeing our residents happy and looking forward to a new day every day.
“The pandemic has been a very difficult time for older persons. At the very beginning, during our company lockdown, the residents were cocooned inside with us and daily residential life, with its ups and downs, was very much alive.
“But when COVID-19 cases went up and the virus started to spread in care homes, activities came to a complete halt due to strict measures in place. Now that the situation has greatly improved, thanks to the vaccine, and some restrictions have been eased, residents can go out and see their relatives.
“In fact, we are gradually reintroducing daily meaningful activities for smaller numbers in a bid to breathe new life into our home, always following infection control measures and recommendations by public health authorities.
“Our residents love to spend time in the beautiful garden at Villa Messina. Every day, they can join different activities, such as keep fit classes, bingo, outdoor crafts, reminiscence and memory sessions, dancing, singing and reading.
Marvic Muscat, Active Ageing Coordinator, Casa Arkati
Marvic, of Żebbuġ, is married to Raymond and has three children, Rebecca, Paul and Luċija. She joined Casa Arkati recently, after being a carer at Villa Messina for two years.
One of seven siblings, “as children, we were always going to my grandparents’ house, as they too lived in Żebbuġ. I remember accompanying my mother to take care of her parents, who needed a lot of help. So I was always surrounded by love,” she says.
From a young age, Marvic loved sports, being actively involved in the school’s netball team. She also enjoyed drama, crafts and socialising. Having attended trade school, she made it a point to learn how to sew, cook and create hand-made items. She is in her element with the residents. Every morning, she organises a daily schedule of activities, encouraging them to take part and remain active.
“My motto is to treat every resident like your own parents, wanting the best for them.”
Having faced a few tough challenges along the years, Marvic says: “I have learnt to appreciate every minute of my life. I’m also using all my knowledge and past experiences to do my very best in this new job. With God’s help, I hope to make a difference.” in our residents’ social life.”
Laetitia D’Alessandro, Active Ageing Facilitator, Roseville
Laetitia started working for the Vassallo Group 10 years ago and moved to CareMalta a year later as a care assistant at Zammit Clapp. After three years, she decided to undertake a development course, which led her to become a senior carer. In 2019, she moved to Roseville as active ageing facilitator.
“My mornings are taken up by planning a daily activity schedule for the residents. I then go round their rooms to let them know what activities are on and to encourage them to participate. The home is always buzzing with activity, from crafts and gardening to dancing and games. Lunchtime is a busy affair too and the residents look forward to catching up while enjoying their favourite food.
“The afternoons are usually dedicated to those residents who, for various health reasons, cannot engage in group activities. I also help with the daily animation of Mass and administering Holy Communion to residents.
“As an active ageing facilitator, you need to be dedicated, passionate, committed, disciplined and creative to keep a diverse community entertained, while trying to reach out to each individual person. It is wonderful to see the residents’ faces on a Monday, as they look forward to activities. So, particularly now that it has become easier to hold activities for the residents as they can move around in small groups, we are also organising small weekend events, such as watching football games.”
Nedy Psaila, Active Ageing Facilitator, Zammit Clapp Hospital Residential Home
Nedy, from the Philippines, has been living in Malta for nine years. She has been working with CareMalta since 2016 and took up her current post only last year. She loves to spend time in the countryside, as it gives her the serenity and calmness, especially after a hectic week.
Her favourite Maltese word is bonġu (good morning), and this is the first thing she says to the residents each morning, as she walks in to work.
“Now that some measures have been relaxed, I start off by planning daily activities and outings together with the care team, as well as collecting ideas for upcoming events, even from the residents themselves.
“Fortunately, I can once again pop my head into their rooms to remind them about crafts or any other activity planned for the day. Our activity programmes were put on hold during the second wave of the pandemic, as residents were mostly kept in their rooms in a bid to keep safe. They all suffered boredom and loneliness.
“Now that we are slowly regaining some normality, it is so exciting to be involved in various activities that will help our residents to keep well physically, socially and mentally. I am already seeing an improvement in their mood; participating helps them forget their aches and pains.
“This is the best part of my job – seeing the smiles. Music therapy is everyone’s favourite activity, followed by gardening, cooking, games, reading… the list is endless.
“This virus has brought us to our knees and created challenges for everyone, particularly our elderly. I hope everyone will be safe.”