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Feros Care Wommin Bay Residential Village Lifestyle Coordinator Crystal laughing with resident Berryl

Crystal Clear: Wommin Bay Village Lifestyle Coordinator Crystal finds her purpose

Within seconds of meeting Crystal Palmer, you know you’re in the company of someone truly kind, caring, and genuinely passionate about her work. But that’s just it; it’s not ‘work’ for Crystal, who started at Feros Care’s Wommin Bay Residential Village in July last year as their Lifestyle Coordinator.

Spending her days planning fun, interactive, and ‘outside the box’ activities for the residents, the joy she gets from seeing their big smiles is her greatest reward.

From pixels to purpose

An ex-graphic designer who lost have passion for her craft and disliked sitting in front of a computer all day, Crystal longed for a role where she could make a positive difference and work face-to-face with people.

“It wasn’t until I helped care for my own nan who had dementia and was living in an aged care village did I realise that I wanted to work with the elderly,” she says.

“I’d just had my daughter and saw how happy she would make my nan and the other residents when we’d visit. So, I set up an intergenerational class called Jolly Tots, so that the residents could interact with children.”

This passion project spurred her pursuit of a new career, one rich in fulfillment and purpose.

“While I was doing this, I met the Lifestyle Officers and thought, ‘what a cool job!’

Knowing that this line of work would fill her cup and tick all the boxes, Crystal undertook the relevant training – and the rest is history.

Wommin Bay Residential Village Lifestyle Coordinator Crystal with a male resident helping him with the sensory machine.

Not your typical activities

Crystal is highly attuned to what the residents enjoy and has created an activity calendar that taps into their interests and curiosities, whilst optimising their holistic wellbeing.

From trips to Bunnings for DIY workshops to laughing yoga, mini-golf in the café, physio-led gym classes, rides in the back of a trishaw (similar to a pedicab), arts and craft, and live entertainment to name a few, it’s certainly not your typical activities line-up.

“Drumming is very popular, and so is happy hour every Friday,” says a smiling Crystal.

“Each week, we organise a performer to come in to give the residents something new to look forward to. We had an Elvis impersonator recently who was a big hit! He even stayed on for an extra hour to chat to the residents which was so lovely.”

With its laid-back feel, ‘Coffee shop’ is another crowd-puller, especially for those who like to socialise over a cuppa without all the noise.

In contrast, monthly bus trips for six residents are in high demand, often venturing to Twin Towns to enjoy popular entertainers, vocalists, instrumentalists, and other acts.

“Seniors really resonate with music,” says Crystal, “and it’s really nice for them to go out and do something special.”

Ageless bonds

Visits from the local preschool and excursions to a nearby childcare centre never fail to bring a big beaming smile to the residents’ faces – and Crystal’s.

“Watching the interactions is so beautiful. There’s one resident in particular, 103-year-old Geoff, who absolutely loves children. He has a huge family himself and has such a lovely vibe with the children, high-fiving and joking with them.”

“Plus there’s another resident who doesn’t have children, and there is this one little boy who always, without fail, singles him out and sits on his lap.”

“It’s just so heartwarming seeing these connections and the joy it brings both the seniors and the little ones.”

Crystal is also still running her popular intergenerational playgroup once a month, which invites people from the community to come down to the village with their 0–4-year-olds.

“I have always loved seeing the link between elderly and children. It’s very special.”

Silver linings

Chatting with Crystal is an important reminder that there is so much contentment and satisfaction to be gained in working in aged care.

“It’s not what a lot of people think. It’s fun, you meet so many unique characters, and it’s anything but dull.”

As our thoroughly enjoyable and insightful chat drew to a close, she left us with a beautiful sentiment that perfectly encapsulated her experience.

“Seeing the enjoyment the activities bring, the smiles and the interaction, and just getting them excited to come out of their rooms. It’s all so rewarding.”

“I feel really good that I’ve made a difference, that I’m making a difference, in their lives each and every day”.

Click here to learn more about our residential villages, and why life is better, bolder, and brighter with us.

Click here to learn more about exciting and rewarding careers at Feros Care. Not your typical aged care worker? Good, because we’re not your typical aged care organisation.

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