I was delighted and somewhat relieved to hear the recent government announcement that I would once again be allowed to visit my mum in her Care Home, not having seen her since Christmas.
In the intervening period, Care Home staff have kindly offered us the opportunity to participate in a Zoom call with mum or wave to her from outside a window. Whilst we were grateful to be offered these innovative opportunities, unfortunately neither of these options were really viable in our context. Mum’s dementia is at the stage where she does not have the cognitive function to cope with a Zoom call. Mum is a member of the Silent Generation (born pre-1945) and prior to the onset of her condition, many years ago now, she didn’t own a mobile phone never mind a laptop. So, she would have no memories from which to recall communicating via this method. Waving to her through a pane of glass would only have confused her resulting in upset and frustration at not being able to physically touch us.
Of course, we could have chosen to partake in one or both options but what purpose would that have served? Yes, it would have eased our anxiety and lifted our spirits being able to see mum, but would it have contributed to her wellbeing or would it have caused agitation and distress? This was not a risk I wanted to take.
It is easy to overlook how much planning and consideration must go into organising one Care Home visit never mind trying to schedule multiple visits from concerned relatives all whilst ensuring that the correct safety measures and protocols are in place and adhered to. This undertaking must involve a huge collaborative team effort demonstrating trust and cohesion.
Alongside the new norm of adhering to social distancing measures, I will be required to take an onsite lateral flow Covid test prior to each future visit with mum. Following the Care Home guidelines, I will have to wait for 30 minutes ‘in the car’ for the result. No problem. Wait a minute, I don’t drive!
My 30-minute visit will be supervised by a carer which some people may view as intrusive, however carers are present for everyone’s safety and this demonstrates their total dedication to the residents they support and look after.
I have come to realise that being a caring assistant or a support worker in Social Care is truly vocational. I am in awe of their drive, passion and continued commitment during these unprecedented times. We need look no further to find an example of members of our communities who are making a real difference with their contribution to society.
They epitomise some of the core fundamentals of The Glassmoon System™ with their connection to their purpose, their resilience, sustainability and the interconnected way in which they work. To be able to think outside the box, when no two working days are the same and no two residents’ medical conditions are identical is testament to their cognitive flexibility and ability to adopt a growth mindset.
“In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.” Carol S Dweck
My family and I feel safe and secure in the knowledge that mum is receiving the best possible care from a skilled team of unique human beings who will always put her safety and wellbeing at the forefront of everything they do. You can’t put a price on peace of mind.
So, in answer to my own question, yes, we do still care about our carers. More than ever. Despite the recent government announcement of a mere 1% salary increase for these key frontline workers, at Glassmoon we will always have the utmost respect, appreciation and recognition of your ‘above and beyond’ selfless achievements.
Check out part one of this blog here.