Lisa with Sam
During the first UK lockdown, residents were supported by Lisa to create a tree wall feature
Molly with her hug sent home
Chris making soup
Louise proud of her cake
Lisa has worked at The Meath as a Support Worker for 6 years, firstly at Little Meath and now at Cedar View. Seeing Lisa with the people she supports around The Meath, or even receiving her emails about some of the things that residents achieved with her that day, never fails to put a smile on my face. It is always clear to see that she has enabled the people she supports to have a good day. But Lisa finds that that the residents she supports give back as much as she gives.
“I go to work smiling and leave smiling. I love it. I’ve never been happier in a job, Cedar View is always busy, full of laughter, chat and energy.”
Lisa has experience of care and disability from a young age. Her Grandmother was a warden at care homes and she used to stay with her when visiting care homes from the age of 6. Lisa recalls putting on plays for the elderly residents and serving them drinks with her sister and cousins. Lisa explained that her sister has taught her a great deal about caring for someone who has a disability.
“My sister Tanya lives with a physical and learning disability. She has a heart condition and curvature of the spine which gives her reduced mobility and, very sadly, she has also recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Working at The Meath as a Support Worker means that I can apply what I learned growing up and give the love that I have for supporting people with disabilities. I also think that my personal experiences help me view things from the perspective of family members.”
The various lockdowns and periods of not being able to see loved ones or visit places have been extremely difficult for the people we support and their families. Support Work is a vital part of any resident’s wellbeing at any time, but perhaps Lisa’s tenacity and determination to see the people she supports “busy, smiling and happy” is even more apparent during these challenging times. Lisa proudly told me that she received an ‘unsung hero award’ at the start of the pandemic.
“It gave a real boost at such a challenging time”.
One of the biggest challenges for the people we support is that they miss their loved ones terribly. During lockdown Lisa supported residents to send a ‘Hug Home’, this provided a sociable craft session which allowed Cedar View housemates to chat about what they miss but to also feel that they are doing something constructive about their feelings by making a relative feel happy. As Lisa explained, it is also a huge challenge for residents who found themselves unexpectedly away from The Meath for longer than planned. A hug home was also well received by Molly who had found herself in exactly this situation.
So how do you fill a day in lockdown with fewer Skills Centre sessions running and a distinct lack of visitors or trips out?
“One of the things that works very well for the people I support at Cedar View is encouraging them to get involved with making meals. Often, we make something simple such as fresh soup and rolls but despite it sounding like a small thing, it offers them the things they need such as a chat while we prepare it all, practicing of planning skills and of course the sense of achievement that they get from it.”
Another lockdown mainstay for the residents at Cedar View has been crafting together. Any calendar occasion always offers some great crafting inspiration, but Cedar View residents are also adept at having a go and trying something new just because they feel like it!
Lisa especially enjoys helping the residents to develop and realise their own ideas. During the first UK lockdown, residents were supported by Lisa to create a tree wall feature from coloured paper, the tree has been decorated for many occasions in the months since and as has brought Cedar View residents so much joy.
“The tree has been amazing, since its first incarnation, they chose elves for the Christmas theme, followed by Hannah’s Disney inspired tree and then Louise chose animals and parrots, which were made from their handprints. We are soon to work on some bunnies and Easter eggs!”
Lisa and her colleagues have also reassured Cedar View residents that the pandemic is not forever, and they have spoken about some of the things that they are most looking forward to being able to enjoy again.
“After lockdown we’re all going to the seaside and having fish and chips. After seeing loved ones, that was next on their list!”
Even during periods of lockdown, it seems that there is always lots going on at Cedar View. Seemingly, no day is ever the same for Lisa, with the exception that on arrival the residents are always pleased to see her, and when she leaves everyone shouts, “Bye lovely Lisa!”