Yesterday was a poignant day. Colleagues, residents and their families took part in the National Day of Reflection to mark the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown. We reflected on our collective loss, showed support to those who’ve been bereaved, and acknowledged a sense of hope as we all look forward and hope for a brighter future.
As well as joining the nation for a minute’s silence at midday, we took part in a variety of other activities to enable people to reflect on the past year and to talk about their feelings.
Wendy, scheme manager at Nevill Court in Crowborough said: “My mum (83) and sister (62) both tested positive for covid. The run up to Christmas was so worrying for me, I thought “I could lose 2 members of my family. Roll on to March this year and they both still feel breathless at times and have lost some of their hair. I am concerned that covid has weakened their health but feel so fortunate that they are both still here.”
At Saxonwood care home in Battle residents and staff planted a ‘willow tree of hope’ in the garden.
Joan who lives at Saxonwood shared how she was feeling and said: “We have conquered every day, we have had ups and downs and a few scares, but the carers have really looked after us.”
At Woodlands care home in Crowborough residents took time to decorate their visiting space “The Deer Hut” with flowers and deer.
Residents at Oakwood Court in Haywards Heath, and across our care homes, enjoyed some mindful colouring and displayed their beautiful art in the windows to show support for this National Day of Reflection.
Spirits were lifted at Ardath care home in Bexhill as residents reminisced about the past year and some of their favourite memories. The VE day celebrations are a strong and favourable memory shared by many Ardath residents.
Colleagues took time to reflect together virtually over a morning coffee, discussing how the pandemic has changed the way we work and our daily routine. By embracing video conferencing, people have met more frequently without the need for travel. We’ve not had the sociable chat with colleagues in the office kitchen, but we have been able to enjoy connecting more people from across Sussex who may not have regularly met.
"My team have grown stronger"
Sigita Kaleja, Care Home Manager at Saxonwood in Battle said: “My team have grown stronger over the last year, we’ve been through a lot together and we have relied on each other more than ever. As an organisation I feel like we are one team, I can pick up the phone to anyone and get the support if we need it.”
The sense of community within our care homes has deepened as residents enjoy more sociable times, like becoming one family. Our weekly scrabble clubs are now a daily occurrence, and residents come together earlier for their meals to enjoy a drink and a chat beforehand.
Care home staff feel well connected with residents as they’ve enjoyed more one to one time and have developed their relationships, learning even more about residents’ lives, views and experiences.
We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to reflect and review the last year and together, we are able to see hope in the future and brighter days ahead.