In March 2020 the world changed. The happy go lucky family environment within care homes up and down the country was turned upside down. Smiles were hidden behind masks and hugs were replaced with elbow bumps and virtual high fives. Hand sanitiser stations were installed on every corner and temperatures recorded daily. Open door policies were disbanded, and we locked down, for how long, we had no idea.
Day trips and entertainers gave way to socially distanced activities and family visits were replaced with Zoom calls and emails. Looking back, it all feels a little surreal, as if we were the cast of a movie, we watched the daily briefings from behind our visors and did our best to reassure our residents that they were safe and that it would soon be over. On the outside we displayed a positive vibe, whilst on the inside we were frightened, frightened for ourselves, for our families and frightened for the residents who had no choice but to put their trust in us.
Two years on we are still battling to keep our residents safe, we are all vaccinated, and we are all wearing masks, we test several times a week and continue to practice hand sanitising regularly. Covid has not gone away, but we are learning to live with it.
This week to mark the two-year anniversary West Northamptonshire Council invited us to a “Social Care Day of Remembrance and Reflection Memorial Service”, held on 17th March. Many of our residents expressed a desire to attend but sadly were unable to due to an increase in positive cases in the area.
Helen, our lifestyle manager attended the service which honoured staff who had worked so hard throughout the last two years to provide care to those in need. The organisers had asked that those attending brought tulips, the flower chosen as the representative symbol of the day. Here at Timken our residents created their own tulip cascade to adorn the side of our home and we held our own service to look back over the last couple of years. It was an emotional day, but one that ended in joy, we reminisced, we laughed, and we felt grateful to have had each other to lean on.