When people ask me what I do for a living I respond with, “I work in a specialist dementia care home and I love it!” I instantly get a look of confusion; how can that be fun?
My name is Emma, and I’m the Marketing Manager here at Vida Healthcare, specialist dementia care provider in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. It’ll soon be twelve months that I’ve been working at Vida and I can hand on heart say, time flies when you’re having fun ?
For most of us, dementia is a word that we associate with our grandparents. It’s a word that many of us don’t really understand and if I’m honest, I never used to need to know much about it.
Rewind back to when my grandfather went into hospital, he suddenly started to lose his memory. This was so difficult for the family as grandad was the one that glued the family together. I was much younger at the time, so for me I had no idea what was going on, and I had never been around anyone with dementia so all I knew was that grandad wasn’t well and we didn’t know how long he had left.
Fast forward to August 2018. Starting my job at Vida Healthcare was exciting, something new, challenging and I was ready to dive right in. My first day on the job was a day of specialist dementia training with Vida’s very own Creative Practice Manager, Theresa McNally. Theresa spent a full day going back to basics and explaining what dementia was, but it was the way she described it and how she brought you into someone’s life who was living with dementia. The words Theresa used, the feelings she made you feel; it really opened my eyes to the disease and made me aware that people living with dementia were just like us, not what I used to think or what many of us think.
The first month working at Vida was a real eye opener, I wanted to understand as much as I could about dementia. I visited the residents, the amazing care assistants and nurses who work so hard to bring joy and happiness to our residents lives every day. I learnt so much and developed my own personal skills within such a short period of time. Some people may wonder why as a Marketing Manager would I need to develop skills to interact with our residents? Well let me tell you, this isn’t just any ordinary job. This job is something special, we are a family, and by family, I mean all of the staff, residents and family and friends. So being on the floor is just as important as being behind the desk.
To explain this, I want to share a little experience with you. One day I visited one of our houses, I saw a new resident sat having a cup of tea and the chair next to her was empty so I asked if I could join her. The resident asked me who I was and before long we were deep in conversation about her family. She told me all about her husband and four sons and to see her face light up was such a beautiful moment for me. She was telling me all about her family trip to Scotland, she explained that she had just got back with her young sons. I was right there with her, enjoying every little memory along the way. She described the car journey up to Scotland, the foods they ate to the weather, it really was magical.
It’s these moments that make my job amazing. Being able to jump into the resident’s world and bring them to life and enjoy a memory with them. If I knew ten years ago what I now know, I would have been able to understand my grandad a lot better and been there for my mum.
Another wonderful thing about Vida is the fact that we don’t just support the resident on their journey with dementia, but we also support their family and friends. No relative is alone here; we offer group sessions, one to one’s, therapy sessions and training.
We are by no means a care home; we are a home that happens to provide the highest quality of care for those living with dementia. If you’re looking for a home that specialises in dementia care for your loved one, give us a call today 01423 788770 or email in**@vi************.uk