A Resident’s View
As you first walk through the door to this home your first thoughts are what is it like here? Will I settle in? Will I be happy? What if? My escort keeps assuring me: you be’ll alright.
Having spent nearly three years residing here, joining my wife who had already spent over a year residing here, but unfortunately has now passed away, so I am on my own. What do I feel now? In the first few weeks I began to realise that there was an easy going relaxed atmosphere here at Summerland House, obviously there were certain easy rules to be followed because of the nature of things, but no more restrictive than one would impose on themself in their own home.
The first thing I noticed was that I was given a nice, warm, comfortable room, I was free to arrange things as I wanted, and I was also able to bring in some of my own accessories, such as personal pictures to put on the wall.
Because of the way the staff operate on a rotating basis I was soon able to get to know all the nurses and carers by name and in such a friendly way, and more importantly they get to know you — your abilities and disabilities, your likes and dislikes, your tastes in food, your interests, etc., and this in itself helps one to relax and not to complain, “no one understands me.”
A hurdle to be overcome is any embarrassment one might feel about being dressed, undressed, bathed or whatever, by a member of the opposite sex, but one has to accept that this is part of life in a nursing home.
What of the food? A good question. As everybody has varying tastes I appreciate that at time the kitchen staff must find it difficult catering for so many different people, some of whom are diabetic or have other medical conditions, and so must be careful what they eat. However, in spite of that, there is always a very varied choice of items on the daily menus and as I look around the dining room at lunch times, it seems that most people are happy with what they have chosen for that day, and I am more than happy with the standard of the food served to me.
In my advancing years I find there are many benefits of residing in Summerland House: I am still free to come and go at any time — such as my family being able to take me on outings. I no longer have to worry about such things as electricity bills, water bills, laundering, ironing, getting meals ready, and the fear of — when living on you own — either falling and injuring myself or being taken ill and no one knowing, and I could perhaps be left for hours or even days. I am free from the fear of becoming a recluse and not keeping myself clean and feeding properly and gradually becoming in a squalid state. I am free from the fear of living alone with no friends and no one to talk to. To an elderly person these things can be important.
Here I am never alone, even when sat in my room, doing nothing in particular, I know there are people around. Although, having said that, there is the occasion when sitting alone in the evenings with only the TV as company, you can, if your not careful, let yourself become a bit morbid and feeling sorry for yourself.
Each day there are various activities I can take part in if I so wish, and here I have a particular interest in playing cards a couple of times a week as well as using a computer, and even if you suffer any disability and some of the activities might be difficult for one to participate in, such as getting on the mini-bus for an outing — which has been adapted to take wheelchairs — the staff will always do their best to accommodate your requirements and help you.
Am I happy and contented here? Yes I am. Because from here on in I have made this my home.