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  • 8 Dec 2020 17:24 | Anonymous member

    I’m not good enough. Why did I do that? I’m wasting your time. I’ve done it wrong. They don’t believe me. Why did I say that? They don’t want me here. What is wrong with me?

    Many of us live with a mental health problem.

    I live with anxiety. Often my thoughts get stuck on loop and I struggle to break a continuous feeling that I am inadequate in both who I am and what I do. Even as I write this, I do so wondering whether this will be worth the time I’m spending on it.

    I’m fortunate in that I work for an employer who recognises the importance of acknowledging that I can suffer from poor mental health and encourages me to be open about it. I am told that the strength of a group relies on the strength of the individuals within. By understanding each other we can work together more effectively to support those who live at our homes.

    That encompasses all professional relationships within the home - carer to carer, carer to manager, manager to catering staff. After all, how can we expect to take of others if we cannot look after ourselves. By coming together, we can achieve and sustain the outstanding standards we set ourselves in providing care.

    When I started with the Evolve Care Group, I was encouraged to be open and embrace my identity. I must admit that this made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I didn’t want to present my baggage or air my dirty laundry in full view for all to see. But by embracing the openness and honesty bred throughout the company I now enjoy a two-way relationship that benefits both my employer and I. This ‘culture of comfortability’ created in my place of work allows for others to recognise when I am struggling and give me either the space or reassurance I need for me to operate to the best of my abilities.

    - Josh De Witt
  • 27 Nov 2020 12:57 | Anonymous member

    For me family has always been the people around you that you can rely on – the ones that are always there, the ones who don’t judge, the ones that you will do anything for.

    When designing a model of care we wanted to instill these family values in the team; into the community that we called a care home.

    We have found that the language that we use, the labels that we attach to both people and interactions are extremely important. The word that is used to describe a person can set the tone of the way in which we approach them.

    The label family immediately gives a different status to the person about whom you are referring to. You give your family member more importance than the unnamed person that you met on the street two days ago. If someone is your family member there is a social expectation that you will know everything about that person. If I asked you when your Aunt’s birthday is, there would be an expectation that you would know.

    These values are values that we want to actively encourage in care communities.

    So we dived into the world of sociology and found the generally accepted definition of family member to be:

    “We’ll define family as a socially recognized group (usually joined by blood, marriage, cohabitation, or adoption) that forms an emotional connection and serves as an economic unit of society. Sociologists identify different types of families based on how one enters into them.”

    At the time it made perfect sense. We want to create families within our communities where the barriers are broken down, people are important to each other, and love and bonds are created through knowledge of each other's life histories. It is our hope that our families will then be able to share their dreams and desires with each other.

    So in place of the word service user, resident or client we asked our teams to refer to those people living with us as their family members. The label creates the attitude and drives the values and behaviour that one would expect in a care setting; trust, happiness, openness and love. To be a family member in an Evolve Community does not mean that we are replacing the original family – we simply become an extension of each other’s families in order that we can work together to support the person in care.

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