REFLECTIONS OF CARE HOME DAY 2020 AND "COME ZOOM WITH ME!"
Yesterday was Care Home Day 2020. Care Home Day, now in its second year, is an online event organised by Scottish Care which aims to promote and raise awareness of care homes. Through the sharing of good news stories from care homes across Scotland, it aims to “bust myths about Care Homes and recognise the role they play in our communities” https://scottishcare.org/event/care-home-day-2020/. The theme of this year’s Care Home Day was “Care Community”. Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeanne Freeman MSP spoke of how the care sector has always been dedicated to not only creating a sense of community for its residents but also to foster relationships with local communities https://twitter.com/scotgovhealth/status/1283325641899868160.
Dr Donald Mackaskill, CEO of Scottish Care describes community as a place where people belong https://scottishcare.org/care-home-day-blog-from-our-ceo/. As a church Houston and Killellan Kirk seek to serve our community, reinforcing the message that all have a valued place and belong to our community.
In my role as Families and Community Development Worker at the Kirk, one of my priorities was to find ways to support people living with dementia in our community and foster a sense of belonging. I had planned to do this by setting up a dementia inclusive social group that would take place in the Kirk Halls on a regular basis. The group would be open to all members of the community including those who were living in care homes. However, due to the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic this was group never came into being.
As I thought about how as a church, we could find a way to develop community relationships with persons living with dementia now that we were no longer able to meet people face to face I decided to start a weekly online sing-along called “Come Zoom with Me!” “Come Zoom with Me!” is open to all members of the community and fully inclusive for people living with dementia and takes place every Wednesday on Zoom at 3pm.
“Come Zoom with Me!” started with a small group of very enthusiastic people joining from their own private homes. The group includes people living with and without a diagnosis of dementia. Unsure of how this online way of coming together would work for a “sing-along” we quickly began to find our feet mastering the technical aspects of going online and became quite creative in making our own homemade percussion instruments that we would use through the sessions! We have since been joined by more people living with and without dementia which includes residents and staff from a care home.
As I think about Care Home Day 2020 and the focus on community relationships between care homes and local communities I can’t help but notice how quickly and naturally a strong community relationship and sense of belonging has developed between all of those who join our “sing-along”, whether they live in a care home, or in their own private house.
Theologian John Swinton (2012, p183) writes that “to belong you need to be missed”. At “Come Zoom with Me!” we all look forward sharing music, singing, and dancing. We also look forward to seeing each other, chatting and laughing. Each person that comes along brings something special to the group, whether it’s their smile, their enthusiasm, their stories, their laughter or joy. If anyone does not appear on our “Come Zoom with Me!” screen every Wednesday afternoon at 3pm, they are certainly greatly missed! Each person is valued, and each person belongs!
It has been really encouraging to be able to make new connections with people living in the community and foster the relationship and sense of belonging with all that join “Come Zoom with Me!” It is lovely to be part of and watch the growing relationships between the members of the “Come Zoom with Me!” community. In doing so and in the spirit of Care Home Day 2020, we are able to fully recognise the important and valued role that the Care Home play in being part of our community group too.
Swinton, J. (2012) From Inclusion to Belonging: A Practical Theology of Community, Disability and Humanness, Journal of Religion, Disability and Health. Vol 16 (2), pp. 172-190.