By the nature of what we do here at The Daily Sparkle, we are always trying to make sure we keep care and compassion at the heart of our business. Every day our team makes an extra effort to ensure that what we’re doing is putting people first, and we are very proud of the difference we make to people’s lives every day.
Recently, just before Christmas, our team was called on again to go that extra mile. As part of our corporate subscription, we offer an extra service for residents approaching their 100th birthday. Using information gleaned from the care home and the resident’s family, we put together a personalised Daily Sparkle. It is a wonderful thing, with unique content on their favourite things, their life, their family and other points of interest. When we got in touch with a care home to mark a particular resident’s 100th birthday, we were dismayed by the very limited information available on her. As one of our team said: “This has made me feel really sad. After 100 years of living there is so little information. I can only imagine all the things that she has seen over the years and experienced and yet there is so little to say.”
This sadly is something that happens all the time, especially when people reach such an impressive age, but it struck a chord with us all. This lady had nobody, and nobody had much of a clue about who she is - in any meaningful way. With her birthday so close to Christmas (23 Dec) we decided to do something special for her.
On her day itself, I travelled up from Dorset to Yorkshire to visit her, taking with me a personalised Daily Sparkle featuring pictures of teddy bears (which she loves) and sweets (which she also loves!), as well as a bunch of flowers, a CD of music and a hamper of different sweets and treats. She was a lovely old lady, very sweet-natured, and she held my hand as tight as she could throughout the hour long visit. While she didn’t open her eyes for much of my stay, I felt sure she knew we were there and that somewhere this extra effort made for her on this day had been appreciated.
As I travelled back on the train that evening, with everyone around me in a jolly, festive mood, I thought back on this lady’s life and this momentus birthday, which could have gone so unnoticed. The activity coordinator at the care home had also told me that this situation is all too common for the very old in care homes who have no family, and as the train rolled its way south I resolved that there must be more we can do to recognise and appreciate people like this.
Of course, the answers aren’t immediately obvious, but we will endeavour as we go about our daily business to think of ways that the lives and experiences of those people whose families are no longer around are not forgotten.
And we would welcome ideas and suggestions too, so please get in touch if this story has struck a chord with you. The more we work together, the more we can achieve.