In this series, we bring you a chat with some of our residents. This month, we meet Mary from our Orpington home.
Mary is one of our Orpington residents. For the past three months, she has been making the most of the pandemic thanks to her positive take on life. While she has struggled with not seeing her family, there have been lots of “wonderful” moments to look back on, such as using Face Time to speak to her daughter in Australia more often. In this Q&A, Mary tells us why spontaneity is the secret to staying positive during lockdown.
How have you found the experience of lockdown in your Baycroft home?
Well, when my son and his wife came to see me, we had to have a conversation through the window. I was wondering what they were doing as I didn’t know about coronavirus at the time. I said, ‘Have you rung the bell?’ He said, ‘Yes mum, we’re not allowed to come in.’ And I thought, hang on, what have you done? Well, of course, they were just careful about the virus. My son said he was lucky to be there, police were taking people off the road. He’s a good boy, so he stood outside in the rain and kept me company.
Have you been able to keep in touch with family and friends through remote technology?
We’re on the phone all the time. My daughter, Beverly, lives in Australia—so we have been using a tablet to speak over Face Time. I speak to my two boys nearly every week, so it’s really important to try to find the time to speak to her, too. The only problem with Face Time is that, as soon as I see my family online, I just want to see them in person.
How have Baycroft staff helped you at this time?
We’re not allowed to go on different floors because it’s important to keep the residents in a bubble. The staff are always very good, and we usually enjoy a coffee. Whoever came up with the idea of free coffee should get a promotion. Even when things are bad, a good cup of coffee sorts everything out.
Has the crisis changed your routine?
My routine hasn’t changed too much. I miss seeing friends, going shopping and visiting garden centres. I’m really looking forward to going to a posh restaurant when this is over. We used to have a hairdresser at Baycroft, and a group of boys used to come in and sing to us. I always call them ‘young boys’ but one of them told me off because he thought he was a grown-up. At my age, they all look young.
How are you maintaining your wellbeing?
Some of the staff took on temporary hairdressing duty this week and gave us a wash and a blow-dry. We’ve been doing some exercise recently, too—although, I mostly just watch the staff. We went for lunch on the terrace, and I had a nice mocktail. Lots of singing, and sometimes I play the piano. But you’ll have to ask the youngsters. They’re quick. If I ever forget anything, they can tell me what I did in an instant. I think the most important thing is just to keep having little surprises.
Do you have any advice for the other residents?
Don’t sit in your lounge and do nothing. Think about what you wanted to do just a few years ago and use this time to do it. I’ve spent more time in the garden and read more books.
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