Thousands of caregivers across Schlegel Villages bring a gift from within themselves to the residents they serve. Their kindness, compassion, dedication and unique personalities blend with the people they support to create a family within their Village and, as Caregiver’s Week unfolds, they are honoured and celebrated.
The strength of each team member is seen in the countless ways they inherently follow the five key pillars of the Schlegel Villages CONNECT the Dots customer service philosophy in all they do. These Credos – Build Trust, Follow Through, Know Me, Be Present and Walk in My Shoes – are the foundation of support in the Villages. Residents feel secure in knowing the people who care for them understand who they are and what they need to be fulfilled in each moment.
But even the most gifted and selfless of caregivers has been tested in the past 14 months. Fear and worry mixed with grief and sorrow as COVID-19 spread through long-term care and retirement settings across the country. Masks, gowns, gloves and face shields became heavier with each hour, each shift every day, week after week, yet the caregivers still offered their gifts and they offer them still.
At the Village of Erin Meadows, team members in the Egerton and Emma’s neighbourhood offer just one example of what this can look like in the simple act of offering a haircut to the residents they serve. When restrictions came down with the most recent lockdown, residents could no longer visit the Village hairdresser; Sachpreet Kaur, Swastika Karki and Sunita Thapa all felt they could add a little comfort to those residents they knew would appreciate a trim. These are neighbourhoods where many residents live with some form of dementia, so loved ones were consulted and were thankful for the offer. It may seem like such a simple thing, but there is a level of trust that must be built for a resident to be comfortable with a team member cutting their hair, and Sachpreet and Swastika are thankful they’ve built that trust.
“When they see their haircut, they say ‘Thank you! It’s so beautiful,” Swastika says with a smile. Sachpreet adds that its heartwarming to the residents all smile at the added compliments they receive throughout the neighbourhood.
“And now they trust us even more,” Sachpreet says.
“We are very close with the residents,” adds Swastika. “We know whatever their likes and dislikes are,” which is one of the foundations of the caregivers’ connections with residents, especially when the changing perceptions of dementia are involved.
There are countless examples of team members in every corner of The Village offering more of themselves beyond their ‘role’ to enhance the lives of residents. They are seen in the extra effort a caregiver makes to create a special meal for a residents’ birthday or when they know just the song to play to inspire a feeling of joy in a resident’s heart.
In early May as Caregiver’s Week is upon us, rays of hope for fewer restrictions are on the horizon. Everyone looks forward to this but, while we wait, we honour every ounce of extra effort Schlegel Villages team members have offered in these difficult times.
We have weathered the most difficult of days because of them.