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Dementia Action Hero: The Croft Team

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Dementia Action Hero: The Croft Team

2020 was a particularly challenging year for our team at The Croft, Newtownabbey. Tenants and their families had to contend with the impact of coronavirus. This meant that our team had to manage all of the support that families would otherwise have provided during an outbreak of COVID (shopping, washing, laundry, cleaning, etc.). Due to cancer diagnoses and treatment being delayed the team at their own initiative created a rota to ensure constant one-to-one support, 24 hours a day, to a tenant who would have otherwise been admitted to a nursing home.

“The team at The Croft put their years of experience and dedication to use during this pandemic to help our tenants feel safe and as connected as possible with their family members. Without them providing this professional level of care and making sacrifices in their own lives, we couldn’t have got through such a tough year as well as we did.” Manager of The Croft, Colin Fullerton.

Fighting loneliness was key at The Croft. Families had been prevented from visiting freely during an outbreak of COVID as the site was closed for a period. The team stayed in contact daily with families over phone calls and Zoom to reassure them of the care being given and to provide updates. The delivery of activity and maintaining levels of interpersonal contact helped keep tenants stimulated and active during a very difficult period.

The team rallied together under tough conditions. The Croft was declared by the PHA to be an outbreak site. Having 5 team members isolating at this time represented 25% of the total team unavailable at one time. The remaining team stepped up and volunteered to cancel their leave, agreed to undertake extra shifts and continued to visit and to provide support and care to tenants. The tenants remained their primary focus throughout a difficult and exhausting time.

Sponsored walk for Dementia Action Week. Recently everyone at The Croft took part in a sponsored walk for the Alzheimers Society. Andy Mayhew was in attendance and got some lovely feedback from one of the tenants “…who said that moving there had given her “a great opportunity for a new life” and said she really loved being there.”

Brighter days are ahead for all at The Croft. With the outbreak long behind us, a special sensory garden is being developed this summer. It has been recognised that developing the garden at The Croft will not only improve our tenants’ physical and mental wellbeing, but it will also give them a sense of purpose and empower them to make decisions around the planning of the garden site allowing them to feel included and maintain their cognitive function for as long as possible.

At the garden site. (Left to right, Andrew Ferguson and Irene Low, friends of residents, the Mayor, Cllr Jim Montgomery, Colin Fullerton, scheme manager and Stephen Potter, head of operations.)

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