I am a resident at Stanley Wilson Lodge care home in Saffron Walden where I have lived since 2011, the first three years with my wife of 72 years Agnes whom I sadly lost two years ago.
As a care home resident and retired newspaper man I take an interest in the coverage of care homes in the media. Unfortunately, the news does tend to be on the negative side – sometimes this is justified but very often not.
What seems largely unreported are the unsung heroes, namely the carers, and almost completely unreported, the fact that on occasion carers are struggling to cope with difficulties similar to those of the residents in their care.
I am very lucky with the fantastic care my wife and I have received and it would be almost impossible to single out any particular individual.
But there are two people who, although they have not cared for me personally, I think deserve a mention for their courage.
Coral King and Nicky Curtan both joined Stanley Wilson at the same time in 2010.
Both were well liked by residents and staff alike for the care and compassion with which they approached their jobs. Unfortunately, they both became unwell and could not continue working. In each case they soldiered on full-time (12-hour shifts) and then part-time long beyond the point at which they really should have stopped.
Additionally, Nicky was also persevering with a part-time degree course in person-centred counselling.
From everyone I have spoken to, it is clear that they carried on working as long as they did largely because of their concerns for the residents in their care – true professionals both!,/p>
It would be very easy to dismiss their stories as just being part of everyday life but that would be to ignore the fact that we are talking about two individuals working in a stressful and challenging environment where media criticism, rather than praise is the norm.
In my view they both illustrate the point that it is too easy to view carers simply by reference to the title without thinking about what it really means.
As a postscript I am delighted to be able to say that Nicky recently graduated with a BA (Hons) and Coral has asked me to add that she would like to thank the consultants at Addenbrookes along with family and friends for all their support while having to deal with bone cancer.
– Stanley Bennett (almost 94)