She said I feel safe here, everyone is friendly, there are things to do if you want them and I can go out when I like – not that I do now I’m more doddery!
I asked Kay “What was the most important thing to her?” Her first answer was her door key which made a lot of sense. She then said she has 2 lovely carers to help her wash and dress every morning. “I don’t know what I’d do without them. I don’t need much help really but I couldn’t cope without them”
I wonder if those carers know how much difference they make and how important they are to Kay. Sometimes just a little help can make a life worth living. With minimal support Kay has maintained her independence and her self- esteem. Just as important is a sense that she is in control of her life symbolised by her precious front door key.
One of the pieces of art work that we looked at was an installation in a small spare room. Residents had worked together with an artist to produce a sculpture of a variety of keys mounted by wires onto a disc that carried a number of small spotlights. In the darkened room the keys were enlarged onto the walls as shadows which really made them look powerful. The shadows were accompanied by a recording of various residents telling short stories they had written about keys. This was such an imaginative way to share the tenants’ thoughts and to promote reactions. It shows the value of employing professional artists to support older people to be expressive. They clearly got great pleasure from producing something that was meaningful to them.