This is Mrs Malcolm, or Lesley, as she insists on being called, in preference to her given name; Patricia. Like her name, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Lesley.
She is a model. She would say “was a model” but you only have to chat to her for a minute, as I did while she was having her nails done today, to realise she still is a model.
She may not be wearing the latest Yves Saint Laurent creation or jetting off to Paris for a photo shoot, but looking fabulous and paying meticulous attention to the detail of her nails is still as important to her as it ever was.
I must admit, I felt a little sorry for Kelly, being put through her manicure paces and having to ensure Lesley’s nails were identical in length, but she was loving it. After all, Kelly had offered to help Lesley with it, recognising how important it was to her, and quite frankly, how often do you get to converse with someone who moved in those circles?
Sure, you might be thinking ‘what’s the big deal, people have their nails done all the time’, and you’re right, I haven’t chosen this as an example of something that wouldn’t happen in other care homes. I just wonder how many carers would see it as an opportunity to transport that person to a time in their life when they had their biggest sense of purpose, and make them realise that they are still that same person?
Lesley is still a model in our eyes, and in that moment she was in her own eyes too.
We provide this kind of meaningful occupation not to prevent people from being bored or lonely (a game of Scrabble might have achieved that), but to empower people to feel like themselves again.
Charlie Hoare – Managing Director, family member and capturer of photos and moments