No two days for people in social care are the same. Whether you’re a care professional, supporting others with independence and wellbeing or an expert by experience, helping to shape policy to promote person centred best practice, each day brings its unique challenges and rewards. Here we meet expert by experience Rosie Rich, supported by Freeways, and who selflessly put her friend’s needs above her own during Covid.
My name is Rosie Rich. I am 63 years old
Tell us a bit of background about yourself.
I was born in Wallington, Surrey and I now live in Clevedon, a beautiful seaside town in the South West of England. I have lived here for 5years and moved from Weston super Mare.
How long have you been supported by Freeways?
Freeways took over the support in my house a year ago and me and the people I live with have been supported by them ever since.
What does a typical day look like for you at the moment?
I have friends in Clevedon and my closest friends live in the house over the courtyard to mine and I visit them most days.
I have other friends in Clevedon, but I know that because of Covid, I need to stay 2 metres apart from them. I always say hello when I see them out and about.
How did you feel when you found out about the Covid restrictions?
When the virus hit it was terrible, all those people dying and people not obeying the rules. I don’t like that I can’t go on the buses to where I want to go, or to my charity shop job.
How have you been able to overcome these challenges?
I suffer from mental health and I have had times when it has all got too much and I get very low. I know it is something that will always be with me, but I do speak to the staff more now. I have a psychologist and GP that are helping me. The staff have been out with me during the pandemic which I very much enjoy.
You are clearly a very supportive person and an advocate for others who may be struggling at this time.
I like to help my friend W. He has dementia and sometimes I help him make something to eat. I read about doing activities together and I know he likes to do arts and crafts. I spoke with the manager and I set up the room next to mine so I could sit with him and do this together. I also gave him my old keyboard so that when he gets bored with what he is doing there is something else for him to do.
What inspired you to learn about dementia and how to support people living with dementia?
I started reading about Dementia as it is interesting, and I wanted to understand how my friend was feeling. I knew he couldn’t say what was happening to him. I have three pages to go before I have finished my first book. I want to read some more about it and Downs Syndrome and Dementia, so I can help and understand more for him. He gets ratty sometimes and I know that he needs to walk away and do something else. The activities I sit and do with him help him to be remain calm and positive.
Tell us about how you have supported the other tenants in your house?
I like to speak up for myself and the people I live with. I recently had to ask the staff to close the windows for one of the people I live with as they did not want to do this themselves. I understand they need to be open to let the air in, but not wide all day. If I think staff are being too playful with W, I tell them to stop and explain that he doesn’t understand the playing anymore, and that he looks worried. I always look out for my friends.
What are you most looking forward to coming out of Covid?
I can’t wait to go back on the buses and my job in the Charity shop!
I’m really looking forward to playing my keyboard for more people. I love to play a tune and staff tell me that I’m really rather good at it!
How did you feel about being nominated as a Social Care Covid Hero?
When I found out that I had been nominated for this award it made me feel happy proud. I like to talk about being safe during the pandemic and looking out for my friends.