My life during lockdown – Guest blog

Sharon is a Doro Mobile Responder, based in Carlisle. She is part of a team who provides a 24-hour service to customers who need assistance. COVID has presented many challenges to this team as they are often entering peoples’ homes with unknown circumstances.

Here Sharon explains her work and the additional skills she has acquired during the pandemic.

Many of our customers are elderly and vulnerable so providing help and support is our main priority. Lockdown came quickly, catching many people off guard, and we did our best to make our service accessible to as many as possible, including offering the pendant alarm free to keyworkers for 13 weeks. We also compiled a list of support and community groups, so we had the resources to signpost people if they needed help.

The team has also been there to provide emotional support for clients who have been struggling with isolation and lack of support and contact. Taking extra time to chat when possible, empathy and compassion is at the core of our team. It can be a tough job, you don’t always know what you are walking into. It varies from falls, false alarms, someone ill and struggling to breath, clients frozen in their chair or bed through Parkinson’s, lying there frightened, unable to move. We are there to make the situation better, to get help, to alleviate fear and get the client any additional help or support they require. But it’s also a very rewarding job, one where we strive to promote the service because it’s such a valuable resource to the community, the NHS and support services.

During the lockdown I spent time keeping in contact with my elderly neighbours and enjoying the community spirit, it really has been an amazing thing. Keeping busy was a way of avoiding the stress and worry of the situation and distracting myself from being unable to visit my family. Having my dog Walter was a life saver for getting out of the house and go walking, being able to decompress after work. I have also been lucky enough to acquire an allotment through the council a fortnight ago, after I got hooked on container veg growing, a hobby taken up by many others during the lockdown.

But being able to focus on something mentally was just as beneficial to me. I had not long finished a free online course on Understanding Parkinson’s, run by & Open University and really enjoyed and learned a lot from it. We tend to be called to clients in the later stages of any neurological conditions, so I investigated other courses that were free to do. I’ve just completed a distance learning course run by the Lakes College, Falls Awareness and Prevention and have now signed up to The Principles of Dementia and these courses have helped build a picture of their journey living with their illness.