Change – dust, noise and debris – here we are in the middle of building works that will transform Heathlands Village – home to communal services and to over 170 older people who live in our care village. They are proving themselves to be a very resilient bunch, demanding for sure, yet full of fun and positivity amidst the rubble.

But why wouldn’t they be positive? Many have been through the blitz; through the concentration camps; through poverty and displacement. This then is small fry.

Change – our residents have influenced it; they criticise it; some days, some of them hate it; yet most view it with patience and humour – a transitory phase that brings the promise of better things to come.

Our residents live here because they cannot manage any longer in their own homes. Some are physically unwell and most live with varying and challenging forms of dementia – the very reason we must make the changes to their new home here with us.

We have employed extra staff to help residents through this period – navigating them away from newly emerged walls and along re-routed thoroughfares, discouraging them from twiddling with the builders’ ear plug dispenser (which looks so much like a bubble-gum machine I can’t resist a twiddle myself) – generally ensuring that life is disrupted as little as possible.

Yes, at times residents get fraught. We all do. It would be impossible to remain unaffected by the noise of drilling and power-hammers, of power-cuts and the water going off but there are many people I have to thank for making all this bearable:

  • the 102 year old lady resident who, when asked by a visiting Director of Social Services the secret of her longevity, mysteriously replied, “Never show your belly button to anyone!”
  • the builder who told me “I love working here”, in spite of criticism from a resident that “My son could have done this better”
  • the staff, volunteers and relatives who cheerfully vibrate around the place in rhythm with our own brand of fracking and Jurassic Park soundtrack
  • A lady resident who told me that she might not live to see the changes completed but loved it here anyway

Change – it’s a slow process but we are almost there.

I love my job.