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2015 i-CARE Winner – Michelle Fennell

michelleNational Winner - 3rd Place

For me, caring is simple. In a simple sentence: caring is making someone’s day a little easier and/or a little brighter.

A simple example:

I will tell you about a lady I care for and what I do for her. This lady is 82 and has so much life in her. She is always in great form, always jolly, very witty and loves nothing more than a cigarette and a chat. She suffers from Alzheimer’s and her short-term memory is very poor. While getting to know this lady, I have found out that she loves going for walks, admiring flowers, going out for coffee, cigarettes and a bit of banter.

What I feel, caring for this particular lady in my two hours or so with her means, focusing on the things that she likes. For example, one day I brought her to Marley Park on a beautiful sunny morning. We got coffees and scones and sat out in the sunshine where she could enjoy the flowers in the garden and soak up the sun and scenery, all while having a coffee and a cigarette. It was the smallest thing and took very little effort to do. She turned to me at one stage as she took a sip of her coffee and said: “Thank you for this, this is the life”.

Two hours later on that same day I went back to see her. Needless to say, she had forgotten about our lovely morning together, this did not dishearten me, as I knew she had enjoyed herself at the time. It was now time to think of my next task, of thinking of something to do that she will enjoy for the next hour I was with her.

This lady lives for the moment and for me it’s so important she enjoys every moment I am there with her. If she doesn’t remember in a few hours’ time, that’s ok. All that means to me is that she has forgotten one nice memory then we need to make another.

This is just one example of what caring means to me. Making someone’s day a little bit better, someone like this lady who cannot go do the things she enjoys doing anymore, by herself. It’s the little things in life that usually make the biggest difference. It is the best feeling making someone’s day better, easier or even just making someone smile! Caring is simple and ever so rewarding.