#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 12, 2022)

Hi everyone. It’s once again been a while since I last wrote. Today, I’d like to write a post for #WeekendCoffeeShare. I drink more coffee here at the new care home than I used to and it’s not decaf in the evenings. That’s one thing I don’t mind, although I now realize the caffeine might be contributing to my poor sleep. Like I said a few times before, I’m struggling greatly otherwise too. Let me try to share a bit about this past week. Grab a cup of coffee, cappuccino (we have a milk frother here) or tea if you’d like one and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d start out with the slightly positive: the weather. Although others – climate activists – would see this as a negative (and I understand why), I am so relieved we have relatively mild fall weather here. Daytime temperatures rose to a maximum of between 12 and 17°C over the past week and we didn’t get much rain.

If we were having coffee, then I’d share about the negatives, the list of which starts with my day schedule. I requested one because, otherwise, staff would give me one-on-one support whenever they so wished. However, as it turned out, the day schedule was so vague that staff could still interpret it however they wanted to.

For instance, some staff had gotten it in their heads that, between each activity, regardless of how long that activity took, they’d need to leave me alone for 30 minutes. I said sarcastically that I’d have to think of activities that lasted two hours then, but the last staff who openly told me this about the 30 minutes between each activity didn’t get my point and said an activity could take 30 minutes or whatever too. For clarity’s sake, I have unlearned to initiate activities that take longer than 30 minutes myself because I know staff will usually tell me they don’t have the time, even though I got 90 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one from my old home’s staff each weekday morning and two hours each weekday afternoon.

Like you may guess, my day schedule is organized around activities, not timeframes. I understand this if you want to put into it specific activities such as “walking” and can’t be sure how long each walk will take. That’s why my old home had “supported activity” in my day schedule. However, it appears as though my staff here want to be able to decide on a daily basis how much one-on-one support to offer me and usually this is not dependent on my need for it, or even on my fellow residents’ daily care needs. Not that those should matter, since my one-on-one is *my* one-on-one, not my fellow residents’. However, it’s about 90% dependent on staff qualities: whether they smoke, whether they’d rather do stuff on their phone or chill out with coworkers than help clients, whether they can or want to set boundaries on my fellow residents’ demands, etc.

As a result of all this, I tore up my day schedule on Monday and life hasn’t been worse since.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share it’s my husband’s birthday today. He doesn’t celebrate it or so he told me, but he will be coming here for a visit tomorrow.

How have you been?

18 thoughts on “#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 12, 2022)

  1. Good to hear from you Astrid. I’m sorry that you’re having issues in your new home. I hope you get settled down here and they learn to do things according to your preferences. Hugs. ! A happy birthday to your hubby

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes to my husband. I’m pessimistic about staff here doing anything according to my needs, precisely because they see them as preferences, not needs. Things might improve though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely to hear from you.
    The weather is quite warm here too considering it’s November.
    That is a shame that you are having issues in your new care home. It sounds frustrating about your day to day activities and I would be so angry that your quality of care depends on whether the staff want to smoke or mess on their phones. That is shocking. You know my girl works in a care home and one of the rules is that the staff’s phones stay in their locker. It really isn’t fair on you or the other residents.
    Happy birthday to your husband. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for commenting! Oh wow, how I wished staff had any kind of rule about phone use while working. Then again, most staff here are semi self-employed in a kind of weird way that would be illegal in other sectors such as transport (where my husband works, he’s a truck driver). This also means staff can take on like six double shifts a week if they so wish. That plus they not having set breaks (because if they’re all taking a break at the same time, there’s no continuity of care and if one takes a break at a time, that’s not fair or something), they take “breaks” whenever they can. I mean, if a staff tells me they need a 30-minute break (their legal break) or even a 45-minute break, I won’t disturb them for that amount of time, but my fellow clients will.

      I’ve literally had dozens of conversations with staff about their breaks and my one-on-one and the apparent ability for staff to decide for themself how much or how little care to offer me based on anything or nothing at all just because I don’t have one-on-one 24 hours a day. They keep differentiating my care, which they call “extra care”, from another client’s full-time (at least during the day, I don’t think she has a one-on-one at night) one-on-one as if “extra care” is somehow more flexible than full-time one-on-one. Well, without going into detail I’ll say that extra care is the full package of above-care-profile care that goes towards an individual, including one-on-one (anything between two and 24 hours a day), extra medical or behavioral specialist support, extra, client-tailored staff training, etc. Whether a client gets two or 24 hours of one-on-one a day or anything inbetween, that one-on-one remains one-on-one specific to that client. The other extra care client doesn’t have a qualitatively different care profile from me; she just has more one-on-one hours a day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hoping that the lack of a schedule for ‘activities’ or needs will be a plus and will be more like just living than operating on an agenda. I do like structure and long for having a couple of days each week here at home to do what I want to do when I want to do it. But many weeks LIFE steps in with other plans.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, life hasn’t been worse, but it hasn’t been better either. What I can do during a day (given that I need help with most activities) depends heavily on the staff whether I do or don’t have the schedule I tore to pieces. I’m hoping to eventually get to some schedule that works for both me and the staff.


  4. Sorry it’s been such a huge struggle for you in the new home and so much worse than it originally seemed to be. It really sucks that the staff don’t seem too realise that they should be there for you particularly during your one-on-one, and instead do what they can to limit the amount of time they’re willing to give you as much as possible. From what you’ve been saying it sounds like they must be a bunch of people who really don’t like their job.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Honestly, most are very inexperienced, young men (like early to mid-20s) who are semi self-employed in a weird way that’d be illegal in other sectors. They make twice as much money as regular employees but can get away with doing half the work during a regular shift because they don’t know the clients. I’m not saying all are like this – I’ve met a few semi self-employed folks like this who are really hard-working -, but if they want to do stuff on their phones and chill out all day, they can. They can also take on like six double shifts a week if they so wish. I have literally had a conversation with one of these young men about how he could become a millionnaire. I obviously told him I didn’t know.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Well, they (I assume) earned at least some type of care-related diploma and of course they do have a declaration relating to behavior (a document indicating they haven’t been convicted of any relevant crimes). However, having earned a diploma and not being a criminal doesn’t make you an even mediocre staff sometimes.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Of course, I’m not saying staff shouldn’t be in the field for the money. I mean, I once had a staff who told her manager at her yearly meeting that she didn’t do her job for the money, so the manager (thankfully jokingly) wrote down: “[Staff] doesn’t want to earn money.” That being said, I seriously get the impression the majority of these semi self-employed folks are in the field just for the money (and maybe a little bit to socialize with their friends who also work in care).

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Honestly, I am somewhat able to advocate for myself, but in the end get overloaded very easily. Yes, I may be strong, but unfortunately I hear this from staff who mean strong as in “adaptable”, so they use my perceived strength to their advantage in order to further the chaos.

      Liked by 1 person

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