There’s a wishing well standing in one of the rooms of Dee View Court in Aberdeen.
It’s where people can make a wish to help make sure the lives of residents living there are as enriched as they can be.
During the pandemic, the well has become a big focus for staff at the Sue Ryder neurological care centre, especially when family visits were restricted.
‘We brought the outside in’
Care teams had to come up with creative ways to make sure, where possible, all the residents’ wishes were still granted.
“We’ve had to be quite creative during Covid,” Valerie Maxwell, service director of the centre said.
“Some of the residents wanted to feel like they were going to a restaurant. We looked at personalised menus for special occasions where we would cook their favourite meal.
“A lot of residents wanted to go to a pub so we ended up getting a bar made for the lounge conservatory area.
“It was almost like trying to bring the outside in and make things positive.”
A Lift Up Lockdown party was also organised for residents when restrictions started to ease with a piper booked in to play music at the centre.
Many residents have complex neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s.
‘A lot of the staff have been isolated too’
Valerie said the staff aim to make sure all residents have a “life full of love” as soon as they walk through the doors of the Kincorth facility.
And this has become the name of a new campaign launched this summer to help improve the lives of people living in the centre.
Staff are fundraising for a new outdoor glass dome for residents to socialise outside during visits with family and friends.
The centre also hopes to employ a counsellor to provide emotional support to both residents and staff members.
Exhausted staff have been working in heavy PPE
More than a year of heavy restrictions has led to residents spending many months without seeing their loved ones or being able to socialise properly.
And nurses and care staff have been working in heavy PPE all day every day suffering ongoing distress and exhaustion.
“A lot of the staff have been isolated as well,” Valerie added. “There were times when they were going back to their flat on their own.
“It’s been a stressful 18 months for everybody so I think having that opportunity to speak to somebody in confidence would be really helpful.
“Longer-term when Covid is hopefully a thing of the past we’ll be able to use the domes for other activities. People can have meals together, it would be such a huge asset for us.
“They look ideal, they bring lots of light in which is really helpful for people with neurological conditions and they’re warm.
“It will enable families to get together in a nice private area.”
Dee View Court has been open for 17 years providing specialist rehabilitation and support for people with a range of neurological conditions.
There are 44 residents living in the facility which recently expanded following a campaign backed by Aberdeen-born singer Annie Lennox.
To donate to the Life Full of Love campaign visit www.sueryder.org/donate/neuro-donation.