People say that the spirit of Christmas is giving. For the community at our Victory care home in Chatham, gifts have come in the form of acts of kinship. The first of these meant a visit from a certain someone, who brought magic into the home – besides Saint Nick!
It’s tradition for the managers of Victory to hand out gifts on Christmas day, which Registered Manager Theresa Ward has now been doing for 26 years! This Christmas, however, Theresa was joined by new Deputy Manager Kayleigh Clark… and Jack, Kayleigh’s 9-year-old son.
Jack has been part of the community at our care home in Chatham with his mum before, and is always very eager to spend time with residents and team members alike; according to Kayleigh, he’s an avid laundry-cart assistant! On this special occasion Jack took immense pride in his contribution, as he set about delivering presents to residents who were so glad to see him.
“The residents love seeing a child, it brightens their demeanor, they just become so happy and they take great care over him.”
This was particularly true when Jack made new friendships with a resident named Catherine, and one named Frank.
“Frank can be restless at times and detached,” says Kayleigh, “but when he saw Jack he really paid attention. He was totally engaged, asking Jack what was in his bag of presents, what was he up to, speaking directly to him and enjoying his company.”
Kayleigh remembers how Frank’s mood completely changed.
“I noticed his expression when he saw Jack… his eyes filled up, he came close to crying. So did I, watching it. It makes a big difference, having children around.”
Kayleigh may be new to the Deputy role, but she’s not new to Victory care home. As a result, she can truly care for residents as individuals, having learned more at every stage in her career.
“I’ve been in the role nearly a year, but I’ve been at Agincare here for 6 years. I started as an admin, then moved to Office Manager, and now I’ve moved up to Deputy Manager.”
Knowing just what matters the most is something shared across professions throughout all of our care team. Alison Short, a Senior Care Assistant at Victory, made gift hampers of hot chocolate supplies for every member of staff.
What’s more, moved by stories of the residents, Alison’s brother independently bought presents for those who aren’t lucky enough to have nearby family. This was done purely as a gift, from their family to ours, to do a kind thing for those who needed it. We truly appreciate it.
“It meant so much. Our Activities Coordinator, Elizabeth, is also part of a crafting group. One of our residents grew up on a farm with a pet cow called Strawberry, so Elizabeth crocheted her a cow with a strawberry on it and wrapped it up! Other items were gifted by the crafting group, the residents absolutely loved them.”
Christmas may have ended, but these bonds haven’t. We’re humbled by the human touch and each individual’s unique ability to connect and be kind. That’s why person-first care is at the forefront of Agincare’s ethos. We couldn’t be more proud to see it exemplified in simple ways that mean so much.
The best Christmas gift of all, after these difficult years, has been a reminder to have faith in humanity. That – and the daily updates Jack is now asking Kayleigh for about Catherine and Frank, so he can always know how his new friends are doing!
People like Kayleigh, to whom caring comes naturally, are the very heart of Agincare.
If you’d like to find out more about careers with us, check out the Agincare careers website today.