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FEATURE


Pandemic: My Care Home Diary


Bob Skinner, a 94-year-old Cardiff man, has published a book describing his life as a care home resident during the pandemic. Pandemic! My Care Home Diary, tells the inspiring story of how Bob lived and thrived during the pandemic at Sunrise of Cardiff care home. Here, Tomorrow’s Care provides some extracts.


SUNDAY 22ND Silent bells


It's Sunday. It's chilly but the sun is shining, a rare, welcome sight aſter dark weeks of wind and rain. A normal Sunday in Cardiff? No, it is unique, historic. Looking out of my window in Cyncoed Road, the city is strangely quiet. Far fewer cars, no buses, just the occasional dog walker and young jogger. Not an elderly person in sight.


Last week it was busy, with nonstop traffic, people going to work, children off to school. Last Sunday, the bells were calling people to worship. Today they are silent, and the church doors are firmly shut. Members are no doubt fervently praying at home for normal life to return soon. How many centuries ago was it, I wonder, when people were banned from leaving their home?


FRIDAY 3RD On Air


APRIL 2020


No trouble finding something to write about today. I made the news myself.


Yesterday, I was having an aſter-dinner cup of tea in our bistro when Virgil, the deputy general manager, came over with a message from Sunrise headquarters. They had seen my coronavirus diary entries and asked if I would go on ITV to talk about our carers. I agreed.


So it was a new challenge. Was I too old, too rusty? I would see. Later in the evening came instructions on how the makeshiſt operation had to be done in lockdown. My living room became a studio. What a difference. No camera or sound equipment, just a laptop on my coffee table.


‘Are you ready, Bob?’ ‘Yes, fine,’ I replied. I was on air. It was all over in minutes. I remembered most of my key words, did not move, and think I made the tribute to carers that they deserve. A lot of phone calls and emails today. Fame at last - and it's only taken 93 years.


SUNDAY 12TH Reunion with Robert


JULY 2020


Yesterday was a special, memorable day. My first visitor aſter four months – my son Robert. He spent the day, five hours of driving, to have just an hour with me.


- 44 - MARCH 2020


It was more than a happy reunion aſter those unreal months: proof that brighter days lie ahead. It was far from normal. We old people are being carefully looked aſter - guarded - and that made the difference. I had been looking forward for so long to today and was standing by the window watching for him to arrive, but I had to wait.


He first had to be 'made safe' by being kitted out with apron, gloves and face mask by a carer. Then he was taken to the gazebo set up in front of the building. Inside were two seats, the regulation two metres apart. I was taken out to join him. No hug or handshake allowed. Aſter a wave and a laugh we lost no time in getting down to chat, making up for lost time.


SATURDAY 26TH I have COVID-19


SEPTEMBER 2020


This is one diary entry I did not expect to make but the Sunrise luck has run out. I was at the art class this morning when a few of us were asked to return to our rooms. That sounded ominous, and it was.


"Like countless millions throughout the world, I am a prisoner in my own home. Trapped."


I was told that five residents had been tested positive. I had expected to find that I was one of them as I have not been feeling too well for a few days; a bad cold and a cough. A few hours later I was told that I had indeed tested positive for coronavirus.


So it's all change. We are all confined to our rooms with a carer looking aſter us.


Sunrise has almost shut down, the restaurant closed, activities suspended. What a shame. I feel sad aſter all the effort they have put in over the months, but there it is. We have to put up


www.tomorrowscare.co.uk


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