CSR: Good natured and considerate listening to help others


Alice

One thing that strikes me about the Day Care Centre in Compton is how caring everybody is towards each other. This isn’t just the helpers to the service users, it’s the service users’ attitude towards each other and those that help them. There is definitely a sense of goodwill, appreciation that they are there, and a sense that there isn’t much time left and they are determined to make the best of what they have.

When I arrived for my third CSR visit several faces lit up in recognition. That felt very nice. My sweet old lady now expected me to sit by her, and the usual pleasantries were exchanged. A general conversation about transport started up, and several serve users mentioned that they got everywhere by bike. It was quite normal to bicycle down to Newbury with a child in a basket chair on the back (I’m sure that straps and helmets were not an issue) without a thought of how far it was or how long it would take. One service user mentioned how she used to cycle everywhere until three years ago, and had to stop because her family said the roads were too dangerous.

The next activity was to draw on plain mugs with special pens, which would be baked in the oven to glaze them. The service users sat around the main dining table, each presented with their plain mug in a box. The pens were passed around, and even though there wasn’t enough, the patience waiting for the appropriate colour was commendable. One serve users said she couldn’t draw, so I suggested she drew a border of patterns around her mug. The next time I glanced her way her mug was taking shape nicely with some fantastic greek-looking patterns. One service user was an artist, and her mug was soon covered in beautiful floral patterns. Her neighbour beside her attempted to copy, and her attempt was very pleasing, with big red flowers haphazardly drawn around her mug. The conversation soon got lively, asking for various colours and suggestions what they should draw next.

Mugs finished and put aside to dry before being baked, suggestions were asked that to do next. Eventually bingo was decided upon, and the numbered cards were passed around. I loved the way the more competent service users looked after the slower ones, reminding them that a number had been called.  There was no sense of rivalry, everybody watched out for everyone else, and appreciation was spent on those that called out ‘bingo’, wherever they were within the game.

Since they were all sat around the table, it was very convenient to set it ready for lunch. The service users didn’t get in the way with laying out the utensils, but there was some good natured bossing about how to open up the serviettes and to make sure they were used properly, and who got orange or lemon squash to drink. It’s always a pleasing sight to see them tucking into their roast dinners, knowing that they were getting nourishing food to keep them healthy that day.

In my next visit I will try and listen more to one of the male service users, and get him to tell me about his antics in the War. I felt it was necessary as he had tried twice to bring up the subject, but the general conversation had been taken elsewhere. If it is appropriate I will give him my full attention so he can speak to me all about it.

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