Relatives & Residents Association

We support, inform and speak on behalf of older people in care


Your Covid Stories

Real impact of guidance

17 December 2021: My mum is new to her care home. The new visiting guidance is having a real impact on our family.   Asking care homes to do lateral flow tests on their residents for 10 days after a trip out causes a number of problems: Residents with dementia don’t understand why someone is poking a stick up their nose and can react badly. This means many relatives do...

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Living with COVID: A provider’s view

Our Q&A with Richard Hawes, CEO of a care provider, shows good practice on visiting and supporting wellbeing and relationships for residents   How have you been managing visiting recently? We have been fully open to visitors without any restrictions on time or the number of visits. Visitors need to undertake tests and where appropriate use PPE. The majority of visits are tak...

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Give me back my rights! Frances’ story

Frances is 100 years old and lives in a care home. This is her story: Lockdown was worse than living through the war. During lockdown l felt trapped, lonely, depressed and forgotten. For over a year l only saw my family by appointment, through glass, at a distance. I am deaf so it was very difficult and frustrating trying to communicate. For 65 days l was isolated in my room; no fresh air, no e...

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Using the law reunites couple

Deborah used to have daily visits from her husband Tony in her care home prior to the pandemic. The visits became confined to 30 minutes in the car park, with no shade and no chairs. On a particularly hot day, Tony, who is in his 80s, lowered his mask to take a sip of water, needing to keep hydrated for medical reasons. As a result Deborah was placed in isolation and Tony’s visits were stopped. ...

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Mum and daughter reunited by essential caregiver role

Rena had been diagnosed with vascular dementia, and her husband, Ilesh, had cancer. Their daughter, Anita, cared for them both at home but the caring role became overwhelming. They decided that a care home placement for Rena was the best option. They found what they considered to be beautiful home and Rena moved in just as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Sadly, Ilesh passed away shortly after. An...

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Husband pushes to be ‘essential caregiver’ for wife in care

Tony has been working tirelessly to maintain the relationship with his wife of 64 years, Rita, who lives in care. Through the various different visiting restrictions during the pandemic he has donned full PPE to meet Rita in a designated “visiting room” – holding hands through gloves –  and even kneeled on the ground to speak to her through a crack in the window. More recently they were a...

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Connecting with mum

On Monday 8 March I got to visit my mum in her care home and hold her hand. It was precisely 382 days since I last held her hand. Living through this time apart has been hard for all of us but for mum it has meant a sharp decline to advanced dementia. She has lost so much of her cognitive function in the past 12 months that all the options open to me and my sisters (garden visits, booth visits...

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Mum deteriorated within days of lockdown

My mother, Octavia, was warm and kind, the sort of person who would say hello to people on the street. She was interested in everyone and when she went into care this didn’t change. She would ask the care staff their name and where they were from, writing it in her diary so that she could always call them by their name. She was playful, had a cheeky sense of humour and was a fighter. Before the ...

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Granddaughter volunteers to support her nanna through isolation

My Nanna has been in a care home for the past 2½ years. We share a very close relationship and alongside my mum, I have been a big part of her care for many years. During Covid 19, I have been in a better position than most relatives. When her home announced the family could no longer visit, I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to see her, so offered to volunteer. I feel...

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‘I am 99’: a poem about isolation

By Frances, resident in a care home   I'm 99 I enjoyed my life, now it’s an existence I enjoyed my family, now they’re unreachable I enjoyed my outings, now I’m trapped   I’m 99 I need my family, I’m so lonely I need a hug,...

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Emotional reunion of life-long partnership

This week I had my first proper visit with my wife, Joan, since March. We celebrated our 63rd wedding anniversary in her care home the day before the first lockdown and since then we’ve only had window visits. These months have been the worst of my life. I used to weep driving away from those visits. But now I have been tested and we had our first pr...

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Is length of life more important than quality of life?

“My mum’s death was hastened by measures in place to ‘protect’ people in homes. Her quality of life was vastly reduced. We need to ask ourselves ‘What is more important, length or quality of life?’” Back in June 2019, mum decided she wanted to move into a care home as she was finding living alone increasingly difficult. She chose one with a beautiful corner ...

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The Dutch Way: enabling visits to care homes

“Relatives in Holland have been seeing their loved ones in care homes for many months now but here in England it still remains a story of near total isolation.”   My mother, 96 years old, is in a nursing home in England. My husband is Dutch and his brother, 76 years old, is in a care home in Holland. Our family sees first-hand the stark difference be...

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Heart-breaking removal of husband’s visits which were thought to help wife recover

“I am very disappointed and angry that I was not able to continue to see my wife face to face”   Lesley and I have been together for 45 years. We have two sons and five grandchildren. At 62 Lesley was unfortunately diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s. I initially looked after her at home but after two years reluctantly agreed she should go into a nursing ...

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Living in isolation: using poetry to get through COVID

“The lack of contact with other residents was really hard. It was very lonely, I felt so isolated.”   Life in my care home before the pandemic was idyllic, too good to be true in retrospect. My days were filled with activities including a poetry group, guest speakers, a music and movement group, crafts or sitting in the lounge with my puzzles. Because I am fro...

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Childhood sweethearts separated by lockdown

“For a couple who first met at school aged twelve, the forced absence from each other was terrible to bear.” My wife Thelma has been in care since May 2018. She has Parkinson's disease and needs 24hr nursing care. Until Covid-19 hit our land, we enjoyed 3 or 4 days a week blissfully together in her room at the care home, unrestric...

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Cruel separation of a life-long partnership

“I love her, like I loved her 65 years ago. She still knows I’m her husband.”   Joan and I spent our 63rd Wedding Anniversary together in the garden of her care home on 23rd March. How lucky we were, the day before lockdown. Would we later be able to use the garden, the visiting room the Manager hoped to be able to set asi...

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Visiting restrictions keep family seperated

“My relationship with mum now? I don’t have one. I’m not able to provide her comfort, reassurance, love.” Mum had been living with me till her dementia, then a heart attack, made a move to the care home necessary two years ago. It was a distance from me, so to supplement my visits I recruited a local, paid-for visitor who visited mum five times a week. My...

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How can a daughter with know-how of mum’s dementia connect with her carers?

“I’ve been working really hard to keep mum living well with dementia, to stimulate her. That’s now fallen off a cliff. Covid has pulled up the drawbridge. I feel so shut away from her.” Our family has been happy to be partners in care with the homes my 88 year-old mum has been in for the past eight years, mainly for her dementia. Between me and my sister ...

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Covid Stories

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