On Boxing Day the swiftly rising floodwaters in York stretched the capabilities of professional carers across the city, as they sought to reach and reassure their clients. The crisis also served to highlight the very special kind of people they are.
All year round, at Riccall Care our carers work with the vulnerable and elderly in their own homes. Bringing a friendly face, companionship, care and practical support. In a crisis, when those people need to be moved from the very homes they cherish and feel safe in the skills of our carers are fully tested.
Dionne was on duty in the community on Boxing Day when the call came to assist her clients, including those at Alex Lyon House sheltered housing in Tang Hall. The Fire Brigade were already there to help coordinate the evacuation of residents and relied on our carers as fellow professionals. Frightened and, in some cases confused, wheelchair bound residents couldn’t climb the steps of the large bus sent specifically to take them to safety. Dionne and others stayed with them, helping to keep them warm in the cold until a suitably adapted vehicle arrived.
“I love all my clients and just wanted to wrap them all up and take them back to my own home.”
One of our clients, a lady who suffers from dementia, was very distressed at having to leave her home and became verbally and physically disruptive. Dionne remembers: “It was very hard to see; very hard emotionally. Clients’ possessions ruined and how upset they were. I love all my clients and just wanted to wrap them all up and take them back to my own home.”
The lady became Dionne’s focus and she took her in her own car to the evacuation centre where she stayed with her, passing on medical information to a social worker before returning to her own home and partially flooded street.
“There was nothing else for it,”
Another of our carers Chris Walton was confronted with rising waters in Skeldergate. Concerned for his elderly client Chris didn’t hesitate, he took off his shoes and socks and waded shin deep into the freezing floodwater to reach her home. After reassuring her that help was on the way and making her a cup of tea, Chris emerged in the now knee-deep floodwaters as police and the army arrived with boats to evacuate the residents.
“There was nothing else for it,” commented Chris, “I just got on with it.”
Two more of our care team on duty that day; Mandy Hester and Paula Rose were busy helping at Wilnow House and the evacuation centre at Arch Bishop Holgate’s School, taking with them food supplies from our Riccall Care office.
Our carers and office personnel are more than well-trained professionals, their community spirit, kindness and concern for others is at the heart of everything they do day in, day out. They make a very real difference to the lives of others and Riccall Care very proud. For going above and beyond, whatever the weather, our thanks go to all our carers and head office team.
Gill Conroy, Director Riccall Care