‘Little boxes of love’ for Sunderland carers.
Staff on Marsden ward have been giving out ‘little boxes of love’ to support people in their journey of being a carer for someone living with dementia.
The boxes are created and given to carers by Carer Champion leads. They contain a range of cards with positive or encouraging phrases, and items including “tissues to dry your tears, chocolate because why not, mints because you are worth a mint, a candle to brighten up your day, and love hearts because you have a big heart and to know you are loved.”
“Marsden Ward work very hard to support carers of people living with dementia. Often carers can experience an emotional roller-coaster ride when caring for a loved one. To ease that experience and let carers know they are valued, Marsden Ward have put together ‘a little box of love’ for carers, in addition to the usual contact details for carers support services. This is a small token offered by the ward to carers, but we know often it’s the little things that mean a lot to people.” Marie Smith, Clinical Manager.
Caring for a person living with dementia in the later stages can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. When that person then moves into long term care this can have a big impact on the carer.
The items are given in a little box with a crocheted forget-me-not flower on the top. The forget-me-not flower and dementia are linked in the most beautiful way; as dementia inevitably causes a decline in both memory and cognitive function, the flower was chosen to symbolise how people living with dementia do not want to be forgotten or to forget their loved one.
One carer told the team what the boxes meant to her:
“I couldn’t believe the love and thought that went into the ‘little box of love.’ I couldn’t open it on the ward as I even started to cry just reading the card on the front of the box. On opening it at home, I felt so happy, emotional, and loved all at the same time! Just so thoughtful!
“The last thing I saw was the 33 cards with beautiful words on (which made me cry even more!). My favourite one was ‘rather than bringing the person with dementia back to reality, why not enter their reality?’
“I showed my friend (whose mam has early stages of dementia) the cards, and she also cried and said she got so much good from them! I am also a regular attendee at the carers centre, and they also got great joy from reading the cards. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
CNTW are committed to supporting carers and we greatly value the very important work of family and friends caring for people who use our services. Carers play a critical role in this journey through the care and support they offer to their loved ones.
Without this our staff would not be able to deliver the hope, treatment and care to our service users and patients that we always aim to do. We recognise that carers will often also need support for themselves.
Marsden ward is an Inpatient Dementia Service at Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland, for people with complex mental illness in need of specialised long-term care.