The Housekeeping teams play an important role in the residents’ wellbeing as well as their health at Royal Star & Garter. The charity provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
Apart from keeping the homes spick and span, housekeepers also form friendships with our residents, which helps boost their wellbeing.
“My job involves cleaning residents’ rooms but there’s so much more to it than that,” said Tina, a Housekeeper since 1987, now based at Surbiton. “To do the job well, you have to know the residents and their habits. For instance, if I know a resident likes to rest in the afternoon, I make sure their room is cleaned in the morning.”
Carmel is the Lead Housekeeper in Solihull. Her team learn new skills not required in their housekeeping roles to help residents. “Jane learned to sew just so that she could fix buttons on residents’ clothes. Now she does alterations as well! Then there’s Nel who does card tricks, or songs and dances for residents. Whenever residents see him, they smile. It’s about brightening their day, and making life a little happier for them,” she said.
We’re always thinking of what’s important for the resident.Nick – Housekeeper
Nick has been a Housekeeper at High Wycombe for three years. He said spending time with residents was one of the highlights of the job: “We sit down and chat with them and get to know them. If I see a resident who seems a bit down, I’ll make them a drink, have a chat with them, maybe do something like a puzzle together, and when you leave the room, they’re happy. I find that incredibly satisfying. I can see the impact that I’ve had on their wellbeing, and I feel good about myself, I feel like I’ve accomplished something important.”
Tina agreed: “I do this job to make the residents happy. Sometimes I fold towels into swans and elephants – I do that if it’s a resident’s birthday and it brings a smile to their face.”
Carmel said the team are always looking at ways to help residents: “We make sure we return their things to the same place when we are cleaning. The small things we do definitely make a big difference.”
Nick explained that, while cleaning rooms, he will often stop to spend time with residents: “A lot of residents like looking through photo albums. They tell us who’s who and they reminisce. Sometimes we’ll read a newspaper together and making them cups of tea or drinks means the world to them. I really enjoy building that bond and friendship.”
Tina said she felt privileged to gain this friendship with the residents: “If they’re in the room while I’m cleaning, I chat away to them. I get to know so much about them, and it’s an honour that they trust me and see me as a friend. Sometimes I stay after cleaning to have a chat or do a puzzle with residents. I absolutely love it. I do everything with my heart. One day, I hope someone will do this for me.”
Looking at the work of the Housekeepers, Carmel commented: “I’m very proud of what we do. We have to manage our time and tasks, and control infection, but we also show we have time for the residents. Whether it’s a two-second chat, helping fold clothes, sorting out make-up or listening to concerns, we’re always there for residents.”