07.02.17

We are in the middle of assessments, care plans, pen profiles and who knows what else. Nothing came from last year’s care home, not even the promised photos, and we are starting again. Our daughter is spared the endless questions we have answered over and over. She is happy getting on with her life in the safety and security of home and isn’t interested in procedures, logs, ticks in boxes.

Glancing over the adult service user profile and care needs assessment we’ve just been given for her I am surprised to see that under “mental health memory”, somebody has circled the word “forgetful”. Our daughter has complex needs to be sure, she has her own particular take on the world and needs lots of support, certainly. But she has a good memory. Where did this entry come from? Not from us. Were we even asked?

She’s been in a quiet mood recently and has gone back to looking at her old things. We are revisiting films and books not seen for a long time, going back to early interactive stories on her tablet. She gives them her full attention and concentrates hard, anticipating key moments of heightened emotion or comedy, changes in tone and pace. Then she tenses up in readiness for what she knows is coming next. She eagerly sits forward in front of the screen or turns the page of her book expectantly. And then clearly shows she’s got the joke by tittering, giggling, laughing uproariously. It’s obvious she remembers, and remembers well.

The assessment I’m looking at is generic and more of the information that’s in it about our girl is not accurate actually. I agree that health and safety stuff is essential for everyone’s sake, that’s there, but there could be so much more about her as someone who is engaging, characterful and her own person. She is not the one size fits all that would make paperwork so much easier to complete. There are simply not enough appropriate boxes to tick for anyone spending time with her to gain an understanding or see anything remotely interesting about her beyond her health, mobility and bodily functions. Why does it have to be so? Or am I being naive in even questioning this?

We are getting tired of going over old ground. We’ve been here before so many times. Now we want some fun. We go for lunch and then take our places aboard the new local tourist attraction, the i360 tower. It’s a moving observation tower, a so-called “pier in the sky”, from which to get great views of the city and beyond. We look through its large windows as we climb high above the rooftops, on the edge of the sea, mingling with tourists, trippers and the odd local, catching sight of our reflections superimposed on the panoramas beyond our reach.

We look down, up, all around. The sky is clear and blue and the sea shimmers in the  light below. We pick out people waving at us from nearby buildings as we glide upwards. We walk about, changing our points of view as we make our way round the circular pod. Then we slowly slide back down to earth. Everything is so much bigger again and we are so much smaller. Up high the opposite was true.

When we get home we look at the pictures I took of our afternoon out. Our girl smiles at them. A nice memory to add to the store.

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