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  • Writer's pictureRuth Jewell

Lockdown Family Meetings

Comfy slippers have become part of my new normal!

A year ago I was still visiting families in their homes. We had just stopped shaking hands, but were elbow bumping instead. We were all getting used to a new way of doing things. Jump forward a week and the thought of going into someone else's home was unthinkable, and so began my journey into meeting families over the phone or by video link.

I worried at first that things wouldn't be the same, and they aren't, but they have been better than I expected them to be. In a way I think my families feel more comfortable, after all they don't have to welcome a stranger into their home, make them a cup of tea etc. They can wear comfy clothes, and like us all only worry about what your face and neck look like.

I miss not being able to physically comfort my families, just a hand on an arm, or a hug can help no end. I miss being able to look through photo albums, or at family photos on display, all of which give me an insight into the family and the person we are arranging the service for.

What I enjoy though is not having to get into the car in the evening and trail up and down a road, trying to find the house numbers in the dark. What is also lovely is that I can wear my slippers! Who would have thought that that simple pleasure would be something I would take from this? Added to this is that our three year old Granddaughter chose my slippers from a catalogue and our son ordered them and sent them to me as a surprise. She knows me well, I love pom-poms!

To be able to finish a meeting with a family, turn to my laptop and instantly organise the order of service etc, is another added bonus. Everything is fresh in my mind and can be recorded immediately. I still need to give myself time to mull over the service script. Sometimes it just flows onto the page in one go, at others I need time to digest everything I have been told, and work out the very best way to present it in the script.

I have learnt along the way to unplug my google home to stop it stealing the internet (and I worried that the erratic google home in the kitchen, she really does have a mind of her own, might suddenly decide to play the radio through the group)! I also mute my phone so that messages and call's don't interrupt the meeting.

WhatsApp and Facetime have become my go to for video calls. At first I thought that Zoom would become my everyday choice, but the limit on time/cost to have longer were prohibitive, but my families have all felt happier with WhatsApp and Facetime, which has worked well for me too.

So what will happen now, with restrictions lifting? For me I think it will become a mixture of face to face meetings and video calls. There are older members of society who don't use the internet, in which case face to face meetings in their homes are much more appropriate, but for those with video calling now a part of their lives I can see these types of meetings continuing, and becoming part of my everyday working life.

I don't think my slippers will get a rest for a while, but then again the weather is improving, so hopefully I will be bare foot around the house and garden again soon.


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