We recently held a small (but perfectly formed) seminar with colleagues from Edinburgh University, on ‘Risk and Resilience in Residential Care’. Charlotte Clark spoke on research into risk, and how the insidious creep of risk–aversity (my new word) is crippling staff and residents alike in denying them various life-affirming opportunities. Then Harriet Harris talked about Resilience – drawing on the habits and thought patterns developed through life and knowing that, even as we face the shortest and coldest days of the year – Spring will indeed come again. She quoted Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – ‘… so we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.’ And also, Deuteronomy 30:29 – ‘I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. CHOOSE LIFE, that you and your descendants may live.’
Later we played a game of snakes and ladders, in which participants had to give examples of resilience-affirming actions in residential care to be allowed to go up the ladder; and examples of resilience-depleting actions to go down a snake. (Thanks to Charlotte for dreaming this one up, it was a great way of developing the conversation). We had some wonderful stories as a result, as our participants remembered various poignant, passionate and privileged experiences they had shared with residents. We are all used to hearing about instances of poor practice and uncaring staff; but it was truly inspirational to sit and listen to our delegates talking with such love and conviction of their determination to enhance the in-care experience. Thank you all. May all your throws be double sixes.