What it Means to Be Caring & Adopt a Grandparent: Featuring Shaleeza Hasham | Care Couch
Over the next few months, we’ll be interviewing experts, gaining insight into their personal experience as professional caregivers.
This week, we’re delighted to be joined by Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality and Communications at CHD Living, and founder of Adopt a Grandparent. We’ll be talking about what it means to be caring, before delving into her personal care journey.
Before we get started, we’d like to say a huge thank you to Shaleeza for taking the time to talk to us this week. It’s been truly wonderful to find out all about her experience!
So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into the Care Couch interview…
1. What do you think it means to be caring?
To be caring is probably the most important characteristic one should have. It is more than just a kind word, a smile or a hot cup of coffee in the morning; it is about showing empathy, showing no judgement and being selfless in all that you do.
2. In your opinion, why is it important to be caring?
Being caring teaches us so much. It teaches us humility, it teaches us to be respectful and understanding of others and ultimately, makes us better people.
3. Which characteristics do you think are most important for someone to be a professional carer, and why?
To be a professional carer, you need to employ all of the above in everything that you do. You need to understand that sometimes, you may have to do things you don’t enjoy, that you may be tired or scared – but by putting on a happy face and providing care to someone else, you’ll brighten their day – and that will make you feel better too!
4. What are your own personal experiences of caring for a loved one?
I have had many experiences of caring for a loved one in my own personal life. I have supported my family in caring for our loved ones in their latest and darkest days. I recall being called at all hours of the night by my late aunty, who was alone and scared in hospital. She was confused and couldn’t remember when I was last there. So, no matter how tired I was, I would jump in the car (in my pyjamas) and go and sit by her bedside until she fell asleep – and then go back two hours later when she called me again.
I don’t regret a moment of this. I was tired, I was scared, and I was cranky. But I stayed by her side until her last day and I know that she left us in peace, knowing how loved she was.
5. Have the events of last year and the global pandemic changed your perception of care? If so, how?
They have strengthened my belief in humanity. The selfless way I have seen our dedicated colleagues work through this pandemic, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk in order to provide the best care, love and support to those we care for at CHD Living has been truly remarkable. I commend everyone who works in health & social care for their remarkable resilience during this awful time.
6. Can you tell us about CHD Living’s Adopt a Grandparent initiative, and what inspired you to start this?
Adopt a Grandparent is so close to my heart. My mum always jokes that I grew up in a care home – well, I did! I lived in the cottage at the bottom of the hill of our first nursing home, Brownscombe House. My mum was the carer and manager, my dad did the finance. My grannies cooked, and my grandads maintained the grounds and buildings.
It was quite an incredible upbringing, living with my own extended family, which then extended to a further 15 grannies and grandads who were living at Brownscombe House. Spending my days with the most inspiring and amazing older people from all walks of life taught me so much. I wanted other people to experience the joy of intergenerational friendship, and so I started Adopt a Grandparent for this reason.
7. In your opinion, how important is it that we all work together to end elderly loneliness?
It’s extremely important. As people get older, they may lose their life partner, they may have no children or no family. We have a social responsibility to celebrate and care for all those who have lived valued and important lives, and let them know this – everyday.
8. If you could deliver 1 message to all of the professional carers across the world, what would it be?
You really are superheroes. Thank you.
9. If you could deliver 1 message to the elderly, either in their own homes or receiving care in residential homes, what would it be?
You are loved, you are important, you are valued and you will always be remembered.
10. What is the biggest lesson that the COVID pandemic taught you?
That there are no guarantees in life, or how life will turn out. You just have to ride the waves, stay positive and give back as much as you can to those less fortunate than you.
CHD Living is a family-owned and operated group of care homes, that are located in and around the Surrey region. Offering residential, nursing, respite, dementia, live-in and rehabilitation care, the CHD group focuses strongly on delivering person-centred care in a friendly environment. To find out more, take a look at the website.
Thank you again to Shaleeza for taking us through her care journey. Be sure to keep an eye out for our next Care Couch blog!