A devoted daughter in England has become a volunteer in the assisted living facility where her father resides in order to spend time with her dad after the family was separated by coronavirus lockdown orders.
Nina Ambrose was thrilled to celebrate her father, Roger’s, birthday with him in person last month, thanks to her position at the Manor Lodge care home in Chelmsford, South West News Service (SWNS) reports. Ambrose was furloughed from her job in cosmetics this spring and began volunteering at the nursing home so she could see her father amid COVID-19 visiting restrictions.
The dedicated daughter said her position has been a blessing because she can check in on her 77-year-old father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and lift other residents’ spirits during this trying time.
“It’s lovely and rewarding to do, gives me a routine, and I’ve been able to meet residents and staff at a time which has been very isolating for many,” the woman, from Wittle, told SWNS. “Plus I’m seeing that everyone’s dementia story and journey is different.”
Ambrose began working as an activities and events coordinator at Manor Lodge three days a week in April and gets to visit her dad after each shift.
Her father, a retired truck driver, has had Alzheimer’s for 12 years and has been declining for the last six months. Ambrose said she and her father are as close as “peas in a pod” and that it was heartbreaking to be separated for five weeks when the pandemic hit.
“Dad and I have always been very close, we’re like peas in a pod,” she explained. In a sense, she added, her father inspired her current work, as he volunteered often after retiring.
Now, the woman said she’s grateful to be making a difference during this difficult time.
“I love it,” Ambrose said of her work at Manor Lodge. “It makes the residents so happy, when I go in, they start clapping and saying, ‘sing sing,’ and they remember all the old songs.”
“I wouldn’t have considered doing this job before, but this has absolutely inspired me,” she said. “I feel I’ve got so much to give. I love to make people happy and make them smile.”
The doting daughter was also proud when her dad’s story was recently shared by the Empathy Museum in London.
In a word of advice for others caring for elderly loved ones, Ambrose said to choose cheer over “doom and gloom.”
“You can tap into what made people happy and the activities they once enjoyed at whatever level they can enjoy them now,” she suggested. “I tell Dad the same joke every week and he laughs his head off.”