COVID-19 – ‘Meaningful use of time’ during lockdown
By Elena Casilli, Service Coordinator, VOICES
As a service coordinator we don’t just focus on “coordinating services”, however this is the bulk of what our role entails. There is however, another aspect of our role, which I think is the best part. The importance it plays in people’s lives is acknowledging that people are not defined by their multiple and complex needs. My colleagues will be shouting “I know what she’s on about” because I’m always talking about it…
Meaningful use of time (MUT).
For me MUT is the whole kit and caboodle and I truly believe that it is powerful in shifting a person’s self-opinion and the opinion of others. It is a small part of what makes us us… people with quirks, different interests, likes and dislikes, hobbies, what we consider to be leisure could be another person’s idea of hell, but everyone has something they love to do or would like to give a go. The key is to keep on going, exploring and trying things out until something is found, something that clicks for that person and then you see a different side to someone.
Currently with the cloud of Covid 19 over our community, how do we support customers to pursue MUT under lockdown? These are more challenging times because of the restrictions coupled with the increased problems of isolation, loneliness and boredom. However, for most of our customers isolation, loneliness and boredom have been a continual presence in their lives pre Covid 19.
In recent weeks I have been asking customers if there is anything that I could purchase to reduce their boredom under lockdown – what has come out has been fabulous. I have been able to talk to a customer on the phone a couple of times a week while they have gone for a walk in their local area (going for a virtual walk if you like). This has resulted in them considering volunteering at their local park. Past interests have been renewed, who knew Lego could bring someone so much fun and hours of enjoyment?
A customer said that Lego has helped, “With how I spend my time over the pandemic …… staying in ….. I am concentrating on the Lego and it’s helped me stop from doing silly things … but I really like looking at them, it makes me feel good when I complete one”.
I had no idea a particular customer loved crosswords, Sudoku and colouring in so much, and that 3D jigsaw puzzles were such a hit, plus Xbox gaming skills have skyrocketed in requiring a new controller and game.
The lockdown has highlighted how crucial MUT is for our customers and it needs to remain at the forefront of our minds when we are talking or meeting up with our customers. MUT conversations needs to be included in service coordination planning from the onset, when a customer commences a service. There may be very little input initially, but by chipping away and having regular conversations about MUT you might be surprised what people come up with and what they would like to pursue, it may be the catalyst needed to address other aspects of their life.