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The Harvingas Staycation

The Harvingas sit round a table and participate in a Zoom call Published Wednesday, 6th May 2020

How do you cope when you’re looking after adults with learning disabilities and lockdown presents a challenge to the normal routine?

The solution for Karen and Bjorn Harvinga was to turn this around and make the most of being at home by having a ‘staycation’.

Karen and Bjorn are Shared Lives Carers with the Worcestershire County Council Shared Lives Scheme, and offer placements for two people, with support needs.

Shared Lives is a scheme where adults with learning disabilities live within the carer’s own family home. This can be for a short period of time or respite, or for a longer arrangement. 

Karen and Bjorn have two people, Lizzie and Chloe, living with them in a longer-term Shared Lives placement.

Having already booked a week in the summer, where everyone was going to have a staycation, they decided to bring it forward. 

There are lots of positive things they are doing during their staycation to keep happy and well.

Both Lizzie and Chloe go out for a daily walk with Bjorn. Every Friday Chloe and Karen have a ‘walk with a twist’, where they take a longer walk with a goody bag containing a flask of drink, piece of fruit and a biscuit.  Their walk is local, ensuring they keep social distancing but with lots to see including sheep, horses, butterflies and a swan on her nest.   

In the evenings they try to have a really nice meal. Lizzie and Chloe like a glass of wine with their meal and, weather permitting, they have been having barbeques or making pizzas for all the family.

Nineveh Ridge Care Farm and Day Centre keep in touch with Lizzie and Chloe by sending them videos of their care farm workers with the animals.

Lizzie and Chloe use WhatsApp and Zoom to keep in touch with their families, and every Thursday they join the clap for carers.

Karen said: “We are actually enjoying having quality time together, even though we are having our staycation earlier and longer than we had planned for in August!”

Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care added: “Our Shared Lives placements have been extremely successful in providing a nurturing and stimulating home for people with learning disabilities. We can see how well it works through the Harvinga’s example of how they have adapted to the current situation with their ‘staycation’ and how everyone in their household is getting the most out of it.”