Sam Walsh is the activities co-ordinator at Woodview Care Home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, a beautiful extra care home in Bradwell. She’s a wave of energy and enthusiasm, and, as it turns out, bursting with great ideas around wellbeing.
It’s a fact that 86% of the Staffordshire social care workforce are women. It’s also a fact that nowadays, three out of four women suffer symptoms that really impact on their wellbeing and work, and that the average age of those symptoms isn’t 57 and above anymore. It’s 45 and above. That’s much younger.
“As an industry and in every work place to be honest, both women and men need to get talking about the menopause and recognising the impact it can have,“ Sam chimes, “and I’m so glad that we’re supporting our staff, residents and the community about it.”
So what was the problem and what was the solution, we keenly ask?
“Well I started out by putting out the feelers to staff. What did they need to feel supported and well, and in turn do their best for our residents?,” she said.
‘’We asked about lots of things – but one thing that came back very clear from both men and women, is that they needed to know more about the menopause, and they wanted other people to know about it, including management, and they wanted to be able to speak about it and feel supported. It happens to half the population – but no one talks about it!
“It was clear that we needed an open forum – a place for staff, residents, their family and even the community to drop in find out more, collect some information and talk about how they feel, what to expect, medication and HRT and everything in between. So we got in touch with the Menopause Café, a charity who’s mission it is to get the whole world talking about menopause.
Our café turned out great . It was just a few hours with an open door; a safe space for people to come and go eat cake, drink tea and talk about everything menopause and get some information. It connected people and made a real difference to everyone.”
But what was the most important outcome for Sam?
“It definably was how team members showed real support for each other - it really normalised it and made such a difference to the team culture and on the whole working atmosphere in general.
It really helped our management to understand what they could do to make things better – even the small things make a big difference.”
So would you recommend running a Menopause Café to any other care organisation, Sam?
“Absolutely. Check out the free awareness webinars and resources that are available to everyone across social care, but also to I’d get in touch with Menopause Café – they supported us so much for free.
We’ll definitely keep doing Menopause Cafes!”
LET’S SHARE: Do you have a good story about how you’re supporting your staff around the menopause or wellbeing in general? Something that other could do themselves? Get In touch with us and we’ll spread the word.