Visiting Angels North Shropshire, which is based in Oswestry, has awarded its annual Angel Caregiver of the Year to staff member Lani MacDonald for her work across 2023.

Nicky Goodall, director of Visiting Angels North Shropshire, was delighted to have awarded the title to Lani and said she has become indispensable to the company.

She said: “Lani has been with us just over a year and was brand new to care when she found us.

“Lani has been with us just over a year and was brand new to care when she found us.  She had worked in many voluntary roles prior to this but nothing that involved hands on care, nor personal care or medication.  Lani originates from South Africa and lives in Oswestry with her husband – she has lived in many parts of the world and is an experienced traveller.  Some of her family remain in South Africa, and one of her sons work on a cruise ship so Lani is pretty cut off from family life and misses them dearly.”

“Lani supports us in a full time role, providing care too many clients with early starts and some late nights and weekends which are part of her weekly schedule.  Lani works single and double handed care visits and goes above and beyond in everything that she does. Lani often provides cover with visits at short notice, adding to her already heavy schedule. Lani goes above and beyond for our clients and notes their birthdays, their feelings and moods and records and has client testimonials to reflect the outstanding work that she does in the community. Lani has success stories with clients; one of them being Mr T.”

Let us tell you about Mr T:

“Mr T lives in a rural village and was a surgeon in his working life .  Mrs T contacted us in frustration and distress as the surgeon she had married many moons ago was not safe to be left at home due to a dementia diagnosis and she was unable to leave their home without Mr T being supported.  We placed Lani with Mr T in January of 2023 – two five hour visits per week and she has supported this client ever since. Mr T was not able to walk more than a few steps, due to cognition and strength, and with Lani’s encouragement and patience and plentiful visits he can now walk up the hill in the rural village he lives where he can watch the birds and wildlife and they can often be seen outside together.”

“Lani sources weekly activities in her own time to keep Mr. T occupied and interested, from arts and crafts, quizzes, and puzzles and these are different each week – no visit is the same.  She often sends pictures of what activities they have completed during the sessions and the joy on Mr T’s face says it all.  We have pictures of concentration, laughter, and amusement many of which have ended up in our Wow folder which sits in reception.  Mrs T’s feedback for Lani states “ a true golden angel as without her my life would not be what it is and Mr T loves having her visit – everyone needs a Lani in their life”.”

“Lani also supports client RW.  When RW started his service with us it was much needed.  RW needed assistance to wash and dress and be supported at home.  Lani raised concerns regarding a patch of skin on RW’s head and after encouraging to see health professionals a skin cancer diagnosis was given.  The family have praised Lani on many occasions for assisting RW to seek professional opinions.  Lani has also encouraged RW with urine training whereby he has gone from the use of incontinence pads and these now not being needed. Lani has encouraged RW with exercises and he is now able to walk the dog with her.  RW no longer needs the visits for the reasons he started with us but RW has the visits ‘for companionship and to give me a drive to get up in the morning’.”

“Lani assisted our client Mrs D who had a severe form of Dementia/Alzheimer’s.  Lani assisted Mrs D into the community for sightseeing and socialization.  Lani has had many tears over this client, when she has struggled to understand Mrs D’s behaviour and has felt stressed and worried.  Mrs D (a previous farmer’s wife) was living alone in a run down farmhouse.  Lani has found her walking the fields looking for her children and her husband.  Lani turned to the office for support, she laughed and cried with the shenanigans of this client.  On our office tea and cake days, Lani has brought Mrs D to the office to join in the socialization. On some visits Lani has driven 60 miles to reach an attraction as she did not want Mrs D to be “bored with the same thing”.  Sadly, Mrs D went into residential care and Lani was heartbroken.  We received glorious feedback from the family for Lani’s efforts in maintaining a tough relationship with Mrs D.” ”

“Lani also volunteers in the community at the local Hope House Hospice Shop. Lani continues to amaze us and blows us away with her care, dedication, kindness, enthusiasm, and compassion.”

“Lani is an ambassador for VANS; she lives our mission every day.”

Nicky said that Lani will now join she and Mark, at the company’s national conference in December, which she is delighted about.

She added: “We make the process to start receiving care at home as easy as possible.”

Mark and Nicky Goodall (left and right) with Lani MacDonald (centre).

Lani MacDonald.