Learning & Information | Rukuhia Te Puna Mātauranga

Cheryl Kayes – Lower Hutt


“The hardest thing about Lockdown for me was not seeing my Mum. I visit Mum two or three times a week. She lives a few blocks away. It takes me half an hour to walk there.

My brother was looking after Mum but I still worried about her because I couldn’t see her.

I rang Mum a lot to keep in touch. I rang just after dinner every day. I can’t live with my mum because she can’t look after me now. I came here nine years ago.

Helen was my carer when I was young and I helped her a lot at Karahands (respite service). I am very close to her and I couldn’t see her either. I phoned Helen during Lockdown.

I like to know what’s happening. Waiting to hear when I could see Mum and Helen again was hard.

I was so excited when Level 1 was announced. I said take me in the car, let’s go! For the first few visits, they took me in the car. It was so good to see Mum and see that she is okay.

Helen came to visit me after Lockdown too. She’s very busy looking after the kids (at Karahands) so she can’t come a lot. I understand that and I know that she still loves me.

I didn’t find Lockdown too bad. We did lots of different things to keep busy.

I love listening to music on my CD player in my room with my headphones and I like singing too.

I like Elvis, the Bee Gees, Roy Orbison, Cliff Richard, Buddy Holly, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Spice Girls, Kylie Minogue, S Club 7, Britney Spears and Katy Perry.

I have a Cliff Richard calendar and pictures of Elvis in my room and a handbag with photos of Elvis on the front.

I love Katy Perry and really wanted to listen to her but we couldn’t get a CD because of Lockdown. My carer Lillian and her husband downloaded Teenage Dream and another Katy CD. It was really good that they did that for me. I listened to them a lot.

I usually do baking at Laura Ferguson (recreational programme) and singing on Tuesdays. I liked baking at home during Lockdown. I like sweet food but I can’t have too much because it makes my tummy sore.

We made baskets for Easter and had an Easter egg hunt around the garden. I found most of the eggs and shared them with my housemates.

We watched movies to pass the time in Lockdown. I love musicals. Our favourite movie was Peggy Sue Got Married, and we watched Top Gun, Mamma Mia! and Baywatch.

I also made a rug for my room. We made pompoms with fleece wool that the staff got for us and we stuck them on. It took quite a while, about two weeks. I enjoyed doing that.

I like to keep busy and to help around the house.

I hang out the washing and bring it in and I vacuum the whole house once a week. I rinse the dishes and stack them in the dishwasher and I help my flatmates make their beds in the morning.

I also help the staff with preparing dinner.

I like keeping active. I played basketball in the Lower Hutt league and was in Special Olympics for swimming and basketball for many years. I got a gold medal and was selected to compete in China.

I was so pleased I could get my walking shoes out and go walking in the community and see Mum again after Lockdown ended.” – 17 September 2020

  • This article appeared in Life in a Pandemic, a book about disabled and autistic people in Covid-19 Lockdown, 2020. © Life Unlimited Charitable Trust (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha).

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