“Ciara’s visits give him a purpose, a reason to get up on those days,” says Colin’s wife, Karen.
Colin is one of our Living Well patients, and has recently started receiving weekly visits from Ciara, one of our Home Support volunteers. These volunteers visit patients who would like some company during the day. Each volunteer is paired with a patient by our Home Support Coordinator, and visits that patient once a week, for a few hours. They may help with things such as driving patients to and from hospital or GP appointments, accompanying them to the shops or garden centre, going for walks, or simply sitting and listening as they talk. Patients frequently tell us how much difference these visits make to their lives, and they also reassure their carers too, who know that their loved one has some company and is being looked after.
“Ciara visits Colin once a week,” says Karen. “She started coming a few months ago. Colin doesn’t go out of house when I’m at work; he just stays indoors. We were contacted by Phyllis Tuckwell’s Home Support Coordinator who suggested that Colin might like someone to come round to talk to him while I was at work, so that he wasn’t always on his own, and that maybe they could go for a walk together too. Colin agreed and Ciara came round to meet us. We all got on well, and arranged that she would visit Colin every Wednesday, for about an hour to an hour and a half, while I was at work. When she visits, she and Colin often go for a walk, or sit and have a chat, or sometimes go out to the doctors or to collect a prescription from the chemist. Getting out of the house again has helped Colin to get some of his confidence back; having that support of going somewhere with someone alongside him has really helped.”
“So many things that Colin used to enjoy doing have gone by the wayside now. He used to love going fishing, but he finds that difficult, and he used to really love ten pin bowling. He mentioned it to Ciara once, and she asked if he would like to go again. He said yes, and so we arranged to all go bowling, the three of us. It was a really lovely outing. It was so nice to feel part of the outside world again, and not just stuck inside the four walls of our house. We played two games and Ciara won both! We’ve arranged to go again, and we’ve now also got the added challenge of beating our own high scores, and beating Ciara!”
“I feel a lot happier knowing that Colin’s not always on his own when I’m at work, and that at least one day a week he’s doing something that doesn’t involve appointments or medical conversations, but instead is something which he enjoys and gets real pleasure and benefit from.”
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