Andrew is autistic, this means his routine and having regular people in his life is very important for him because he finds change difficult. He had a very active and exciting life before lockdown. He went to day centres five days a week, had trips out with friends on Saturdays and on Sundays he visited his parents’ house.
Before lockdown, Andrew was in the middle of transitioning to Cornerways – one of our residential care homes in Berkshire. He had managed a few visits to Cornerways before the lockdown but there was still much to do to enable him to move in.
A fast transition to Cornerways
On the 25 March 2020, Andrew was due to sleep over at Cornerways and then go back home and continue his day visits until he eventually moved into the care home. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had struck and plans needed to be changed. Staff worked with Andrew and, together, they decided he should jump straight to moving in on this date. This meant they could confidently keep everyone safe and ensure he could successfully transition before the country completely locked down due to the pandemic.
Andrew was helped to move into Cornerways by his previous care provider. Although Andrew’s furniture had not arrived and the walls were bare, the staff at Cornerways did their best to make his room as homely as possible.
His previous support staff assisted with the transition for 2.5 days, helping Andrew settle into his new home and answering any questions our staff had about his support. This collaboration between the two staff teams was very important. It enabled everyone to focus on Andrew’s needs and to make the transition as smooth for him as possible.
Adapting to a new home and routine during lockdown
Amongst all this change, which Andrew already finds tough, he unfortunately caught COVID-19. This meant his routine had to change again. Staff could not isolate him in his bedroom, so they adapted the lounge to be his own space during this time. This meant Andrew was comfortable and staff could support him at a safe distance to help him make a full recovery.
A few months down the line of Andrew living at Cornerways, we are still in lockdown. Andrew has not been able to attend an of his activities, nor has he been able to see his family or friends since he moved in. This has been difficult for Andrew, as his routine has changed multiple times, but staff have supported him to settle in.
His new routine involves making his breakfast getting the things he needs from the cupboard and putting them away again with verbal prompts. He also cleans his room each morning, improving his independent living skills.
Andrew lets staff close his bedroom door at night, something he did not like beforehand. He’s also enjoying helping around the house, keeping his room clean and working in the garden. Daily walks have helped Andrew keep active and get out in the community, albeit in a different way to before lockdown. He’s lost over 10kgs in weight just by going on those walks and being involved in housework.
He’s still able to keep in contact with mum, dad and Bertie the dog twice a week, and they even get treated to some photos of Andrew doing daily tasks to help promote independence.
Andrew’s getting really creative in lockdown, he’s done lots of arts and crafts and even made a TV, radio, washing machine and is currently making a guitar! He also loves singing and dancing with the staff.
Cornerways is now home
Although Andrew moved in quickly and under strange circumstances, he now proudly calls Cornerways his home. He even reassures fellow residents by saying “I am coming back!” when he goes out for his long walks. He talks to the other residents at Cornerways like he’s known them for years.
Andrew’s parents are extremely happy with how Andrew has settled into his new home. They shared, “His whole world was turned upside down. He was in a new home with new residents and staff, a huge challenge for somebody who relies on routine and structure in his life. Thanks to the staff, Andy has coped better than we ever hoped, despite having the virus and being isolated. We worried and were anxious about how he was managing in such difficult circumstances but this week when we finally were able to see him after a four-month lockdown, Andrew was his usual bright happy self, lost a bit of weight, and looked very well. We cannot thank the whole team enough for caring for Andy during such a difficult period for us as a family.”
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