Helping Helen to expand her horizons!

When the residential care home where Helen* lived closed, she began a transition to Hunters Lodge, our residential care home in Hereford. During this transition, we supported Helen to take small steps to come out of her shell and become part of the Hunters Lodge family!

Meet Helen

Helen is 60 years old. She has learning disabilities and epilepsy. She loves to be social and enjoys spending time with her friends!

Helen previously lived in another residential care for 30 years. Although she really liked living there, it was due to close, so she needed to find somewhere else to call home.

Before we can provide support to a person, we carry out an assessment to see what support they will need. When we assessed Helen, we found that she could face bariatric care for the rest of her life due to struggles with her weight. Helen told us that she often lacks motivation and that she hadn’t gone outside the home in a very long time.

Although Helen was friendly during this meeting, she wasn’t too comfortable around our team because we were strangers. So, she kept her communication short and felt happier simply watching the TV, especially once all her other house mates started to leave the room.

A fresh start

The imminent closure of Helen’s current home meant we couldn’t provide the transition the team would have preferred. Typically, our transitions move at the pace that’s right for the individual. This can take weeks, allowing the person to visit their new home, meet the team, the other residents and maybe even stay the night. Because of this, Helen understandably felt scared on her moving day. She felt out of her comfort zone and worried about leaving the one house she had known for much of her life.

When she arrived at Hunters lodge, Helen was very anxious.  She went straight to her safe space, which was the sofa and TV. She even kept her coat on!

Gaining trust

The team worked with Helen over the coming months to earn her trust through consistent reassurance, helping her overcome challenges with some gentle persuasion and a lot of praise once completing tasks. For example, Helen wanted to feel comfortable leaving the house, so we began taking small steps into the outside world through short car journeys to the end of the driveway.

Gradually, this led her to explore beyond the house and drive. After her confidence grew going out in the car with team, we went even further, taking her for ice cream while sat on a bench five miles from the house! This was a real turning point for Helen and from here, her journey really started.

Quote from the staff at Hunters lodge –

“Helen has gone from a scared kitten to a social butterfly and likes to be involved in everything! Her world has expanded past the sofa and all the things she has achieved has been celebrated by Helen and the staff team as she has grown and developed during her time with us!”

Setting goals

As part of life at Hunters Lodge, we encourage residents to set, and achieve, meaningful goals. For Helen, she wanted to reduce her weight for health reasons, so the team worked with her to break this down into steps.

Because Helen had previously experienced long periods of inactivity, it was important this plan was implemented at the right speed for her. For example, Helen began to get involved with house activities, which resulted in her moving around and getting to know the other residents.

Another part of this goal was to be able to push her dolls and bags in the heavy wheelbarrow around the garden. To begin with, Helen used the lighter baby buggy before progressing to the heavy wheelbarrow. Now Helen is much more active and is losing weight in a healthy, more sustainable way!

Life at Hunters

Since joining Hunters Lodge, Helen has grown in confidence and now fully participates in all activities in and out of the home. She is very social and welcoming to everyone who visits the home – especially new team members and loves to give everyone a grand tour of her new home!

The team at Hunters Lodge even managed to find Helens best friend from her previous residential home for a catch-up. The reunion was very emotional as Helen and her friend finally got so see each other again. The pair now attend weekly, local activities together!

Are you looking for care and support?

Voyage Care offers person-centred care in a range of settings. This can be out and about in the community, in your own home or in one of our residential care homes.

To find out more about our residential care homes, please visit our care home information page.

*Names have been changed to protect identity.

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