We recently went to help a 52-year-old man who currently lives on his own in a first floor flat. His family don’t live locally but he has a few friends who help him with laundry, meals, cleaning, taking him to appointments, shopping etc.
Walking was quite difficult for him as he had leg ulcers. He also had heart problems which meant he needed a pacemaker. This made it hard for him to make meals and drinks for himself as he couldn’t stand up for very long. He is a very proud man and, although he also needed help to get washed and dressed and getting to the toilet, he always declined this type of support.
We met with him and his family and friends and he agreed to have support with meals and this was arranged privately by his family. His friends agreed to continue to support with his shopping, cleaning, laundry, medical appointments. He continued to refuse the support with his personal care as he claimed that he was able to manage it. After a few days, he cancelled his meals service as he didn’t like it.
His family and friends were becoming even more worried about his health.
We tried a new approach this time – getting him to learn how to prepare his meals for himself. Our 6-week reablement programme is there to teach him the skills he needs and also to encourage him to get help with his personal hygiene needs. We also spoke to our colleagues in the OT team who provided him with a commode, walking frame and a perching stool for the kitchen and bathroom. The welfare rights service will be visiting as well to make sure he is getting all the right benefits.
After two weeks in reablement, there was a bit of a setback. His family told us he wanted to commit suicide as he was getting very frustrated and fed up being on his own without any social interaction or mental stimulation. Our NCO team are helping him to find a ground floor flat or bungalow so he can get out and about more easily.
Our reablement team have finished their support and there’s been a huge improvement. He is able to manage most things without any support. The perching stool in the kitchen means that he can now prepare meals and is comfortable bringing his meals and drinks to the lounge in his trolley. With regular support from the district nurses, his leg ulcers have got better and he is getting around more easily with the support of the equipment from the OT team. He’s looking forward to moving to a ground floor flat soon and is a very happy and confident man once again. He can now see the benefit of asking for help at times. Although it can be a very hard thing to do, it has made a huge difference to this man’s life.