Tom is 76 years old and has recently started using our scheme which is being supported by David, one of the Shared Lives Carers. Tom lives on his own after recently losing his wife and is registered blind; he had become quite isolated and was spending long periods of time on his own at home.
David is 59 years old and has been a Shared Lives Carer for eight years. He has recently retired after completing 25 years service for Oldham Council as a Community Vocational Worker.
After a social work assessment a referral was made to our scheme for day support, one session per week to allow Tom to go out of his home environment and take part in activities of his choosing, such as walking or going to the local shops, which he used to enjoy when his wife was alive and she acted as his 'eyes'. David also supports Tom with other hobbies that he has been unable to do, such as gardening, an interest that they both share.
Tom and David initially had an introduction to find out if they were a suitable match for each other. They appeared to hit if off straight away and arranged to have their first session the next week. They picked a day and time that was suitable for both of them and decided that this could be changed if needed.
The aim of the sessions is to lift Thomas' mood, reduce risks to his mental health and emotional wellbeing, reduce his social isolation, reduce anxiety levels through social inclusion, give him some control over his immediate environment and also ensure his safety and well-being whilst going out of the house. A large part of David's role is to also help to increase Thomas' motivation and give him back his quality of life that has disappeared since his wife died. The service acts as a real alternative to traditional day care, which due to Thomas' presenting needs and current anxiety levels, the social worker did not feel would be appropriate.