In Warrington Shared Lives, one of the options we offer to people is day support. This is where the Shared Lives carer uses their own home as a base to support someone but also supports them to get out and about too. We usually have referrals from the local authority but sometimes things happen a little differently.
One sunny Friday afternoon, one of the people we support and her Shared Lives carer were sat with the front door open enjoying the sunshine. They noticed a lady walking up and down the road looking a bit hot and muddled. The Shared Lives carer went to speak to her and immediately realised that she was confused and lost. With warmth and care, she invited the lady in for a cool drink and through gentle conversation and persuasion helped her to look in her bag and find a family member’s phone number. She said that her name was Melanie.
On Monday morning I received a phone call from the lady’s daughter thanking the person we support and our Shared Lives carer for the support they showed and asking if Shared Lives could support her mum! One of our Shared Lives carers have accessed some of the support and training from the dementia project and we matched her with the lady. They also have some similar interests; dancing, music and knitting. Her daughter said that Melanie had a memory problem and that the support needed to be about encouraging Melanie’s confidence and letting her take the lead with encouragement to help her feel ok about going out on her usual routes after getting lost. After their second meeting, I had this update from the Shared Lives carer:
“Melanie and I have had a lovely day today; we caught the bus into town, and walked to the ukulele group. Melanie was a little unsure when we got off the bus as to which direction to go in, after a little reassurance Melanie took the lead and was showing me where to go.
Her confidence grew once we arrived at the ukulele group and all her friends were coming over to greet her, I could see the change in her as she relaxed.
We had some lunch and a walk over to the Salvation Army then returned home around 3pm as Melanie said she was a little tired. I stayed and we had a cup of tea and a chat.”
I feel we have really benefitted from MacIntyre’s focus on Great Interactions and the expertise of the Dementia project in Warrington and it has meant that we have been able to respond positively to people, wherever we find them or however they find us!
Shared Lives Area Manager
* The name of the person in this blog has been changed