Good News Stories May 2020

*Members name changed to protect privacy

*Elsie is 88 years old and living with Dementia and although being partially sighted, is still living in her own home with some support in place. Elsie usually attends our weekly social clubs but due to the Corona Virus Lockdown had found herself housebound and without any social interaction except for her carers who tend to her and while they do a fantastic job, they are not there for long, usually 15 minutes.

I began calling Elsie at the beginning of the lockdown period, initially to establish that she had all the correct services in place and that she had someone to do her food shopping and had the prescriptions she needed etc, but also to offer companionship via telephone in what was very uncertain and unprecedented times.

Elsie found this very reassuring and was very grateful for the company. Elsie expressed how much she enjoyed chatting on the phone to someone and asked if I would be able to call more often than the once a week that was initially intended.

I now make regular calls around 3 times a week to Elsie, sometimes more if there has been an issue that Elsie needed help with or if she had a low mood. Elsie particularly enjoys a weekend call as she says that “everyone normally forgets about me on a weekend”.

At first, due to Elsie’s dementia, when making the calls I would have to spend some time explaining who I was and where I was from and convincing Elsie that she did in fact know me and had met me before and then sometime into the call she would have to ask me what my name was again. However, as time has gone on this has changed immensely.

Elsie now recognises my voice immediately as I say Hello and calls me by my name without any prompting whatsoever. Elsie has had less low mood days and is now mostly cheerful and positive and in good spirits during the phone calls. We talk about all sorts and have lots of laughs. Elsie loves her music and singing so we sometimes have a sing song or Elsie will play some music and I have to guess who it is. Elsie said that even though she can’t see me, it feels like I’m there in the room with her and that it helps to pass the long days away. 🥰

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J has been a member of Friendship at Home for the past 4 years she is usually visited by a befriender once a week. Obviously due to the current situation this has had to change.
We have been ringing her weekly and on one of the phone calls she told me that her garden was getting her down and she missed being able to get any plants as she likes to do this.
One of our staff members who is a keen gardener rang her and asked if she would like her garden tidying and obviously it would be in guide lines with social distancing.
J was delighted to accept the offer and when they went to sort out the garden they also took her a plant which was very much appreciated.
When I next rung her she couldn’t stop talking about the lovely couple who had tidied her garden had a chat with her and also how pleased she was the plant.
The whole experience had made her feel so much better and she said “I’ve always thought my befriender had a halo around her head now I think everyone at Friendship at Home does.”🥰

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