Helping older clients achieve a new lease of life

A Right at Home office is transforming the lives of socially isolated older people, by helping them to identify and engage in activities they enjoy doing.

Right at Home Mid Hampshire, based in Eastleigh, has also made a formal appointment of a Life Enrichment Co-ordinator, believed to be the first appointment of its kind in the UK in domiciliary care.

Toni Sutherden, also a senior caregiver with Right at Home, will be responsible for developing client personalisation plans – a recent requirement of the Care Quality Commission – but expanding on this by proposing activities to clients and their families in order to help them enjoy life to the full, complete with comprehensive timetables for reference.

Owner Nick Turner said: “We have always been mindful of enriching our clients’ lifestyles and have followed this approach informally as part of our vision of quality home care.

“After seeing some really positive results and getting great feedback, we wanted to increase the focus on socialising and really underline that there’s no reason why older people should have to lose their quality of life.”

The impact Toni has had on her first client’s weekly routine has been dramatic. With names of people and places changed to protect privacy, here is Geoffrey’s story…

Toni Sutherland with clientGeoffrey is 87 and has had a highly energetic life as public servant, traveller, pianist and correspondent.

He recently came to live in the area from Cornwall as he could no longer live safely on his own, so his son Jim packed him up and brought him to his home near Eastleigh.

After he had spent some weeks taking Geoffrey out in the car with him for six hours a day while he worked, a friend of Jim’s telephoned Right at Home Mid Hampshire on Geoffrey’s behalf.

After four weeks working with Toni, Geoffrey now has coffee mornings with a social group at the local community centre on one Monday, and a quiz and board game morning with lunch on another.

On one Tuesday he can choose to attend an 11am film at the Silver Screen, and on the other he goes to U3A with its guest speakers, trips and the social life that goes with it.

Wednesday holds Lunch Club in store, complete with coffee and chat, bingo, quiz, raffle, entertainment and a book club on second Wednesdays.

Thursday can mean another trip to the cinema or perhaps a trip out with the caregiver for some shopping and a light lunch.

Geoffrey has a piano lesson on Fridays; much to his great joy Toni found a teacher half a mile down the road.

Nick Turner continued: “All the time we have to ask ourselves, what sort of care would we like for our own parents? Wouldn’t we like meaningful care that includes thoughtful planning of the day-to-day life of those we care about? Shouldn’t we deliver care that our clients will LOVE?

“We are very excited to see the outcomes of Toni’s work with more clients and are delighted that Geoffrey is now enjoying his retirement years in a way neither he nor Jim thought possible just a short time ago.”

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