Gary, one of our live-carers, has recently shared his story of how he helped his latest client to become independent again after losing his wife of 51 years.
At Gary’s latest placement supporting his client’s emotional needs was a major part of his live-in carer role. Gary provided his client with a listening ear and the support he needed during his grieving process.
“Listening to him when he would often speak of his wife, he laughed and cried sometimes at the same time, but he knew with me he had someone that was always happy to listen.”
During his time at the placement, Gary ensured his client took care of himself and supported his day to day routine. He would also ensure they had their meals together, as the social aspect of eating together was very important to his client.
To support his client’s physical wellbeing, Gary would work out with his client using his exercise bike. They would set each other challenging routes to undertake and as a result over the last 3 months they were able to go out cycling together. Improving his client’s physical wellbeing has also had a positive impact on his mental-wellbeing too.
Jackie Cooper, our in-house Occupational Therapist, gives an insight into the important connection between mental health and exercise,
“It is increasingly well recognised that physical exercise and mental health are inextricably linked. On the physiological side, physical exercise promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Psychologically, exercise can serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression. (https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise). Exercise can give you a feeling of achievement and an improved sense of self-worth and value. As you exercise and look after yourself, you are likely to find that your motivation and energy levels lift, enabling you to become more engaged in your daily living activity and social interactions and this in turn will have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.”
During his time with his client there have been some significant milestones that Gary has supported his client to work through; the first Christmas and New Year without his wife, his birthday and his late wife’s birthday and their wedding anniversary. All very emotional times which Gary has been there for to help celebrate and reflect on.
Gary remained with his client during lockdown, isolating him and helping him to use technology to keep in touch with family and friends.
Overtime Gary saw his client’s mental wellbeing as he started to talk about and plan for the future.
With Gary’s support and the improvements made to his client’s mental health and physical wellbeing, he has his independence back and is no longer in need of a live-in carer. Even though Gary was sad to be leaving the placement, due to the strong friendship they had built, he is really happy to see his client’s abundance of confidence and independence in this new stage of his life.
The support provided by a live-in carer gave Gary’s client the chance to build his independence back up, to improve his mental health and physical wellbeing. The service our live-in carers provide is mutually rewarding for both our carers and clients.