A couple of months ago, Catherine, a person we support at one of our supported living services in Swansea would only speak on occasion and would not show much interest in activities. Catherine, 59, moved to our services after living at Maesglas, a temporary home following the death of her mother whom she had lived with previously her whole life.
In a short space of time, Catherine who has Down Syndrome and mild learning disabilities had to deal with many changes, Lowrie, her support worker tells me “When Catherine first came, she was withdrawn and wouldn’t attend any activities or really speak to anyone”. The team’s ‘can do’ approach to supporting the people we support in challenging situations resulted in Catherine opening up and communicating with the team. The team additionally began to notice medical issues with Catherine when she first moved to our service, after a visit to the GP, they discovered her bowel issues were causing her to lose her hearing. The team helped change her diet and worked hard to help her improve her health, encouraging her to eat different types of meals and not the same meal.
Catherine has since settled more and has been willing to try new things, this year, she attended the annual Involvement Conference which she enjoyed, saying “it was friendly, and I enjoyed meeting new people”. The team in Swansea are working to help Catherine become more independent and her attendance at the conference encouraged her, following the presentation on Money Management, to ask for help saving money and budgeting. Attending a conference meeting dozens of new people and being in a new space can be difficult and more so for an individual with learning disabilities but Catherine took it in her stride, joining in during the dancing at the end of the conference and the raffle where she won a talking clock, kindly donated by the assistive technology company, Abilia.
An easy-going person, Catherine is most happy colouring or watching her DVDs, her favourites being Finding Nemo and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it’s wonderful that the team support her to do what she wants to but also encourage her and work with her for greater independence. It’s wonderful that she was able to step out of her comfort zone in such a manner and shine, the way she did. As well as embarking on new adventures, Catherine has also succeeded in making friends with the other people who live with her in Swansea, she tells me about Donna, who she called her “friend”.
It’s positive that the team have worked to understand and get to know Catherine, supporting her in her health and well-being, although a difficult couple of years, Catherine has settled well into her new life in Swansea and at Walsingham Support because it’s not just support, it’s happiness.