Learning Disabilities & Autism Opinion Real Lives

Uniting care homes and communities

Hannah Condliffe

Hannah Condliffe, Physiotherapist, Scotia Heights, part of Exemplar Health Care

Being part of our local communities is one of the things that makes us who we are. We’re all involved in a range of communities throughout our lives, which give us access to services and social groups that ensure our core needs are met.

It’s important for people to continue to feel engaged with their community when they live in a care home.

Doing so can reduce social isolation, introduce them to new experiences and ideas, and support them to continue activities, interests and relationships they had before moving into the home.

Right from the start, when people move into Scotia Heights, we ask them about the things they want to do and try. We work with them to develop their confidence and skills to engage in their local community, and take things at their own pace.

It may be that some people aren’t able to go into the community initially, but with the support of our in-house Therapy and Activities Team, trained Care Assistants and Nurses, and external organisations, we work with them to re-introduce them to life outside the home.
Andy’s story

Andy moved to Scotia Heights in 2014 following a stroke in 2009, which left him with difficulties in processing and comprehending information, and weakness to the left side of his body. Andy also lives with schizophrenia and in the past has experienced episodes of psychosis and disorientation.

When he first moved into Scotia Heights, Andy would often spend time alone in his room, playing on his Playstation.
With support from the Care Team and input from the Activities Team at Scotia Heights, Andy now enjoys a good quality life that’s full of the things he loves, despite his challenges.

His care package provides one to one staffing to enable and empower him to engage in meaningful activities both inside and outside of the home.
Andy has recently started fishing, a hobby that he enjoyed when he was younger. He previously did rod fishing, but due to his left sided weakness, he has had to adapt, taking up pole fishing instead. He was thrilled to have caught five fish on his first time back.

Andy said: “I whip the rod back and make sure that no one is behind me. It was quiet for the first 15-20 minutes, then oomph… I got it. It was mint!”

A keen footballer, Andy also attends walking football sessions at the local Dimensions Leisure Centre. He loves having a kick around with friends and keeping active to maintain muscle function in his legs.

A few months ago, Andy started volunteering at local community group, Green Door.

Here, Andy works at the bike hire centre once a week, on a Thursday between 10.00 and 13.00. He interacts with customers, moves the bikes around and has learnt how to fit a bicycle bell, which he’s very proud of.

Andy loves volunteering and treats it like a real job. Since starting a few months ago, his confidence has grown and he’s learned new skills – he loves interacting with people and getting out in the local community.

In future, Andy would like to increase his hours at Green Door, and his long-term goal is to try to get a paid job.

“Any bikes that go out, we have to lock them up to stop them getting nicked,” said Andy

“The Greendoor staff are brilliant!”

We hope our support will continue to enable Andy to do even more things for himself and take part in a wider range of activities.



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