About our ‘Here to HELP’ Covid response services
Eva is 95 years old, profoundly deaf and partially sighted. Her niece and main carer, Margaret, lives in Pateley Bridge and had to self-isolate due to her health. At the beginning of the outbreak, Margaret was concerned about Eva’s welfare as she had no food in the house and was not managing well. She was also unable to speak to Eva on the phone due to Eva’s hearing loss. Margaret made contact with North Yorkshire County Council’s Customer Service Centre who directed her to the HELP service.
We arranged for volunteer Lynne to call round to the house every other day. Lynne initially held up a sign at the window stating her name and that her niece, Margaret, has asked us to check round to see whether she is ok. Lynne now writes her side of the conversation on a whiteboard provided by HELP. Eva then tells her if she needs anything.
Over the weeks, Eva came to recognise Lynne and said her name when she came round. Lynne maintained regular contact with Margaret to let her know how Eva was getting on. This was a big relief for Margaret, as she does not live locally and could not visit Eva during this crisis. She said: “Eva wouldn’t normally like to receive help from anyone but she thinks the world of Lynne. Lynne is absolutely lovely and so bubbly. I certainly have been able to sleep better knowing that Lynne was keeping an eye on Eva and getting in essentials for her. I just cannot thank Lynne and your service enough!”
Lynne said she has made ‘two friends for life’ in both Margaret and Eva and feels really rewarded that Eva has come to recognise and trust her.
Shopping for vulnerable adults
The residents of three community houses live independently facilitated by support workers. Most of the residents require one-to-one support to go out into the community to do things like shopping or go for a walk. The majority of the residents are at high risk from Covid-19 infection and were required to self-isolate. Staff are required in the home to attend to residents’ needs and put on extra activities for residents during this period. There was also a greater risk of infection entering the community houses if the staff were having to go out to get shopping.
Service Support Worker, Andy, and several of our wonderful volunteers did regular weekly shops for residents during lockdown. House Manager, Abadulyan said: “This was a really useful service. By having your support, we greatly reduced the risk of Covid-19 exposure to our residents. It was fantastic not to have to pay for their time and for fuel. What a great service for the more vulnerable in our community.”
About our non-Covid services
Mary – Help at Home client
When Mary started experiencing problems with her hip, she found herself unable to keep up with her large garden. As well as taking a sense of pride in her garden, she also felt guilt about letting the neighbours down with an unkempt garden. With family abroad, Mary felt she had no one she could turn to her for assistance with her garden. Age UK, who were supporting Mary at the time, suggested she get in touch with Help at Home to assist with cutting back her overgrown hedges.
As Mary’s physical health continued to deteriorate, she started to feel unable to cope and experienced panic attacks. ‘I felt very down about having to make adjustments to cater for my physical health. I also felt an immense pressure of having to cope in this fast moving world.’
Jet washing her path was one of the tasks that Mary was no longer able to tackle. She was concerned that the slimy paths might cause her to fall, especially as she uses them to access her side door. Since then, Help at Home have been coming every year to pressure wash them for her.
Mary explains: ‘As you get older, you start to realise you can’t do everything you used to be able to. I don’t like it, but it’s a fact. Help at Home have been absolutely wonderful! They come out once or twice a year and just help me with all those small things that start to become a worry.’
On their recent visit, Mary mentioned to Andy from Help at Home that she had a problem with the light at her back door. An electrician had quoted her £100 to fix it so she was making do with a torch.
Andy replaced the light with a long lasting LED lamp and it is now working properly again. Mary said: ‘I’ll be right as a bobbin now when I’m coming back home in the dark. It’s just these little things that make such a big difference.’
Alison – Driving Force voluntary car driving service client
Due to a chronic health condition, Alison needs her dressings changed several times a week. As taxis were proving unaffordable, the nursing team suggested Alison use our Driving Force service. Over the past 12 months, a team of volunteer drivers have provided assistance to get to the surgery several times a week.
Alison admits she was initially a little nervous about having a stranger taking her to the surgery. ‘It can be nerve racking having a driver you have never met before. It hasn’t been that way with any of your drivers. I feel so at ease with them all. They are all so friendly and obliging.’
She has now got know some of the drivers quite well and enjoys their company on the journeys to and from the surgery. ‘It’s like catching up with an old friend each time I see Mike. I am so grateful your service is there.’
Elizabeth – Ripon & Rural befriending and voluntary car driving service client
Elizabeth has been receiving a home visit from our befriending scheme for several years. This support has enabled her to talk through her worries and enjoy the company of a friendly, familiar face.
Following a decline in her physical health, Elizabeth was recently forced to give up driving. She found this loss of independence a real blow, especially as she has been so active throughout her life. Elizabeth told us how this makes her feel.
‘I miss driving so much, especially for little journeys, such as getting to the post office and to my exercise class. I’m also worried about falling and I get these panic attacks. It’s awful. I would be stuck without your drivers.’
The voluntary car driving service has assisted Elizabeth with transport to medical appointments and helped her to regain some of her independence. With encouragement from our befriending service, she has also started to take part in a weekly exercise class, do her shopping and visit the bank, all of which she was finding difficult to achieve on her own.
When Elizabeth’s dog became ill, she was not confident enough to take the dog in the taxi to the vets. We accompanied Elizabeth to the vet and stayed with her through the consultation, helping to ease her distress.
Elizabeth really appreciates the support she has received. As well as going shopping with the volunteer visitor, she is now starting to venture out to local places of interest with her volunteer. This is helping her to feel more positive about her life and about her abilities.
Elizabeth’s family describes how the support Elizabeth has received has also benefited them too:
‘Mum really enjoys having a volunteer befriender and like the activities they do together. She particularly enjoys getting out to her exercise class too.
‘We have noticed a difference in mum since she received your support. She has been noticeably happier and more positive since these visits have started. The activities have given her something to talk about when we visit and phone her. In the past when we would talk she would concentrate on negative issues and ailments rather than positive things.
‘Having someone to accompany her to the vets has had a huge benefit too. Often my mother is unable to hear important instructions and will ‘guess’ what is said, having someone with her is a huge advantage.
‘The service has lessened the worry for us as family too. In the past when I have been on holiday I have come home to a long list of my mother’s concerns and details of how dreadful her time has been whilst I was away. Since accessing your service, she appears more resilient and less inward thinking. Knowing that she has help certainly lessened my concerns whilst I was away. This is also the case with my sister who lives away and is unable to offer regular help. A big thank you for the positive effect your service has had on my mother’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.’