A live-in carer has shared his story of how he helped his client become independent again after losing his wife of 51 years.
Gary, who works for the Good Care Group, provided his client with a listening ear and the support he needed during the 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,” he said.
The Good Care Group has shared this story as part of our Good Care News series, which launched in January to highlight the important contribution that care workers make to society.
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 also 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 three 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, the Good Care Group’s in-house Occupational Therapist, said: “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.”
During his time with his client, there have been some significant milestones that Gary has supported his client to work through, including the first Christmas and New Year without his wife, his birthday, his late wife’s birthday and their wedding anniversary. Gary was there to help his client celebrate and reflect on all these events.
The live-in carer remained with his client during lockdown, isolating him and helping him to use technology to keep in touch with family and friends.
Over time, Gary saw his client’s mental wellbeing improve as he started to talk about and plan for the future. With Gary’s support, the client 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.