“You should name Age UK, Age OK, as I now feel all ok! Peter said at a recent coffee morning.
Peter lives alone in his bungalow, the only person he is his cleaner/friend on a Monday and Tuesday afternoon. “The loneliness is crushing” he said to me on his first visit.
His wife died 10 years ago and is still suffering bereavement issues.
He suffers from Parkinson’s, leaving him with a shuffling gait and the need to use a 4 wheeled walker outside. He can only leave house if he has supervision.
He also has a heart condition, colectomy and needs to wear glasses and a hearing aid.
Peter does have a supportive family (son, three Grandchildren and a great grandson) but they live in Cambridge and he only gets to see them once a year. They do phone him regularly.
Peter was a prominent member of the community being an active member of the church and Rotary, he also initiated the refurbishment of his local church hall roof.
He used to attend the Rotary monthly lunches, but no longer as the memories of his wife attending these groups/societies with him are too painful.
Peter used to paint and draw but has lost interest since his wife died. He watches television and reads the paper for company.
He has recently been in hospital with bowel problems. He was referred to Living well by the OT as he had heart problems and a history of falls
Peter became very animated, during a guided conversation, when he talked about his career. He started as an engineer and produced tools for cutting diamonds for drilling, he later became a buyer and seller for diamonds. He told me all about how the diamonds were mined, how they were cut, and the value of them, how they were stored in a huge safe surrounded by concrete etc. He obviously had great memories of his work and wanted to share his knowledge.
He also told me how he also used to perform a double act with his friend so likes entertaining.
We discussed how he would like to go out more to meet new people but his biggest goal was to “feel useful” again.
I suggested the idea of giving talks about diamonds as the subject is really interesting. He loved this idea. I matched Peter up with a volunteer who accompanied him to the library, showing and selecting Google images, which they used for his diamond talks.
Peter has now given his talk to a coffee morning group at Pengarth Day Centre and at a Coffee group in Carbis Bay. Both talks were very well received and our other participants asked lots of questions and were engaged. We plan to organise more for next year.
During one visit to Peter he complained of an extremely painful wrist, I helped him make an appointment at the GP, who quickly diagnosed goat and was able to give him some medication.
I mentioned that I had taken a lady to ‘The Changing Rooms’ – a community group run by the Light and Life church. On a Monday they run an art group providing free coffee and cake. He liked this idea and we arranged to go the following Monday. He asked his cleaner to dig out his old art materials.
Peter now attends The Changing Rooms every Monday and does pastel drawings. He uses his local taxi firm for transport and the Changing Room team help him from the taxi to the venue. He now has visitors from The Changing Room popping in for coffee as friendships have developed and with his faith re ignited, he hosts faith Discussions at his home.
He also liked the idea of attending our coffee mornings to meet some new people. He now attends these as often as possible and now has taken on a mentoring role so when new people attend he takes them under his wing. He often brings his friend/carer with him so she feels included.