Over the last few weeks I have spent time getting to know Jean and she is keen for people to hear her story, so here it is:
Jean is a 90 year old lady who has weekly visits from one of our volunteers, called Mike. Jean describes how she didn’t feel mentally ready to move into a care home, but needed to for physical reasons. She does not see much of her family, as they spend a portion of the year out of the country, and felt cut off and in need of stimulation from the outside world. Jean is full of praise about the care she receives from staff, but she feels there are not many residents she can have a conversation with, and she can’t get out easily on her own.
Mike takes Jean for an hour’s walk along the River Thames; initially Jean walked with her walking aid, but latterly Mike has pushed her in a wheelchair. She describes how they have lovely chats: “We talk about things that we wouldn’t talk about in here. I feel like I am out in the normal world talking about different things. It’s normal and it’s lovely! I look forward to his visits all week”.
Jean explains how at one point as she was adjusting to life in a care home she starting having what she describes as a “meltdown”. She felt like she had no-one to talk to and no-one to tell. She channelled her emotional turmoil into painting and produced the picture below, that depicts herself in a storm, not knowing how to get out. She had not done much art before and found painting to be a therapeutic release. However, she also felt frustrated - she had wanted to paint really rough seas but didn’t know how to. She mentioned to Mike that she would love someone to help her develop her painting skills. Mike told Embracing Age staff and we put a request out on twitter, which a local artist responded to. Jean has now had two sessions with the artist, which she really enjoyed.
Jean says she couldn’t do without the volunteers she has from Embracing Age. She says that Mike has “filled the gap” and “transformed my life.”