‘Moving, for independence’

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

  1. Client accommodation was unsuited for older person safe independent living (first floor, no lift, many steps, poor layout)
  2. Person was frightened by thought of moving; family has pressed to ‘go into a home’ – clearly not older person’s preference.
  3. GP confirmed suitable ground floor accommodation meant no need for move to care home or similar
  4. Greatest barrier was older persons fears – how could I manage to move, how can I afford to move, how do I deal with everyone (who?), how do I pack / unpack.  Do I have to give up independence because I am too old to cope.

What you did?

Wrap around support provided by timebank volunteers to enable a safe move from one accommodation to a better suited, safer home; retaining independent living and enabling the older person to control and choose the actual move itself.

Maintaining that independence, enabling a move at nil cost, enabling the pace to be suited overcame the anxieties and fears which were overshadowing need to move house and made settling in supported by volunteers a comfortable and safe process.  It also removed the need to move into a care home as the easiest option and family preference.

Case Study:

  • An older person (Jean) had been introduced to timebank earlier in year.  When location and stairs were threatening independence, this was talked over with the Community resilience and timebank volunteer co-ordinator from Argyll Voluntary Action.
  • After discussing and talking about Jeans situation both Jean and the co-ordinator were convinced that an independent move was what she person wanted, and not a move into a care home which seemed the option her family felt was inevitable.
  • The worker set about sourcing everything and all people who could be mobilised to source property and facilitate a move.  Volunteer driver and support assisted with accommodation to be identified.  That done, support with landlords was made available.
  • Volunteers cooked in advance, packed, talked through process with Jean – always ensuring that she stayed in control and made her own choices.
  • Entirely through the timebank and peer support, the packing and unpacking was completed, the house being left was cleaned, transport by trailers and van carried all possessions, the new home was also cleaned and food and meal ready.

An entire house move was made possible and, more importantly, Jean can look forward to some more years living independently whilst not feeling her family are constantly worried that she will fall or that it ‘will all be too much’.  With smaller, well arranged ground floor accommodation and a visit from timebank volunteers, Jean hopes to enjoy her new home for as long as possible.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

  1. Choice was maintained with client at the centre of service
  2. Independence is protected and maintained for possibly some years
  3. Impact of cost was reduced utilising peer support networks and timebank volunteers
  4. Wellbeing is reinforced and measures taken to safeguard this (e.g. safety, meals, contact)
  5. Need for provision through residential care is removed and family reassured parent is safe (and they do not have to do anything)
  6. Ongoing contact support is in place and access to social networks

Timeline from start to completion was 2 months.  This is the fourth move which has been entirely completed through timebank.  What has been learned is the fear of coping with move is a major factor for older people – anecdotally, it is reported that moving to a care home ‘is the easier option, not the same as the preferred option’ from a family perspective.

Contacts - to find out more

Glenn Heritage, glenn@argyllvoluntaryaction.org.uk  01631 564839