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From Crisis to Comfort: The Transformative Power of Wellbeing Companions

Updated: Jun 26

The relationship between Plan with Care wellbeing companions and our clients is dynamic – it changes over time depending on the needs of the individual. One thing that does remain constant, however, is the total commitment of each companion to delivering the best and most bespoke care and support to each older person. In the case of Eric and companion Carrie, their involvement began just over a year ago when Eric was in desperate need of support whilst taking care of his wife, who had advanced dementia. This, alongside keeping on top of everything at home, was causing him to struggle. In addition, both Eric and his wife suffered falls at home that led to stays in hospital.


The Transformative Power of Wellbeing Companions

(Photo credit - Sujata Setia)

 

Carrie quickly realised that to be an effective companion to Eric, she needed to keep in mind that he was devoted to his wife and putting his mind at rest that she was being well taken care of was key to his happiness. To this end, Carrie would pay visits to Eric’s wife at the same time as visiting him, while they were in the same hospital. She was supportive of Eric and his wife receiving a package of NHS care provision to help them on their return home. Once at home, Carrie would regularly go on walks with Eric’s wife – this served the dual purpose of allowing her to get out and about but also giving Eric, who is less mobile, respite time to relax and sleep at home.

 

Around five months after beginning her companionship with Eric, his wife sadly passed away. Eric was understandably devastated and struggling to come to terms with the prospect of life without her. In this moment, the role of wellbeing companion changed to a different phase. Initially, Carrie helped Eric adapt to this new situation while also helping him to manage his grief. An exceptionally house-proud man, Carrie realised that she could best support Eric by undertaking pragmatic tasks around the house, but in a way that retains his own independence and involvement in making things ‘just so’. For instance, when loading his dishwasher, Carrie starts at the back so that Eric can also load in dishes at the front, which is a much easier task for him to complete. Carrie loads and sets up the washing machine – Eric switches it on. It is companionship led by a sense of partnership – together they make a great ‘tag-team’.



Crisis to Comfort

 

Eric’s personal health and wellbeing has improved markedly in recent months. He continues to enjoy time at home and especially in his garden. Continuing to drive allows him to retain independence. Carrie has encouraged pub lunches for Eric with his brother and has helped him arrange dental appointments. Over the past few months, regular physiotherapy has improved Eric’s mobility and further improved his ability to live comfortably and safely at home. Eric understands that there will come a time where he will most likely need more involved personal care whether at home or elsewhere, but Carrie’s presence and support in the meantime allows him to live his life to the fullest.

 

Plan with Care companionship is not a ‘one size fits all’ service – indeed, no two client/companion relationships are the same. The key to our approach, as demonstrated by Carrie, is providing consistency alongside adaptability, with a true understanding of an individual’s needs and desires at the heart it all.

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