Recovery through physical & emotional wellbeing
Well, what is it that makes The Community so unique? It enables people once again to grow into being people rather than patients. It helps them rediscover old skills and learn new skills. Its philosophy, that everyone is of value and has skills, creates an atmosphere of optimism and for many residents, for the first time in a very long time, suddenly all sorts of things are possible.
How do we equip people with independent living skills?
Supporting Service users in the development of independent living skills has been central to the ethos of this organisation since it was established over 30 years ago. Independent living skills are more than just the ability to cook, clean, select appropriate clothing for weather conditions or to travel safely in the community. A very simplistic definition for independent living skills would be the ability to manage the day-to-day tasks of life, doing as much as possible for ourselves. Making choices about our own lives and knowing when to ask for support from others are also a part of independent living skills.
Looking after ourselves and feeling as physically well as possible contributes to the development of confidence, positive self-esteem and wellbeing, and therefore recovery. We encourage and support Service users to attend to their physical healthcare needs. We support people to make and attend appointments with doctors, the dentist, opticians etc. and discuss issues such as diet, exercise, smoking cessation and alcohol consumption.
Developing the ability to manage our finances and live within our means is an important life skill that many of us find challenging. We support individuals to claim the state benefits that they are entitled to, and encourage them to develop a budget plan that works for them. Many of our Service users are able to manage their own money, and we are able to take on corporate appointeeship for those who are not ready to do so.
The homes we have are relatively small, providing accommodation for between 3 and 8 service users, which we believe maintains a more homely and pleasant atmosphere. Support workers and Service users have always worked together to create and maintain each home, and all Service users are encouraged to be involved with the tasks necessary to achieve this. These include:
- Making choices about what to eat each day – either it will be communal meals that are agreed and eaten by staff and Service users together, or ‘self catering’ days where a Service user will choose meals that they prepare for just themselves. We believe that individual and group meals utilise and develop different but equally useful skills.
- Shop for food and other household essentials, staying within the budget provided to each home. Basic records are maintained to keep track of the spending.
- Prepare meals safely (addressing food hygiene/health and safety issues) and clearing away afterwards.
- Personalising bedrooms and living space – choosing the colour scheme (and furnishings where possible) that reflects their style and taste.
- Washing and drying clothes and bedding.
- Cleaning and tidying the home.
Involvement can start at a very basic level, and will be developed during the placement, at a pace that is realistic yet manageable for each individual.
Independent living skills are not confined to domestic tasks and activities.
It must include having opportunities to make decisions that affect our lives and being able to pursue activities of our own choosing. Having an interesting and fulfilling lifestyle that offers opportunities for personal development and growth is integral to our vision of recovery.
Links with the local community are encouraged. For example, you can get involved in community projects, adult education classes, sports facilities and work experience schemes.
Everyone in the Community is involved in a broad range of activities run by the Community and outside providers. You would be expected to choose or even suggest and participate in a range of these as part of your agreed Care Plan. The Community offers a diverse range of activities, often tailored to meet specific needs and interests of individuals.