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Added Date: 12th July 2018
Nicole in her role as Circle Coordinator

Helping Florrie connect with others

I have decided to create a blog about my project; circles of support, to share stories about what I get up to. I want to give people a true insight into my world of circles. We have many different types of circles of support happening all over the borough, from crisis circles to community circles, supporting people in many different ways. Today’s blog will look at Florrie’s circle which has now been established for almost a year.

Florrie had asked for a circle of support as she had been feeling isolated, and although she is an independent lady, Florrie felt that a circle of support may give her some encouragement and ideas to reach her goals. When I first met Florrie, I knew straight away that I would love working with her. She instantly welcomed me into her home, and is a pleasant, honest lady. I explained to Florrie how a circle of support would benefit her, and looked at what we could achieve if we all worked together, rather than her feeling isolated, dealing with things alone. I expressed that our goal as a circle is to work collectively to make Florrie’s life as fulfilling as possible, by encouraging everyone to create new ideas and then take ownership of small jobs to make things happen. As I asked Florrie what she enjoys doing, I quickly discovered that she has an incredible passion for music, her family, and living life to the full. She is a massive fan of Rag’n’Bone Man; I have a good mind to tweet him, as I think he would be proud to know an 88 year old lovely lady regularly requests his songs on the radio!

After getting to know Florrie, we discussed who she wanted to be part of her circle. She picked all of the circle members, and I supported her to find a facilitator. The more we got to know Florrie, the more we got to realise what a character she is, which enabled us to make suggestions of ways that Florrie might like to occupy her days. Firstly, we supported Florrie to join Reflections in Orrell, which is an amazing converted barn that provides daily activities to support people living with dementia.

They have a singer once a week; do yoga, quizzes, and make bracelets (which Florrie wears proudly every time I see her!). Florrie now goes to Reflections each Tuesday which is the absolute highlight of her week. One short term future plan for the circle is to build this up to two days per week, now we see how happy she is there. This month, circle members will also be supporting Florrie to join Made In Wigan’s ‘MissPlaces’ ladies group at Platt Bridge Community Zone, which she is really looking forward to.

As Florrie is partially sighted, listening to the radio and CD’s are absolutely essential to her enjoying life, and she likes to ring Silver Line for a chat in the evening, to tell them about her day. A recent circle objective is to support Florrie to purchase a box where she can keep her special possessions, including her CDs in a specific order which is easy for her to select from. Florrie has care in place for part of the week, however she was struggling with feeling frightened during the night when she is alone.

We came up with a few ideas between us, and Sarah (a circle member) then supported Florrie to get a cheap pay as you go mobile phone to have beside her bed which was Florrie’s preferred way forward. This small change has enabled her to feel much safer, as she knows it’s there to use if needed.


As circle members, we co-ordinate with social care and other agencies including NHS, handyman services, Community Link Workers etc. to support Florrie to ensure she has the most suitable package in place. We join meetings with her solicitor around clarifying exact wishes for her will and future plans, along with being present at other financial consultations.

Louise now facilitates Florrie’s circle about once every 6 weeks to catch up, look at what we have achieved so far and set new goals. Florrie now has a regular cleaner, a mobile hairdresser, and stuff going on most days. In actual fact, Florrie now does something every day of the week, except Wednesdays when she wants to chill!

Before the next circle, Florrie is going to take her wedding album into reflections, to share her photos and memories with everyone. This is an excellent demonstration of how beneficial a circle of support can be for someone who wants to live life to the max, but is struggling with resource, health issues and knowledge of the community to do so alone.

Florrie makes all her own decisions and enjoys being independent; we just help to identify ways to enable this change.
Nicole x



 
 

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