Making the move to a new home
Brenda has cared for her son Jimmy, who has a learning disability, for his whole life. During the pandemic, she had to make the difficult decision to move Jimmy from the family home to supported accommodation. She tells us what this process was like for them both.
Brenda is retired and based in west Cornwall. For more than 50 happy years, her son Jimmy lived at home with her and her husband. But after the death of Jimmy's beloved father a few years ago, Brenda was left to care for Jimmy by herself.
Eventually, Brenda realised she needed to slow down and start planning for her and Jimmy's futures. She was struggling to access the right support for her son, and when the pandemic put a stop to their weekly activities, she became aware of how isolated they were.
Finding a home from home
By chance, Brenda connected with the NHS Disability Trust, who introduced her to Brandon. She was struck by the flexible approach and genuine desire to find the right care for Jimmy, and together they embarked on a search for a home that met his individual needs.
"I didn't want to let him go, but I knew I needed to for Jim and for me," says Brenda. "I wanted both of us to have time to get used to the change, so that Jimmy could settle in and feel at home rather than like he was being wrenched away."
One thing that really impressed Brenda during the search was the importance placed on the fit of a potential home. The people already in the accommodation are given a say on who moves in, and everyone who will be living there is taken into consideration.
Settled and supported
Brenda also recalls how the teams at Brandon and the NHS Disability Trust, moved heaven and earth to facilitate Jimmy's move despite the challenges of the pandemic. "Ordinarily he would have visited his new home for dinner, had an overnight stay and then moved in. COVID meant that he had to move in without any of that, but they found alternative solutions and helped him to settle in."
In fact, Brenda was pleasantly surprised by how well Jimmy settled in. "It's exactly what I'd hoped for. If he was given the option of a day out with his support workers or a visit from his old mum, I wanted him to choose the day out every time", she says.
"Where Jimmy lives now is a home in the truest sense, and it's the staff who make it like that. They have managed to get him to do things I never could. He helps with cooking and spends time with the other people who live there, dancing and listening to music. They enable him to be himself, which gives me real peace of mind."
When asked what she has learnt through this process, Brenda says: "The people – the staff – they are the linchpin. Every single one of Jimmy's support workers is kind and professional, and that is invaluable. I feel very happy and settled with the move Jimmy has made."
Be there to care
Would you like to spend your days making a difference to the lives of people like Brenda and Jimmy?
Whether you already have some experience in the care sector, or you're completely new to support work, we'd love to hear from you. We value the personal qualities you can bring to the job and will provide all the training and guidance you need.
Be there to care for your community. Apply to join Brandon as a support worker today.