Jim’s Confidence Boost Brings a New Lease on Life
Moving into residential aged care posed a significant lifestyle adjustment for 78-year-old James (Jim) Woodford. Coupled with health and mobility challenges, Jim experienced a diminished sense of independence.
Having spent much of his adult life living overseas in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, his return to Australia was brought about by an increasing need for health services, which were not readily accessible overseas. This meant Jim had to leave his family, including his wife who remains living in Vanuatu, and his son residing in New Zealand.
Since relocating back to Australia, the lack of social connection with family and community, Jim was feeling lonely, isolated, and disengaged.
Help is at hand with Healthy Me, Healthy Community
When Jim heard about the Healthy Me, Healthy Community (HMHC) program, he was keen to find out more information so he could establish how this free 15-week social wellbeing program could help him build connections within his local community.
HMHC is designed to support, encourage, and empower individuals to engage or re-engage with social connection and the activities of your choosing. Based on the ‘social prescribing’ approach, HMHC is tailored to the individual. Working one-on-one with a wellbeing coach, it is a way of reconnecting with the things that have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing, including volunteering, exercise, social groups, arts, cultural events, and more.
Turning Jim’s life around
Once Jim joined the HMHC program, he was assigned his own wellbeing coach to support him throughout the entire process. Jim explained that his goal was to shift the focus away from his challenges and the things he couldn’t do, and instead concentrate on the things he can do.
During that first meeting, his wellbeing coach took him through a short assessment as part of the “What matters to me” plan, designed to understand each client and their needs on a deeper level, and take a holistic approach to their wellbeing.
Together, they identified what he needed to do to feel socially connected and discussed the options available in Jim’s local area. They then looked at the barriers he was experiencing in terms of his health, access to transport, and his physical location. While most of these challenges could be easily overcome, the underlying issue – changing Jim’s overall mindset and empowering him with increased confidence – required a little more work.
Taking positive steps
Working through a series of face-to-face and phone coaching sessions with his wellbeing coach, Jim‘s confidence grew.
He was soon ready to venture to the local lawn bowls club, which offers free transportation to and from the premises. Here, he met new people and participated in some of the club’s activities, which helped overcome several of the hurdles he had been experiencing. Jim’s wellbeing coach checked in with him regularly to gauge how he was feeling at each step of the process, and to see whether he was connecting with other people – which he was!
Jim said he has become more confident thanks to the program, and has even finished writing his life story, together with a PowerPoint presentation based on the story! He is now working with the management of his aged care facility to assist others in writing their life stories, and is loving every minute. Talking to people, listening to their achievements and struggles, and helping them to feel heard gives Jim purpose and the chance to socialise and interact.
As a result of his participation in the HMHC program, Jim has a new lease on life and he’s become proactive in helping others.
When asked about the HMHC program, Jim said, “I’ve really been able to turn my mindset around. Since doing the program, I’m no longer centred towards me. I’m thinking about how I can build on the benefits I gained to help others.”
“My wellbeing coach was there for me. She was so reliable in keeping every appointment, and she showed up or called me when she said she would. She really cares about who I am as a person and provided great value in changing my mindset. I got a lot of value out of talking to her and I’m so grateful for that. I can’t put the benefits into words,” he added.
Jim said he’s looking forward to doing more volunteering and getting involved in the community, as he believes, “it’s what people really need, no matter how young or old they are.”
The HMHC program helps people overcome barriers to social connection and links them back into the community, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. It’s free of charge to participants in the Port Macquarie region, and you can be referred by your GP or an allied health professional.
To find out more about the HMHC program, click here or call 1300 987 215