Sheryl’s story of how social support inspired connection, confidence….and a whole lot of laughter!
Sometimes you can hear the joy in a person’s voice when they reflect upon an experience, just like when 72-year-old Sheryl speaks about her outings with a Feros Care Community Support Worker.
By getting clients out into the community to interact and engage in various activities, receiving social support through their Home Care Package has been invaluable for people like Sheryl.
As a client you can undertake or rediscover a passion, hobby, or activity, accompanied by a qualified Community Support Worker (CSW) to ensure it is a fun, memorable, and safe experience.
Maybe you’d like to visit a museum, go to the movies, or just share a cuppa with someone for that all-important human connection. In Sheryl’s case, she wanted to visit her (long passed) relatives’ home with a CSW who had similar interests and would listen to her stories.
Much to her delight, they got along famously, making it a day of fun and connection that she’ll always remember. In addition, the experience has resulted in some unexpected long-term benefits which have significantly improved her quality of life.
What a relief!
Sheryl didn’t leave the house often and had never participated in anything like this, so was understandably nervous.
“I didn’t sleep much the night before,” recalls Sheryl. “But within five minutes of getting into her car, I felt completely at ease. All the fears I had were dismissed and I knew I was going to get on with her. I thought ‘yeah, you’re cool’, and I could tell she was experienced with support work”.
First impressions proved to be right on the money as despite the awful weather, Sheryl and her CSW found sunshine and laughter in everything they did.
Filling the void
A devoted wife, housewife, and mother of five sons, Sheryl not only wanted someone to talk to but craved female interaction.
“My family are wonderful, but it was so refreshing to talk to a young woman who is also a mother and enjoys the things I enjoy,” says Sheryl.
Discussing their mutual love of art and all-things vintage, they stopped into an art gallery, thrift store, and spent time admiring the gardens in the area.
Both coffee and food lovers, the CSW suggested they visit an ‘off the beaten track’ café she knew Sheryl would appreciate.
“I loved it! I definitely want to go there again, and I’m so thrilled she showed me something new.”
“I didn’t expect that….”
Given the age difference and the fact that they had never met before, Sheryl wondered if they would have much to talk about.
“I couldn’t believe it! We had so much in common and even though there are many years separating us in age, we were on the same page.”
“She genuinely shared my passions and was just so in the moment like me. I didn’t think that would be the case.”
In addition to sharing stories about their mutual interests, Sheryl valued having the opportunity to talk about her childhood.
“She really listened to me. But not just that, she contributed too, so conversation just flowed. It was fantastic.”
Feeling safe and laughing till you cry!
Although every part of the experience brings a big beaming smile to her face, Sheryl had no hesitation when asked about the highlight of the day.
“Oh, the laughter! We didn’t stop. Actually, it was more like giggling – we giggled like little kids!”
Sheryl also emphasised that she felt very safe with the CSW, in every possible way.
“I could tell she was looking out for me all the time. That along with her lovely attitude made me feel so relaxed.”
Changing priorities and instilling confidence
Since her outing, Sheryl has experienced other long-term benefits she didn’t expect.
Her confidence has increased and she’s making a point of leaving the house more often to do the things she enjoys.
“It helped me get out of ‘chores mode’; the housekeeping, cooking, and cleaning, and realise there is more to life.”
“I don’t want to miss out on doing the things I enjoy. If the kitchen isn’t spotless, so be it! That’s what the day really showed me.”
Sheryl now goes out to a nearby farm once a fortnight where she can enjoy yarning, weaving and other activities.
“I’ve reached out a lot more since the Feros outing, and that’s something big I can thank the program for.”
A first, but definitely not the last
Although this was the first time Sheryl had stepped out of her comfort zone to try something like this, she is excited for more outings.
“It was so much fun and there was not one thing I could fault. Not one thing!”
“It did me the world of good and I would recommend it to everybody.”
To learn more about Feros Care’s social support services with a qualified Community Support Worker, call our friendly team on 1300 461 461 or email [email protected]