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Video: Supporting Lynda

At Avenues, sometimes because of the complex nature of what we do, we often hear the phrase ‘small steps are giant leaps’. In this short film Avenues staff Judy Kimani and Adenike Okoya reveal how, through a person-centred approach and with consistency, commitment and empathy, they were able to support Lynda to take a huge step forward.

Lynda began to be supported by Avenues nine years ago following a life spent mainly in residential care. For the first time, in her 50s, with Avenues support she finally had her own home.

Adjusting has taken time and the transition has not been without challenges. Following a difficult period, which affected Lynda both physically and mentally, she began to lose confidence in herself. Service Manager Stephanie explains “sometimes Lynda would refuse to eat and go weeks without a proper meal, her hair began to fall out and she lost confidence. At one point we were very scared we would lose her”. The Avenues team worked hard to get Lynda’s health back on track but despite inviting her to take part in activities, Lynda had become increasingly isolated from the outside world.

Judy, Lynda’s key support worker, explains “When I first met Lynda, she was very keen to stay in the confinement of her flat. She never wanted to get out of bed even. It had been over a year at least since she’d gone anywhere but it’s something we offer every day”.

Despite Lynda’s not wanting to leave her flat, Judy didn’t give up and decided to try something different. “I came in…and said “good morning” as usual and I phrased it to her “do you want to go for a walk? And she said “yes”!” At that point Judy rushed to get fellow worker Adenike, who had also been supporting Lynda. Adenike explains: “I was so delighted and so surprised… so we talked to her so she wouldn’t change her mind. She wanted to choose her things, choose what she wanted to wear. We even made a shopping list with her.”

So Lynda chose trousers and off they all went to the shop. A small step but a huge milestone for her and the team. 

According to Judy it was all in the approach with Lynda: “She’s probably used to hearing the question ‘do you want to sit in the lounge?’ so immediately in her mind is “no”. Whereas ‘do you want to go for a walk?’ is a different question”.

Stephanie says it’s also about Judy and Adenike’s attitude to what they do “It’s a consistent approach and they make it fun, not a chore. Judy is outgoing, bubbly, fun and completely professional. At the same time they take time and they are patient. It perks Lynda up and she’ll sing songs. They talk about things she’s interested in and that helps with her frame of mind”.

After this regular, consistent and active support Lynda’s health and confidence has improved considerably over the last few months. Stephanie says: “She’s a lot happier and seems to be coming out of her shell”.

Adenike adds: “It’s about not giving up. That’s what the job is about”.  

Lynda is continuing to enjoy her shopping trips and days out.

 

Photo: Adenike, Judy and Lynda on their day out
Video: Music courtesy of bensound.com