I volunteered to feel part of a team and do something which gives me a sense of belonging – I have definitely found this in the team of Community Navigators. We help people, referred by their GP, to find out about activities/services in the community that could help them feel better. I generally work with individuals but the following example is a couple I worked with for a few weeks.
Bob and Mavis had been married for over 60 years and during our first meeting it was obvious how much they cared for each other. Mavis was suffering from memory loss and she described ‘getting in a muddle with getting dressed’ – they both giggled recounting the difficulty Bob had trying to put Mavis’s tights on. They had resorted to pop socks although Mavis really wanted to wear tights. Bob proudly described doing all the shopping, but increasingly found it easier to run errands on his own. However, after a few minutes of leaving the house Mavis would become distressed as she had forgotten why he wasn’t there.
We talked through several organisations that could help them, and with their agreement made referrals to:
Adult Social Care (provided a carer to wash and dress Mavis)
The Alzheimer’s Society (helped them access dementia services)
Crossroads Care (provided a volunteer who came regularly to sit with Mavis so Bob could go out without worrying)
The Carers Centre (provided opportunities for Bob to meet others in his situation)
Over time, these small things made a big difference to them both.
Bob and Mavis were a delightful couple to work with. Bob said he really valued me listening to him, as well as opening the doors to services he had no idea existed. For me, this case, like many others, was humbling and rewarding in equal measure.
Thank you Chrissie for the time you’ve given to Community Navigation (almost three years now), Bob and Mavis have clearly benefited from your support — as have the many others you’ve seen as a Navigator.
Could you be a volunteer like Chrissie?
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