ICA meets some truly wonderful older people during the course of its work. Their lives and experience never fail to surprise and inspire us and we are truly proud to have the opportunity to get to know and support them. Here are just a couple…
Helping Hands – Client, George
Total interactions for 2020-21 = 82
George has lived on the Island all his life. In fact, he still lives in his childhood home that he shared with his parents until they died in the 80’s.
As a young man, he took an apprenticeship in a local engineering firm. After qualifying, he went on to work as an inspector at Portland Engineering form 1972-2019.
George never married and has no family in the area. He says he’s, “Found life quite lonely since I retired, especially during the pandemic. I was finding the days were very long and I was going weeks without seeing or speaking to anyone.”
During this this time George needed to isolate. Initially, this caused him great concern because he was worried about getting his prescriptions. That was until he read about ICA’s COVID-19 support package in the Free Portland News. George made contact and a volunteer, Edgar, was recruited to deliver his prescriptions and any shopping he needed.
ICA also arranged for a volunteer telephone befriender, Gary, to phone George every Saturday. “Gary has phoned me every week for 18 months now, which is very nice as I don’t see anyone at all really other than my neighbours, and that’s only if we’re out the front at the same time. We chat so easily; Gary is interested in engineering and has even driven me to a hospital appointment when I was unable to myself due to a problem with my leg.”
During Christmas 2020, George was presented with a Christmas Hamper of presents donated by the community and put together and delivered by ICA volunteers. He says this gesture, “Blew me away! I don’t have anyone and wasn’t expecting any presents again this year, so receiving so many items with such thought made me emotional to think people care.”
George now attends the ICA bingo every fortnight, which has helped him to get out of the house and meet some more people. He says, “I definitely think ICA is a great use of public money, there’s a lot of elderly people in my position and I hope the service will be there when I’m no longer able to transport myself easily.”
Helping Hands – Clients, Ann and Roy
Total interactions for 2020-21 = 132
Ann and Roy met in Poole at a dance, after Ann had separated from her first husband.
The couple have lived on Portland for 45 years.
During this time Ann taught history and textiles at the local secondary school for 24 years, whilst Roy worked in one of the Island’s two prisons.
Ann has two daughters from her previous relationship – Kate, an artist, lives in Milton Keynes with her two children and Sue, now in Derbyshire, with three more of Ann’s grandchildren.
Like her daughter, Ann’s a talented artist who has produced two successful books featuring her paintings of local Portland churches and houses – alongside some interesting local history about the properties.
Following his retirement from the Prison Service Roy’s health declined due to severe pain caused by spinal issues. When lockdown hit, Roy’s mobility had deteriorated to the point that he needed a major operation on his back and was no longer able to drive or even walk around his home.
Ann says, “That time was really very hard . We have no family nearby and couldn’t really ask neighbours to help as they’re elderly with poor mobility too. So it was wonderful when the doctors told us about ICA, their volunteers really have been lifesavers for us both.”
ICA worked closely with Ann, GP’s and Social Services to ensure that Ann and Roy were safe, well and able to access essential medical appointments. ICA also sourced a commode and wheelchair for the couple and assigned three volunteers to help with weekly shopping and prescription deliveries.
Ann says, “The volunteers were all marvellous, Dave, Keith and John have all helped me to get Roy out of the house and down the steps to the wheelchair, so that they could drive him to Salisbury Hospital for his many appointments. I never would have been able to do that myself. In fact, I don’t know what we would have done without them.”
Volunteer, Dave, has continued to support the couple since lockdown ended, with shopping and odd jobs, including posting letters and paying newspaper bills in the newsagents. He has also taken them out for some accompanied outings to local garden centres and café. He even enjoys a regular fish and chip supper with them.
Volunteer, John, has continued to drive Roy to his appointments and visits the couple a few times each month to run the engine on Mr Russell’s car to preserve the battery.
During the recuperation from his back operation, Roy unfortunately fell over and broke his hip. This has had a further negative impact on his health – as Ann explains, “This has hit both of our mental health hard. If it wasn’t for the continued support and kindness from the team at ICA I don’t know what we would have done. We live on a hill, there are no shops nearby, I don’t drive and Roy can’t and this time of year we would find it difficult getting to places like the Post Office on the bus. I would recommend getting in touch with ICA to anyone in our position as they are most brilliant!”