Mary’s Story – 48 The Grove

January 6, 2017

Following a period at college and then in a residential home, Mary arrived at 48 The Grove ten years ago.

With moderate learning disability, severe challenging behaviours and Epilepsy the highly skilled support team were well trained and equipped to enable Mary to pursue her goals and ambitions in a safe and positive environment. On arrival the team spent time with Mary forming her person centred plan and identify her circle of support.

The circle of support encompasses key people involved in Mary’s life and care, such as family, friends, health and social care professionals. The team established a detailed book encompassing her person centred plan called Mary’s Pass. This pass describes Mary’s goals and ambitions for the next 3-5 years and then sets out the key skills and steps required to reach those medium and long terms goals. It is a time intensive process working with Mary to talk through the steps, methods and activities that need to be learnt and enjoyed along the journey all in a pictorial format. The book also recognises Mary’s successes sharing photos, maps, reports and memorabilia from everything she does each week. The team ensure Mary pauses every so often to recall her own achievements and give herself a well-earned pat on the back. Mary’s pass completed with her key-worker’s support contains the keys steps to achieving essential skills such as: enhancing cooking and housekeeping skills, budget training and travel training. It has been formed with smaller key milestones in mind to help Mary to reach her long term goal which is to become more independent, to have her own flat and live a little more independently.

Mary receives 1:1 support, which has meant she has been able to expand her horizons, achieving many of her short term goals.

Her key worker supports Mary daily to undertake small household chores around the house and to cook healthy nutritious meals. Mary had previously enjoyed the simplicity of junk food and ready meals but the team knew that this would not be beneficial in Mary’s desire to follow and wear modern ladies fashions. Her key worker also supports Mary to choose healthy recipes and shop locally for the ingredients together. They then come back to the house where Mary is encouraged to follow the short step by step recipes to produce good home cooked food from scratch. This will help her to remain healthy but also keep the costs down when budgeting in her own flat in years to come.

Mary currently enjoys horse riding with support. A sport she thoroughly enjoys, it keeps her active and helps with weight management, both of which are equally important to Mary. Mary understands that she must keep control of her weight in order to enjoy the sport and so the importance of healthy eating is reinforced again.

Earlier this year whilst on a visit to the stables for her regular session she was delighted to be a part of the official opening in Park Lane, Teddington. The stables were officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal. The team had spent time with Mary in advance of this special event talking her through what Royalty is and how a Royal event can be very different to her usual experiences of greeting new people. With close support from her key-worker, she thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be involved and be a part of the proceedings.

To help Mary with her budgeting the team bought her the board game Monopoly. Mary uses this as a way to complete transactions with money, understanding that some things cost more than others and to learn what happens in a safe way what happens when you spend too much leaving yourself short for the things you might need. She has enjoyed using this as a way of becoming familiar with the concept of poor, rich and budgeting. She uses these skills when out shopping and is doing fantastically well.

In order to support Mary get out more into the community and begin her travel training the team shared events and activities that existed a little further afield, with Mary, through pictures and videos. This gave Mary the choice of a variety of events and places to visit through a number of different modes of public transport. As The Grove is only an hour’s travel time from central London, there are a host of ways to travel which meant the team had to support and encourage Mary to learn about all of them.

One event that appealed to Mary was the Winter Wonderland held in Hyde Park annually. Having seen videos of the lights, stalls, plenty of people and the layout, the team worked with Mary to plan the journey. They agreed tube was the most straight forward method. However Mary is claustrophobic and the team had to take short journeys coaching her through how the underground is built, why there are no windows in stations, how escalators work and building her confidence. They counted stations, took photos of stations along the routes to help with recognition during the two months prior to the event opening. In addition they shared videos of tube journeys and talked at length about travelling safely. In order to make the journey Mary also learnt what an Oyster card is and how they are used.

When the Winter Wonderland opened Mary and her key-worker made the hour long journey via the underground to Hyde Park and navigated themselves around the stalls and people. Mary was overjoyed to have successfully made the journey and experience the wonderland. It marked her very first journey on the London Underground into Central London.

This trip was such a success that Mary has just been to the Winter Wonderland for the second year running.