Rachel* shudders to think about what might have happened had she not received a visit from Dawn Simmonds, her Greenfields Support Co-ordinator. A perfect storm of health problems, heavy drinking and an unexpected divorce had led to Rachel spending a week in hospital after a nasty fall. With a little help and support from Dawn, she is now rebuilding her life.
Rachel tells her story on Starts at Home Day, the National Housing Federation’s campaign to ensure people who need extra support will always have a safe home that meets their needs:
“My husband and I were together for many years, and he was my best friend. A few years ago I was diagnosed with a medical condition which led to me not being able to work for several months. I gave up my well-paid job and, although my husband was working, he too had health problems and we eventually went bankrupt and moved to a Greenfields property.
“We plodded along and I thought things were fine, but a couple of years ago he left me for another woman. It was very upsetting, and I developed depression from having low self-esteem. I was unable to afford or look after my home, so I downsized.
“I was still not getting the help I needed and had begun drinking more to make the days shorter. A few months ago things came to a head when I fell over in my home and spent the night on the floor with a broken limb.
“I was in hospital for a week but was discharged without any further help offered and I was even less able to manage at home than I was before. I could easily have injured myself again, with more serious consequences. I was also having suicidal thoughts. I then received a visit from my Neighbourhood Co-ordinator, who noticed that things weren’t right and visited me again with Dawn Simmonds, my Support Co-ordinator.
“She came to the doctors with me and that led to carers coming in once a day for three weeks to help me shower and dress, which was a big help. I’ve also been referred to lots of other services that I will take my time to make use of. These include counselling, One Support for alcohol abuse, Greenfields’ Handyperson Service and a local social club. In addition, I’ve been given information about how to obtain an emergency button in my home, should I need it.
“As a result of the support I’ve received I’ve got more positive. It’s led to me arranging for my home to be decorated and I will try to start driving again. I also have lovely neighbours to help me through. I get up some days and feel down but have so much to do that I feel more positive.
“I recommend people in a similar situation seek help to have someone to talk to, to reassure them that they’re not the only person on the planet having problems. My situation is far more commonplace than I thought. It felt good to be listened to, and Dawn was very understanding. You think you’re by yourself, think you’re alone but you’re not.”
Find out more about the Starts at Home campaign by clicking on this link: https://startsathome.org.uk/
*name has been changed