We have a range of stories to tell from some of the wonderful beneficiaries we’ve worked with.
Rosie said “The whole experience with mPower has been life changing. I have gone from leading a quite reclusive and isolated life to now socialising again 3 days a week! This has transformed me and given me back opportunities that not only allow me to mix with others but also gives me a sense of identity and worth again”.
“I am now much happier on the days I spend at home alone and can appreciate them much better as I have my weekly outings to look forward to. I go to an exercise class and some social groups for likeminded individuals. On the day that I get the bus to the daycentre I usually get a sing song going and a wee bit of laughter happening with my new friends and this makes me feel good knowing that I am helping them too”.
“If I feel myself getting down when I’m alone and if I start thinking about my dementia or feeling lonely, I give myself a shake and head off to the room to plan what outfit I am going to wear on my next day out or set about a few wee jobs at home, which have been needing doing! I am trying to be positive and knowing that I have access to transport now helps me to feel more connected to the world. I have great fun with the social car drivers on the way to my weekly activities; they take such good care of me. I really am enjoying life a lot more”.
Rosie’s daughter said “I have noticed a dramatic change in Mum’s overall wellbeing since starting with mPower. After her various outings she is full of wonderful stories and old memories as she is meeting people from her past. She’s singing, entertaining and reminiscing, all of these have had a major impact on her wellbeing – for the better!”
“Hi, my name is Anne and I’m 81 years of age. Together with my husband, who is 83, we engaged with the mPower project. I had heard about it from a friend who had recently been through it and thought that it may be of benefit to us. We have a very large and loving family which we see on a very regular basis, every day we see at least a couple of our children and grandchildren and are very lucky to have so many of our children living and working close by.
We are very independent people and don’t require much help, we have always been quite physically active and have a good range of friends and social outlets, I would definitely say we are not lonely or isolated, which if I’m honest put me off getting involved with mPower at first. However when I saw some of the benefits my friend had received after her engagement with mPower and speaking with one of the staff I realised I had nothing to lose and so we decided to at least hear what it was all about, and can I just say how glad we are that I did.
A young gentleman came out to see us one day and casually chatted with us about our lives and whether we had any “needs or wants” (that’s how he put it) that we felt were not being met in our lives, there was some but as we didn’t have a lot of money we didn’t feel that we could explore them without relying on family to help us. I have been curious about computers and always wanted to give it a go, I tried once about 10 years ago but just couldn’t get my head around it or remember all the things you had to do, so I just gave up on that.
Anyway, to cut a long story short within a couple of months of getting involved with mPower we had our benefits reviewed and increased by almost £80 per week and backdated. We received a full home security assessment and got lots of devices installed which gave us a great sense of security. Handles and rails were fitted around the house and both myself and my husband now attend weekly social groups. With encouragement from mPower and help from my family and the extra money we now have I bought an Ipad which can I just say is fabulous! I use it for Facebook and I do some shopping on it, I’ve joined the library online but my favourite is definitely Twitter, it’s all just there at my fingertips I can watch live videos of the grandchildren, see photos and also keep up to speed on the goings on in the family as we are now also on the family ‘whats app’ group. I’m now looking forward to seeing how this can be used to aid my own healthcare in the coming years.
I know this won’t appeal to everyone, I didn’t think I’d ever see myself using this kind of thing, but I am and I’m really happy about. I would recommend mPower to anyone, its different for everyone and it’s based on you and what you want, it’s great that this is available”.
“My name is Ann, I am 78 years (young) old. I live on my own and have 2 children and 3 grandchildren who all live in England.
I am not a very social person so at times I felt lost, withdrawn and fearful for the future, but felt unable to do anything about it.
Some months ago, I took the bulletin home from church, there was an article in it along the lines of mPower and healthy communities. At the bottom it read, ‘do you sometimes feel lonely or isolated?’ Those words described how I felt. There was a telephone contact number and a few days later I rang and had a conversation with a very helpful lady who took my details and said I would have a follow up call.
Shortly after I had a call from Aidan who asked if he could call to see me. Aidan is a very easy person to speak to and has been so helpful, giving me lots of information from good places to go for a walk to groups I could join to getting me help with safety in my home, a lot of things that I was not aware of.
In the span of few months my life has gone from lonely and isolated to busy and dizzy at times and its great! There is so much going on for older people and I am so glad that I read the article in the church bulletin and now have a variety of different things going on in my life”.
Daphne was referred to the project and after completing a Wellbeing Plan with her local Community Navigator, she agreed to give Florence a try to help her to remember to take her medication. After an initial 6-week trial of Florence, Daphne was successfully taking her medication as prescribed. Daphne increased her independence, something which she has expressed is very important to her
Daphne said “Florence is just a text and it’s like a friend really. It’s definitely there to help you”.
After major heart surgery and a long period of recovery at home, Jessie was feeling ready to meet new people. After a visit from a Community Navigator Jessie decided to attend Tai Chi classes to increase her exercise levels gently and help to improve her mobility and balance. After attending one Tai Chi class Jessie said “I love it, Tai Chi is exercise that is easily achievable even for a lady of 80!! It made me feel good about myself again. The group was very friendly and made me feel welcome and I met some lovely new people. Tai Chi is definitely something I want to continue and it has certainly helped my health and the way I feel about myself in a positive way. I just hope more people can benefit from services like mPower.”
Following referral, a Community Navigator visited Betty in her home. Betty explained that she would like to learn more about healthy eating and how best to reduce her weight to improve her overall health. Betty was given information about services in her community that could help her to do this and was referred to a local NHS weight management group. In just four months, Betty has lost nearly 3 stone in weight. Betty said “I now feel I understand food better and eat the right foods due to increasing my knowledge and working hard to manage my own weight. People notice the difference in weight and make nice comments which makes me feel good and this has been a great outcome for me. I would recommend getting touch with your mPower team as they can offer all different types of support”.
John was referred to mPower following a period of low mood and generally not getting out and about. A Community Navigator visited John at his home, and they discussed John’s main challenges. John said that he was spending more and more time in the house, his wife was still working but he was retired and was feeling like he wanted to give back to his community in some way. John is now a registered volunteer for the befriending service and has been matched with an older person living in his community. John updated us recently, he said “ I feel like I am giving back to my community and this gives me a sense of pride and a purpose”. He also reported that it has also impacted positively on his mood.
James was referred to mPower via his GP to explore the use of personal alarm to increase his safety while living in his own home. A Community Navigator visited him to discuss the personal alarm and any other needs James may have. James has been diagnosed with macular degeneration which is an age related condition that leads to visual impairment, making it more challenging to navigate around his home and leaving him feeling vulnerable. James is extremely independent and is very keen to stay this way for as long as possible and living alone felt he should now look at ways to increase his safety to give himself and his family peace of mind. The Community Navigator was able to provide James with information about the alarm service that is available and show him the basic package of equipment that is on offer allowing James to become familiar with this and letting him see it before being installed. James felt this was exactly what he needed and requested a referral to the service that can assess his needs further and fit the alarm. James was also referred to the local Visibility service as he was very keen on attending the support/social groups to be able to meet and speak with other people experiencing the same condition as him and to increase social interaction. During a three month review James reported that he now feels safer and more confident while living in his own home. He also reported to be benefiting greatly from the Visibility service.
Maureen was referred to mPower by the Intermediate Care Team. She was feeling socially isolated and was staying within a housing complex with limited friends/family network. Whilst carrying out a well-being plan together the Community Navigator, Maureen identified that she would like to further expand her friendship network.
The Community Navigator mapped what opportunities might interest Maureen locally and gave her the options to choose what she’d like to try. Maureen decided to participate in the Musical Extravaganza that was happening at another local sheltered housing complex (Pan Rock). Maureen felt unsure about attending alone, so the Community Navigator went with her to the first event and helped her to make connections with others.
At the event, memorable songs were sung over a lunch and there was also a raffle. Maureen came away from the event feeling included in her local community and happy to take part in further events, as this had given her confidence a real boost. So that Maureen could continue to attend events like this independently, the Community Navigator helped Maureen to access the My Bus scheme and has helped her to enrol into a car pool where drivers can pick her up and drop her off for a small charge.
Maureen said that “breaking the ice into new opportunities was most helpful about the mPower programme. mPower helps people to be introduced into sheltered housing social units. This strengthens the social side”. Maureen is now much less isolated which research shows will have a positive outcome to her health and well-being.
Molly was referred to the project by her GP following 22 surgery visits between January and September 2018. At the end of September, the mPower Community Navigator visited Molly and together they completed a Wellbeing Plan and Molly was signposted to a local social club. When she attended, she reconnected with an old friend and enjoyed the social interaction. The Community Navigator also arranged for Molly to receive a personal alarm which is monitored by a local service. This gives her peace of mind that should anything happen, the alarm will be automatically raised and help on the way. So far, Molly has not re-presented at the GP surgery.
Jean has mobility issues and until recently had been heavily dependent on family to get around. She was referred to the project by her GP at the end of September 2018. As part of Jean’s Wellbeing Plan, the Community Navigator put her in touch with a local transport service who can accommodate her specific vehicle needs. Jean is now able to use the transport service and decide for herself when she goes out, rather than fitting in with family members schedules. Since she has been getting out more, Jean has discovered a local shop which offers an online shop and delivery service. Being able to manage her own shopping and decide when and where she goes has given Jean an enormous sense of empowerment and independence.
Quotes from some of the beneficiaries from the Western Isles
“mPower has really helped me and my husband make positive changes. I found that discussing options for activities both locally and more widely with Lorna has helped motivate me to pursue some of my interests and get more involved in my community.
My husband found a home visit from Lorna helped greatly as he wanted to purchase a tablet to learn its uses. After trying out an mPower tablet, my husband has now bought his own and loves it. Thank you mPower.”
“Lorna (Community Navigator) helped me with my tablet (no, not the ones I swallowed but the other kind!). On my tablet, Lorna found some chair exercises for my health condition, which I find helps my strength.
Lorna also suggested a social group in my area which I really enjoy as it gets me out of the house and I get to meet new people. Thanks for all you have done to help me.”
“My experiences with mPower have been very favourable indeed. The home visits I had from Lorna were very helpful and welcomed. She kept me well informed of activities and groups that I could participate in. Without her, I would never have been aware of such activities, even some on my own doorstep I wasn’t aware of. She also accompanied me to some which I found helpful.
She (Lorna) got me in touch with Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative which I benefited from financially. She also introduced me to befriending Lewis and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to offer. Lorna’s really helpful attitude and warm friendly smile makes her the ideal person for the position she is in. The only downside is I had my last visit from her yesterday.”