Finchale’s service is personal to each client, integrates support to overcome all the barriers and is responsive to particular need.  Graham's story shows that we can help to develop personal  skills and to increase his social interaction.

Graham's story

Seventy seven years old retired Marine Engineer Graham, who served during the Suez Crisis, was advised to contact Veterans’ Services due to issues surrounding his social isolation and seclusion, which he experienced since the loss of his wife.

'After my wife’s death I just went into hiding, didn’t want to face anybody and didn’t care about life or myself. I would sit for days looking at the TV but never watching it; bills would arrive, at first I would look at them and then leave them by the door. The simple things like shopping or washing my clothes, they all became just too difficult. I’d put things off like shopping until I had to rush to the shops to get stuff in, keeping myself to myself, avoiding eye contact and conversations. My house is not a mess but it is not clean; I sleep in the spare bedroom.'

 

Graham was not known to Social Services. He had not visited his GP in a year. While it’s unusual for a person of this age to be referred to Finchale, nevertheless, a case worker visited Graham and started to help by referring him to Social Services.

‘They were fantastic, they provided regular visits and helped me to organise a cleaning and shopping routine’.

They also provided debt management advice to help sort out his unpaid bills, arranged for him to visit his GP and even helped him get a mobility scooter.

Despite this he still felt socially isolated due to not being able to see his family. IT was suggested by his Finchale case worker as a possible solution to this via social media; however, he disliked computers because he had no understanding of how to use one. He was willing to give IT a try but only felt able to do this in the comfort of his own home.

His case worker contacted the local branch of the Royal Naval Association who consequently arranged for a mentor, an ex-submariner, to provide some free home based IT tuition. This tuition enabled him to improve his personal IT skills and to increase his social interaction with his volunteer mentor and three times a week he attends a morning group at a community centre.

Graham comments:

‘I feel closer to my family since they are now only a click away by use of e-mails and Skype!’.