Skip to content

Opening Doors | Bill's Story

Published on 04 April 2024 07:43 PM


Bill first came to Age UK Cornwall through the Community Gateway and was subsequently referred to the Community Wellbeing Team for support. 

His first conversation was with Hazel, our Community Wellbeing Coach, and it was clear that he was isolated, distressed, lonely, and not enjoying life. Bill was still grieving the loss of his beloved wife, who had passed nearly three years ago - and added to this tragedy was a real recurring sadness in his life, the loss of his dear son at the age of 11 some years earlier.  An additional ongoing difficulty for Bill was the fact that since his wife had passed, he could not sleep in the bedroom; he had been sleeping in a chair in his lounge ever since this loss. 

Bill has a heart condition that was having an effect on his breathing. Following a visit from a district nurse, who wasn't happy with his sleeping arrangements, a hospital bed was supplied for him to sleep on. Unfortunately, the bed was installed in the bedroom where his wife passed, and Bill wasn't comfortable sleeping in this and continued sleeping in the chair. Apart from being unsuitable for a good night's rest, this also resulted in additional physical health conditions that affected his mobility. 

Bill was also very isolated where he lived, and he felt very alone and no longer enjoyed going out, so he shut himself away from people and spiralled into negative thoughts about his future.

Opening Doors

The first priority for the Community Wellbeing Coach was to resolve the issues with the bed, which could be relocated into the lounge where Bill wanted to sleep. Unfortunately, Bill was not sleeping, and it was important that Hazel discussed this with Bill and explored coping mechanisms for his insomnia. 

Initially, Bill explored different coping strategies, and Hazel also encouraged Bill to try out an NHS online sleep programme, which was funded by his health centre. Following this, Hazel discussed and worked with Bill to be more open-minded, this was done in a respectful way to minimise the risk of Bill becoming defensive. Gradually, Bill opened up and explored ideas with the Community Wellbeing team.

"It is important to try new things with an open mind - you can’t grow without this, and it can leave you stuck in a very isolated, lonely life that you're not happy with."

During a guided conversation, Bill opened up about the way he thinks and feels so that his feelings could be understood and supported, then gradually, he was asked open questions to encourage him to consider other perspectives and ideas. By gently encouraging Bill, he became more open to the possibilities that come with change and was able to talk about what matters to him. 

"The first step when supporting a person on their journey is to show that you care. This could be as simple as giving a person a smile or showing interest and asking them about their day. These small steps show them that they are visible, they are appreciated, and that they matter. People can do great things when they know that at least one person cares. It can give them the hope and strength to face the future and inspire them toward a better life." Roy, Community Wellbeing Volunteer

The future

This approach really worked for Bill, who took everything on board, engaged in conversations and discussed all advice and suggestions that his coach asked him to try. Bill accepted the offer of weekly wellbeing calls from our community wellbeing volunteer; he agreed to join our face-to-face ‘Step into Wellness’ group sessions, which he loved; he was linked to a local Social Prescriber in his area, who made him aware of other community connections; he even joined the fortnightly Community Wellbeing Team’s client lunch, which is provided free by the Windy Ridge eating house. 

We are so pleased for Bill, his outlook has changed and he speaks brightly about the future. Bill shared with us how grateful he is for all the help and how the doors at AUKC were opened for him. 

"I felt like I was locked in a dark cell, but with all the support I have received and the encouragement provided, I have realised that you can see the light if you are prepared to help yourself and take advantage of the opportunities." Bill

The onward journey will still be a challenge for Bill, but his confidence has grown, and he knows that we are only a phone call away should he need more support.

Bill's story was provided by Roy, Community Wellbeing Volunteer.

Find out more

Do you or a loved one need a helping hand? If you would like to find out more about our Community Wellbeing Team, call the Community Gateway on 01872 266383.