Hannah’s thriving making her own choices - FitzRoy
Woman wearing black jacket sat on a white mobility scooter outdoors giving the camera two thumbs up

Hannah’s thriving making her own choices

Published: March 8, 2024

Hannah moved into our supported living service in Banbury in August last year and has achieved amazing things already with lots of positive support. Hannah has severe anxiety and agoraphobia, so the move alone was a huge challenge for her. But with plenty of support from staff to overcome her fears, Hannah’s conquered all sorts of challenges already. The team are empowering her to make her own decisions and live her life as she chooses, and her confidence is soaring as a result.

Deputy manager Julie explains: “Hannah is a real worrier and, like so many of us, she can easily overthink things both before an event and afterwards. Sometimes we think an appointment has gone really well for her, but then she’ll start to dwell on it later that evening. When appropriate, we can help her by reminding her that actually it’s OK and everyone worries about things like that sometimes. That empathy and bit of reassurance can be enough to break the worry cycle.

“We quickly created a positive behaviour support plan, supporting Hannah to develop strategies to cope with her anxiety and agoraphobia, when she first moved in. We’ve developed it further as we’ve got to know her better and learnt what works best for her. We now know that Hannah’s really good at talking herself through things if we sit with her, listen, and encourage her to find a solution. We also know that if she’s getting more worried and emotional we can gently encourage her to lower her voice, as this helps to calm her down and stops her spiralling. We’ll remind her that we’re here with her and we want to help, so she can talk through whatever it is with us. She’s built a lovely bond with several members of the team, which helps her to feel comfortable talking things over with us.”

We’re all so proud of what Hannah’s achieved since she moved in. Bearing in mind that she has both severe anxiety and agoraphobia, she’s got a mobility scooter and is now going out and about regularly, with lots of support and reassurance from us. We started off with trips to the local Sainsbury’s – just to the cashpoint the first time, then inside next time. Now, she’s planning all kinds of trips round the local area, which would have been unthinkable last summer.

Gaining the confidence to go out and about hasn’t just broadened Hannah’s horizons for fun and socialising – it also means that she’s now able to attend healthcare appointments much more easily too.

Hannah said: “It’s been really good that the staff have helped me to build up to going to town, just for as long as I want to each time. By the summer I want to get a mobility car that can take my scooter and one day I want to be able to go on holiday. I’d like to go to Devon or Hampshire.”

Hannah lived in a much busier service before she moved to FitzRoy and is really enjoying having her own flat. She said: “I like that when you have your own place you get to choose what you want to do and decide what to watch on TV. The staff have been supporting me to try cooking new recipes – chilli con carne is my favourite so far.”

Julie added: “Having her own flat means Hannah can decide whether she would like some space, or whether she wants to come over and hang out with everyone in the communal area. She’s a real people person – and LOVES planning a party! – but having the freedom to choose whether she wants some quiet or to socialise makes a big difference to her.

“We make sure that it’s always her choice, whether it’s about what activities she does, her meal planning, or her exercise regime. To begin with, she seemed to expect that we would try to tell her what to do, but we empower her to choose how she wants to live her life. We’ll always offer advice and support if she wants it, but we’re not going to tell her she has to do something in a particular way. I think Hannah now trusts that we’ll support her, whatever decision she makes.

“Hannah is very good about doing things in her own way. She’s amazingly disciplined with her diet and her food planning – she decides she’ll have two sweets, or a biscuit, for example, and then asks us to shut the rest away in a cupboard for her. She’s also really good about doing her physio exercises in a way that works for her, and all her hard work is paying off – she’s lost two stone since she moved in, which is a brilliant achievement. The whole team are over the moon with her progress and how many amazing things she’s achieved already – we can’t wait to see what she’s managed by the time she’s been with us a year.”

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