Mark visits his mum for the first time in four years - FitzRoy
Man wearing black jacket with striped sleeves gives the camera a thumbs up, whilst stood in front of a shop holding a carrier bag

Mark visits his mum for the first time in four years

Published: June 28, 2024

Mark moved into one of our supported living services in Coventry in October 2022, having lived in another part of the city previously. Mark gets very anxious when he goes to new or unfamiliar places, to the point that he wouldn’t visit his mum as he was so nervous as she lived in an area that he didn’t know.

Unfortunately, when he moved home, being in a new area really knocked Mark’s confidence and made him really anxious. Before his move, he had been happily walking to the corner shop just down the road from his old house, but finding himself in a new, unknown area was really daunting for him. He would only go out with staff and wanted them to hold his money for him at all times because he felt really nervous.

Service manager Tracy explained how the team supported Mark to overcome his fears: “We worked carefully on building his confidence incrementally, which started off with staff just hanging back a bit when they walked on routes agreed with Mark beforehand, several times a week. This meant that Mark knew exactly where he was going and that they would walk with him again after a short time.

“The team gradually built this up to the point that Mark was comfortable going into the shop and paying for his shopping by himself. Getting the confidence to hand over his money and get his change back was a huge step forward – we were all so proud of him. The team then started extending the distance, so they would tell Mark that they were going to wait in the shop over the road and he could come and find them once he’d bought his things.”

When asked how he felt about his achievements and now being confident enough to do his shopping independently, Mark declared: “It feels good!”.

Tracy said:

In April something amazing happened – after all the progress he’d made with his shopping, Mark felt confident enough to visit his mum for the first time in four years! Previously he found the unfamiliar area she lived in too daunting and couldn’t face it. It was such a pleasure to support him to achieve this, especially as it was just in time for his mum’s 80th birthday. At the moment, Mark prefers to have a member of staff go with him when he visits her, but he’s working towards a goal of being able to go there on his own.

The transformation in Mark’s confidence is showing when he’s at home too. Tracy added: “When he first moved in, we noticed that Mark would never speak to someone first. He’d look at you with a smile on his face, but always wait for the staff member or his housemate to talk to him first. We realised he was also quite anxious even when he was in his flat – he’d be up and down looking out the window, he couldn’t just sit down and relax on his sofa.

“Since having a consistent staff team and a set routine, so that he knows what’s planned each day, Mark’s so much more relaxed and happier. When he hears us in the staff room, he now chooses to come in and have a chat with us. He asks us questions all the time now, which he would never do before, and he talks with his housemates far more too. It’s such a huge change from when he first moved in and it’s really lovely to see him coming out of his shell.”