‘I’m a brilliant cook’ | Graham’s story

Sunday dinner with mash

“I’m a brilliant cook – my favourite is Sunday dinner with mash.”

Graham, in his early 70s, from Salford, has begun to take responsibility for his own health and social care, with support from partner agencies and his local community.

Graham spent time in the Merchant Navy and as a long-distance lorry driver. Over the last few years, Graham’s drinking has led to frequent falls, risk of a fire at home and a number of ambulance call-outs and stays in the hospital. When his drinking gets bad, Graham doesn’t look after himself or his home properly and his landlord, the police, fire service and health service have all been worried about him.

After his last fall, Graham reported that he was in a lot of pain and unable to walk easily. A social worker asked Graham about support to help him – rehabilitation, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. He was suspicious of his GP, social services and other services and didn’t want anything to do with them.

The social worker spent more time talking to Graham, pointing out some of the risks he was putting himself at, including the possibility of eviction.

The social worker spoke to the GP and nurses at a multi-disciplinary group meeting and continued to work with Graham and an alcohol behavioural specialist. The social worker also got to know Graham’s neighbour who helped him out with bits of shopping.

Over time, Graham started to trust the social worker and recognise that he could benefit from some help. The social worker explained to Graham that the priority needed to be a thorough clean of his home. He agreed to save up for this ‘deep clean’. The social worker persuaded the landlord and others to take away the immediate threat of eviction and to give Graham the support he would accept. Graham saved £10 a week to help pay for the cleaning of his home and kept in regular contact with the social worker to see how close he was to reaching his savings target.

“My health wasn’t too good and I used to have hospital appointments all the time. My mate Paul helps me out and I’m eating better now. The deep clean helped and I don’t want to go back to how it was. My mate helps me to keep my home tidy and I can cook now. I’m a brilliant cook – my favourite is Sunday dinner with mash.”

Since having his home cleaned, Graham has agreed to have weekly support to help him to keep on top of it. He’s looking after himself much better, hasn’t fallen and hasn’t called an ambulance, or been admitted to hospital for some time.

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