National Autism Awareness Week – Care England member story (Holmleigh)
In September 2022, Tibs moved into one of our supported living services in Gloucester. At 21, Tibs had always lived at home, where he was supported full-time by his Mum with the support of visiting carers. After a period of declining health, and several hospital spells, the family felt that the time was right for Tibs to move into supported living.
Ellen, Tibs’ Mum, explains “I have to admit, it is been a huge change for us all, not just for Tibs. Despite it being a very emotional time for me, as his mum, I can see that it has been a really positive move for him – he’s had a really good few months.”
During the transition between home/hospital and Holmleigh, the family was invited to look around Tib’s new home, to get a feel for the place and to meet the team. The manager and deputy visited Tib’s in hospital and spent time with the family getting to know and understand his needs. They were also on hand to answer any questions and have since shown the family around the area, helping to identify good places for trips out.
Since the move, the team has been supporting Tibs to use technology to keep in touch with his family too. Through regular update video calls, Tibs and his support team are able to let his family know what he has been doing and update them on his progress.
Ellen continued “He seems to be doing really well in his new home. He’s been putting on weight and is looking healthy and happy. He seems very relaxed, is able to communicate with his staff team, and has made friends with the young man next door. The team has been fantastic in helping him to keep in touch with us and updating us on how he is doing – which is really reassuring for me. The big test for me was a recent trip back to our family home. I wasn’t sure if he would understand that he would be returning to his new home afterwards, or whether it might upset or confuse him.”
Tib’s trip to stay at the family home was a success. He had a lovely time with his family and was able to show them some of his newfound skills, such as getting a drink for himself. He was also very happy to return to his new home.
His mum continued, “Over the last few months, I’ve had moments where I felt guilty, and wondered if it was the right decision. But his recent visit made me realise that the move was the right thing for Tibs. He seemed to really enjoy spending time with us and his siblings, but when we got in the car to return to his home in Gloucester, he turned to me and signed “home”. He knew where he was going and was happy and relaxed to go back. I couldn’t have hoped for more.”