Switching support brings parents new peace of mind - Avenues Group
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Switching support brings parents new peace of mind

Monday 9th of August 2021

“As parents you always have this worry about the future, but for us that feeling’s finally been replaced with peace of mind. It’s now hard to believe that six months ago we were beginning to think about arrangements for Andrew’s funeral.”

Thoko, Eddie, Andrew and Mary

When Andrew Ivory broke his hip in a fall, his parents Mary and Eddie recognised that he needed specialist support to manage his health conditions, which include Parkinson’s disease.

Mary explains: “We could see he was in decline and something had to be done. He’s 6’4” tall but was down to a weight of 10st 5lb. It’s really hard to make these decisions when you are a parent to someone with a disability. You worry that by switching providers you could make things worse.

“Keeping him safe was paramount to us, while finding somewhere that had the skill set to give him the best quality of life possible, and still being close enough for us to visit as we get older. We didn’t want him in a nursing home, we wanted him to keep his independence for as long as possible.

“We were fortunate to already know Avenues through the support they have given our other son, Robert. While they’re brothers, they’re very different in terms of their autism and personalities. So we made the phone call to Robert’s brilliant service manager, Louise, to see what was possible specifically for Andrew.”

Director of Operations Dan Gower-Smith explained: “When Louise described the situation, it was clear that we had to help Andrew if we could, and his parents, who were understandably distressed. We worked closely with Eddie, Mary and Andrew to understand what he needed and how we could give them the support they deserved.”

As a result of Mary’s initial call, Andrew was moved to an Avenues service in Sevenoaks, close to his parents’ home.

“The support Andrew gets now is all that we could ever wish for,” says Mary, “Staff bring out the very best in the people supported here and managers lead by example. The door is always open for us.

“I would just like all parents who are in a similar situation to know that they do have choices in the provision of support. One size does not fit all and the time comes when people’s support needs change.

“Avenues have literally wrapped their arms around our son and – yes – miracles can happen. Andrew is getting his sparkle back.”

Dad Eddie said: “Every aspect of the care here is different. He’s treated as a person and his dignity has been restored.

“Since moving, life has changed for Andrew. He doesn’t have to conform to his environment now things are built around him to suit his needs and what he enjoys.

“We can see each time we visit that he’s getting healthier and that’s because of the team’s commitment to do their very best for him. His health conditions are managed but don’t dictate his life anymore. They have carefully reduced some of his medication which has had a really positive effect. The Parkinson’s will not go away but he’s healthier now which means he’s more able to cope with the symptoms.

Photo of Andrew with Thoko

Assistant Service Manager Thoko Mpofu leads the support for Andrew, and says that the involvement of the family is key to Andrew’s new life:  “This has all been about understanding Andrew and his needs, and then building a plan with the family to get things right for him. Appropriate nutrition has been really important, but it’s a just one part of the jigsaw.

“Every parent wants their children to be safe, happy and healthy. We’re so pleased to be part of Andrew’s progress, and also to see the difference it has made for Mr and Mrs Ivory, who care so very much about their sons.”