Dry wit and humour triumph over loneliness
R is a local man who became lonely and isolated since his wife became ill some years ago. Rs wife suffers from dementia and has been living in a residential care home for over 7 years. R lives alone in their family home alone and visits her regularly. He talks often about how she does not remember who he is and that she is not the same person anymore. This is clearly very painful for R. R’s mobility is limited and he finds his energy levels are diminishing particularly after suffering two strokes a month ago. He loves gardening but this is becoming more and more challenging for him.
When R first joined the group his mood was low and he found it uncomfortable to interact with others. Initially the other group members found him difficult and were concerned about him coming to the sessions regularly. However, this quickly changed as R became more confident in himself and with the group, and more aware of how to interact m appropriately and positively with other people. The group have really warmed to R and love his dry wit and sense of humour. They have found that as they have all lived in the same area for many years they share some friends and know a lot of the same people. This has enabled R to open up to the other participants and share his experiences of loneliness.
“The loneliness is terrible. I see my daughter quite a bit but once her and the grandkids have gone it’s just me rattling about in this big house with nothing to do. It’s awful”.
This admission by R prompted him to ask the other group members how they cope with living on their own. They in turn shared their experiences and told him about activities in the local area and they have invited him to take part in their social group activities.
Cooking with others gives the group members a shared platform which enables them to discuss ideas and talk about themselves, their tastes and share their personal stories whilst learning new skills. When asked how he finds the cooking sessions at Knowle West Health Association, R said “I really do enjoy coming here. Every time I walk through the door there’s something new to learn. The people are nice and it gets me out of the house. I can be myself and people don’t mind if I have a bit of a laugh and a joke. I look forward to it.”
Find out more about Knowle West Health Association by exploring the Feeder Canal Route on Bristol Giving Day.