David and other Supported Living residents cooking at the Skills Centre
Volunteering at Brooklands Museum
Working Out at The Meath Gym
With Jo-Jo in a Physio Session
Working on a drawing at the Skills Centre
Swan & Cygnet in pastel, by David
Turtle in pastel, by David
David has lived at Meath Supported Living accommodation with housemates in central Godalming for 4 years. He lives with epilepsy and has dystonia which he acquired at the age of 17 months following a stroke. David takes medication to help manage his epilepsy, but he also works hard at maintaining a busy but balanced lifestyle. He’s adept at managing his nocturnal seizures and dystonia while also enjoying a fulfilled life.
Both epilepsy and dystonia cannot be cured, so David is pleased to make the most of the many opportunities he has, to benefit from the holistic care and support on offer at The Meath while also finding time to volunteer and hone his considerable artistic skills in drawing and painting.
With lots to contend with, yet so many interests and talents, I was keen to hear David’s view on how life is going now that most usual activities are running again, post pandemic restrictions.
“I’m very happy with my current lifestyle and home in Godalming. Godalming is great for charity shops which I’m a big fan of and it’s also well situated for trips to the seaside. I have a very close family with plenty of contact and I get on well with my housemates. I love working on my drawings and art work and going on local walks which are quieter, self-reflective activities. I also enjoy volunteering and taking part in lots of activity sessions at The Meath and sessions at local places such as ARTHOUSE Unlimited. Outside of The Meath my volunteering at Brooklands Museum keeps me busy and it indulges my lifelong love of cars and mechanics. I am also a keen art lover and am proud to volunteer at Watts Gallery. “
Having also spoken to the staff who support him, it’s clear to see that David has made real progress since moving into Supported Living.
Mandy, Supported Living Manager commented that:
“David feels his main achievements are becoming more independent and explorative. He has certainly gained a lot of confidence, now travelling independently. It is wonderful to see that he feels valued and enjoys being a part of a friendly supportive atmosphere, both at home with his housemates and in sessions at The Meath.”
Attending The Meath gym for regular, tailored workouts has been a great support to David since he moved to Meath Supported Living. As David has a weaker side to his body and limited use of his right arm, building up and maintaining core strength is of particular importance. His workouts at the onsite gym are complemented by taking part in regular yoga and physiotherapy sessions, which both include vital muscle stretching and are a great support to him for pain management and in helping him to maintain an active lifestyle.
More recently The Meath has been fortunate enough to add to the wellbeing services on offer with the addition of the dedicated sensory and treatment room onsite with complementary therapies on offer.
David commented that “having a dedicated space is so relaxing, I really benefit from my Indian Head Massage appointments each week. Often I can go in feeling quite stressed but I always feel more relaxed afterwards. It won’t help with the muscle pain and tension directly caused by my dystonia but often my other side is tense from compensating for my weaker side, so it helps with that. I’m grateful for all the support I get and having the sensory room and complementary therapies has made such a difference. My dystonia and epilepsy won’t ever go away but my sessions in the sensory room help take my mind off them.”
While maintaining an active lifestyle and benefitting from the support of the Health Care team is important to David’s wellbeing, so too is having mental and physical space for art and creativity. Drawing and painting play an integral role in David’s wellbeing, and he enjoys a broad range of creative activities in different settings.
While much of David’s work is created individually at home, he also enjoys using creative session time at the Skills Centre with Rachel’s art group to work on his drawings or explore new styles and projects. Similarly in his regular ARTHOUSE Unlimited sessions on the High Street, David enjoys the buzz of a busy creative space and the opportunity to work collaboratively. Whether working at home, at the Skills Centre or ARTHOUSE Unlimited, he is often drawn to, and takes inspiration from, the natural world.
Recently David was inspired by observing a swan and her cygnet on the River Wey in Godalming, a subject he has explored at home both in charcoal and pastels. A regular customer at David’s preferred art supply shop in Godalming saw him with his charcoal painting of a swan and cygnet and asked to purchase it from him. It is testament to both David’s kind nature and how highly he thinks of The Meath Skills Centre sessions, that he asked the person who bought his painting to make a suggested donation to The Meath.
David’s other interests and pursuits also play an important role in him maintaining a purposeful and fulfilled life, he plays an active role in the local community and regularly volunteers at Brooklands Museum and Watts Gallery. By volunteering at these wonderful local settings, David can use his knowledge of cars and art to benefit others.
Having seen how David has so successfully embraced life at The Meath and in the local area, I couldn’t help but wonder what his next goals are in life.
“Aside from regaining my driving license after sufficient time has passed since my last nocturnal seizure, I would love to put on an exhibition of my art work.”
It’s great to hear that, like so many of the people we support, David is thriving and feels confident and supported to set himself a stretching but achievable target.