Becoming a domestic goddess
Unfortunately Catherine was becoming labelled as someone challenging to support. It never really suited her to live with other people and she was evicted several times, spending many years living in a respite unit.
“Catherine always got the blame for anything that went wrong in her previous shared homes, but now Catherine is so house proud, she wants to show everyone her new kitchen,” says Catherine’s mother, Anne.
Catherine has come a long way since we first suggested she live in her own flat. She has successfully lived alone since 2011. She calls her home Flat N and says: “Flat N, makes her happy.” During an online interview Catherine, supported by her personal assistant (PA) Mariam, proudly took us on a walking tour of her new kitchen and newly decorated lounge. Mariam was one of a small team of PAs recruited by Catherine with our support in 2011 who has been supporting Catherine ever since. Catherine pointed out all the new things she had chosen. But she finds it hard to put everything she wants to say into words, so Mariam explained how she did it.
“Catherine knew exactly what she wanted,” says Mariam, “She chose every bit of her new kitchen. Firstly, Catherine was supported to plan her ideas at home. Then we visited several showrooms, and she chose the kitchen company she liked best. We went there more than 15 times and Catherine made friends with Paulina, a designer from her chosen company. Paulina helped her to design her new kitchen from scratch”.
Mariam continues: “Catherine’s living her own life now. She is well, she has lost weight and cooks all her own food in her new kitchen. She’s more herself. She communicates more, and the frustration and anxiety are gone. We work together as a team to understand and get to know Catherine. We ask her to reflect on how her day went, and we meet with her regularly to see how we can improve our support. That’s really helped Catherine”.
“Catherine is a kind person, but at the same time she is not somebody who is easily led. We’ve found that she may take time to understand new information but once she’s taken it in, she allows us to support her”.
Anne, who turns 90 this year, continues Catherine’s story: “She’s got a life now, before she was fighting; we were all fighting to get the right support for her”.
“Catherine chose her own staff at Flat N, and she chose them well because she’s expanding in all directions now. She’s incredible, in the old days no one understood what she was about. It’s a textbook success, showing what can be done, with the right environment and being supported by the right people, you know, people listening to her”.