Build your lifesum
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At Livability we see this up close every day - with those we support and amongst our own staff who give so much of themselves.
That's why we're giving away the wellbeing resources we already know have helped our people the most.
At Livability we've learned that a sense of wellbeing comes from a lot of things that are added together. What adds up in your life to better wellbeing? What takes away from it?
We call that a 'life sum' and we hope these free resources help you uncover yours.
Kerry made a major life change recently when she moved from the family home to a Livability residential care setting. She struggled to settle but now is enjoying life and feeling good.
‘I arrived here in August 2021 and settling in was very hard during lockdown, especially as it had been only me and my mum for years. But we’d had to have that conversation – I’m getting older and my mum’s getting older. I wanted to have my independence and my mum wanted to see me settled and know that I’m ok.
‘The staff were there for the emotional support I needed. There was someone to talk to if I was struggling emotionally. I’m a sociable person so I mentally struggled a lot. It took quite a few months to feel settled. But I could meet with the other residents in that time and people tried to help me settle in.
‘What I love doing is volunteering at Southend University Hospital, five days a week, for a couple of hours or so. I’m a patient visitor and go round chatting to people at their bedside. I can pop to Costa and WH Smith and get things they need. They often tell me I’m an inspiration and how much I’ve helped them and I talk to their families. I love it and find it very rewarding. It was daunting at first but not now – I’ve been doing it for six years. It’s a big part of my life.
And I threw myself into it – I think “right, I’m going to do it”, and then I do it!’
Philip has been living at Livability Brookside since 1994. Life makes Philip happy. Being amongst people, helping other, helping those who can’t help themselves.
Philip enjoys getting out he shares his views on the restrictions and how that’s impacted his wellbeing: ‘the way of life at the moment is a bit tricky because of the pandemic, and being shut away, isolated - we’ve just come out of the other side and things are getting back to normal, getting out more and back to society, friends and the people you know. Going shopping, outings, having friends visit you.’
When asked what adds up to better wellbeing, ‘I am a collector. Passionate about comics, figurines, Marvel and Star Wars.’
Philips approach to good mental health is to recognise where there are slow improvements: ‘We are getting there, but it will take time and time is on our side. We just need to put ourselves in a place where we can be happy. There are occasions where you won’t be happy, but you need to think forward not backwards, and be present.’
A wide range of hobbies and interests helps life add up for Phil: ‘I am a DJ. I play music at other homes and at Brookside. Yes I believe it’s a huge benefit to wellbeing, it relaxes you, it is an enjoyable thing - it makes people happy. You hear a certain piece of music where you can dance to it, sign to it. Seeing people happy makes me happy.’
Stuart has faced some tough times in the past, including bereavement and a long separation from his family during Covid. But he likes to look on the bright side and explains what helps to boost his wellbeing.
‘I like the freedom I get at Livability, going out when I want to. They treat you with respect here. I’ve lived here so long – 17 years – I’ve got lots of local friends. And I met my new partner Kerry here. She makes me feel so happy. Everybody here, and family and friends have said I’m the happiest they’ve seen me. Kerry and I actually met years ago at school in Southend and I knew I recognised her from somewhere. She didn’t remember me!
‘I’m a big football fan. I support Liverpool and unfortunately Kerry supports Tottenham. Our ambition is to get to a live match but maybe not together if it’s Liverpool v Tottenham! I’m also a motorsports fan, Formula 1 and British Touring Cars as well. Mercedes and McLaren are my teams – they’ve got the best drivers.
‘My dad had cancer earlier this year and that was tough. I had support here where I live. If staff saw me looking down or angry, they’d take me aside and let me rant as long as I wanted. That helped.
‘I started to go back to my old church about a month ago, Christ Church, just down the road from here. I’ve got friends there and they were really pleased to see me. Faith is important to me – it keeps me happy. I play the drums and might be joining the church band. I started playing the drums in school, when I was about ten. Kerry said she might come along when I start playing again.’
Debbie lives by the seaside in Sussex and is brilliant at connecting with other people. Despite being badly bullied and left out at school because of her disability, her life is all about being part of the community, meeting people and helping wherever she can.
Debbie is very independent, supported by a Livability service for adults, where she shares one a of a small group of houses with her friend Louise.
Debbie has volunteered and fundraised with St John’s Ambulance for 14 years, helping at local events. ‘We do training courses, very much so, and I have badges and certificates for this. I know quite a lot about first aid. Helping like this makes me feel good.’
Faith is central to Debbie’s life, and she is part of a local church where she has close friends. ‘I was born into a good Christian family and in church we learn about God and Jesus,’ she says. ‘I meet a friend called Katherine at the café up the road and we do a Bible study together.’
‘I’ve got so many friends here, like Louise – we get on really well. Some of us go to the theatre together on our own, like Stacey and I. We saw Strictly Come Dancing with Maisie Smith from EastEnders! I love living here and want to say a big thank you to Livability for giving me the opportunity to live with these friends.’
Placing emphasis on the individual and what makes them flourish via person centred planning
Co-producing with the people we support to enable them to meaningfully participate in community life
Harnessing our knowledge around wellbeing (and the harmful effect that poor mental health / isolation / cost of living crisis can have) to raise awareness of wellbeing and disability in the public arena.
Measure wellbeing with the people we support to gain an understanding of what improved outcomes look like.
Enabling the people we support to have the skills in place to increase their wellbeing; from financial management to enterprise skills; from making connections to independent living skills.
Use what we've learned working with hundreds of people over decades to boost your own sense of wellbeing.