Nursing home manager Pauline Goh said: “When Harry came to live with us, he was very depressed and he suffered from a great deal of anxiety. Harry had worked in civil construction and he is a man’s man. It is hard for men like this to feel they no longer have control over their lives and this often leads to anxiety. Anxiety and worry are tiring and debilitating, not only for the person, but for their family too.
“Harry would call his wife at all hours during the night, when he was feeling low, and this obviously became tiring for both of them. Harry is devoted to Peggy and he would sit in his wheelchair waiting for her to arrive.”
Care UK operates an innovative system of care called Activity Based Care (ABC), which uses everyday activities to help residents maintain or regain their life-skills. This leads to an increase in confidence, independence and a renewed interest in the hobbies and activities they used to enjoy.
When the doorbell at Little Holland Hall broke, Pauline had an idea. “As Harry was always sitting by the door to meet Peggy, or to smoke, I asked him if he would be the doorman for the day.”
The change in Harry was almost instantaneous; he had a purpose and has continued being the home’s doorman from that day onwards. He told Pauline he now has a reason to get up in the morning; Harry is at his post first thing in the morning to greet the staff, even though they have a keypad number, and he greets visitors with a cheery smile and asks them to fill in the visitors’ book.
Pauline said: “Harry is a wonderful man. He has a wonderful sense of humour and a winning smile and that’s what greets visitors to our home.
“Harry now has his own Care UK polo shirt and name badge. He is so proud and says every day that this little job has saved him. He is now beginning to walk with assistance, his smoking has dramatically reduced, his appetite has improved and he is once again eating solid food and feeding himself.
“ABC is all about building confidence and independence and I was delighted when Harry told me that his goal now is to be able to actually stand at the door and open it for visitors and that’s what he and our physiotherapist are working toward.
“Isn’t it amazing how such a big achievement can come from something so small, and be so much better than any pill we could prescribe!”
Harry said: “By giving me this job, Pauline has made getting up in the morning worthwhile; I feel now that I am useful and am able to help people. I thought it was all over for me and I felt depressed and useless.
“Now I like meeting people and exchanging pleasantries, people know who I am and miss me if I am not there.”
Peggy said: “It is all true what Pauline and Harry have said - when he first had his stroke and was admitted to Little Holland Hall, he would lie in his bed, depressed, and would phone me, crying, at all hours of the night which would make me worry.
“Harry had always been a very active man; he worked building roads, often leading a gang of up to 70 men. When he became ill, it was like everything had come to an end.
“Now my husband is smiling again. He has a sense of humour and, most importantly, he has a sense of purpose. Not only do they look after Harry at Little Holland Hall, they also look after me, and I would like to say a very big thank you to every one of them.”