James’s Story Written by his sister Lisa
“Just looking at my brother these days you can see in his features all the stress has gone and in its place we see a glow, and a sparkle in his eyes once again – something we would see only briefly previously however ever since he moved into his new home with Iris Care Group which was only at the end of Nov 2022, we saw these moments of genuine happiness becoming more and more each day and now all that stress is like a distant memory far away.
“I think from the moment James stepped through the door into his new home which was not just decorated beautifully but also had ornaments/ trinkets and the most amazing Christmas tree ever, I have never heard someone have such a joyous scream before and when he kept saying ‘is this really for me’, while crying and hugging everyone, I don’t think anyone that day had a dry eye.
“It was the conclusion to a hard-fought battle that as a family we often felt alone in our belief that our brother deserved to have, having listened to endless reasons why he was so high risk, that his needs were far too complex and that his adaptations to the world had made him impossible to place from hospital back into a community setting. The team from Iris Care Group came along and instead of seeing all the risks they believed in the potential future for our brother. At first, we were untrusting, having been down this route too many times before but the team built a rapport with us and we too began to think the impossible might just happen.
“I cannot explain what it meant to us as a family to witness this moment when our brother found himself in his new home, it has taken many years for him to finally move out of hospital and to have a fresh start that he deserved. Of course, our brother has ambitions just like all of us do, he dreamed of working in an office, to be seen and treated as the adult he is and to have that fulfilment that we all get from doing a great day’s work. It often caused problems while he was in hospital as he tried to ‘help’ clean or serve up food.
“Many times, we explained on behalf of our brother that he needed to be needed, not to be seen as the receiver of a service but a contributor to delivering help to others. That his sense of worth was just like any other adult and his need to feel part of society by contributing to the workforce would help his mental wellbeing and more importantly his self-worth and pride.
“We were told by previous services how it could take years before they felt our brother would be ‘safe enough’ to allowed to do some ‘work like’ tasks and even then, because he could only understand two words at a time that it wouldn’t be anything other than menial tasks. We knew as his siblings what he wanted but it just seemed like he was being written off before he had been given a chance.
“Perhaps we were being too ambitious in daring to dream, and yet society is moving away from people with a learning difficulty being unable to work, there is more and more representation on TV, models and even in business. Where were the opportunities for our brother or others like him that also want to work? Were we being too ‘woke’ in expecting that if our brother would like to have a career that he should have the support explore this?
“Then one day not even 4 months after being discharged from hospital my brother called me ‘I have a job’ he told me and let me tell you the pride in his voice was like that first day in his new home all over again, except this time he had a voice, he had words and he had found his self-worth. I can’t really tell you what this means to James, but his actions and dedication to learning his new role will tell you all that you need to know. Everyone at Iris Care Group have held hope for James to succeed, never once has that belief waivered and I think that you all have helped to change the course of my brother’s life in the best way that we could ever have imagined. Thank you.”