A strong bond forged with a maintenance man has given an Armagh care home resident a new lease of life.
Alfie Hill, who is in his 70s, has learning difficulties and is physically disabled.
He moved into Amore Care’s Apple Mews, at Cathedral Road in Armagh, almost a year ago, after a life spent mainly in long-term, institutional care.
A firm friendship with Apple Mews’ maintenance man Johnny McKenna has enabled Alfie to involve himself in everyday tasks and activities that have led to a quality of life and level of independence he never dreamed of attaining.
Johnny, who has worked at Apple Mews since October 2012 after spending most of his working life on building sites, attended Amore Care’s Creative Minds training, designed to motivate all care home staff and encourage creative ideas to improve the quality of life for residents.
Despite not having a care background, Johnny embraced the ethos of the programme and engaged with Alfie in a way that changed his life.
Alfie now helps around the home, goes fishing with Johnny and even mows the lawns from his wheelchair, with a little innovative assistance from Johnny.
He is so motivated in his life that he has started regular physiotherapy with the ultimate aim of walking again.
Rosemary Dilworth, Apple Mews home manager, said: “The Creative Minds programme is designed to help everyone working within our homes to engage with residents in innovative ways that improve the quality of life.
“Johnny is a fantastic example of someone who has never worked in a care environment before but has welcomed the opportunity to develop his skills and is now engaging with residents in a way that is changing their lives.
“His friendship with Alfie is inspirational and perfectly demonstrates the value of the Creative Minds programme.”