Four people we support paddling

Life begins at 50 – Michelle’s story

Here at Discovery, we support people to take small steps that turn into strides so they can get more from life. And that isn’t just with the people we support. It extends to the family and colleagues around them too.

So, if you know you want to do something more with your life and worry it’s too late then…

Meet Michelle.

We’ve supported Michelle for 20 to 30 years through traditional day service. So, when our support model changed to Community Outreach, Michelle and her dad wanted to stay with the service they knew so well, and we continued support in the way they chose.

That was until covid hit and the day centres closed. 

Now, the only option was Community Outreach.

Michelle’s support model was changing for the first time in 20 -30 years and not through choice. It was time for Michelle (and dad) to take the no longer optional but necessary steps out of their known world into the unknown.  A situation like that calls for expert support. So how do you reach someone whose life has been one way for so long and support them to live differently? 

How would you do it?

Here’s how we did it:

  • Firstly, we listened to concerns. 
  • Secondly, we met Michelle and her dad where they were and took things very slowly. 
  • Thirdly, we knew that if dad felt comfortable, Michelle would relax more.

Slowly, slowly, we supported Michelle and her dad to take one step at a time in a new direction. 

We started with a walk here and there to get out of the house, and as restrictions lifted, we increased outings in length and regularity. Sometimes it took repeating a step five or six times until Michelle’s confidence kicked in and her face lit up; in turn, dad relaxed, and it was all worth it.

So, when Michelle turned 50, she was confident enough to choose what she wanted to do on her birthday-for the first time.

Michelle chose:

1. to go to Weymouth Sealife Centre and have fish, chips, and Prosecco on the beach!

2. who she wanted to go with.

3. to go on a train to get there. 

Michelle had never been on a train before. Imagine being 50, and you’ve never gone on a train? 

In fact the whole day was full of firsts for Michelle. A first for going to the beach, paddling in the sea, choosing where to go and with whom.

The world is opening again for us, but Michelle’s world is opening for the first time.

six hands of people we support clinking cups to toast cheers

Here’s what that means for her:

1. Michelle is learning she can make choices and change her mind.

2. Instead of taking direction from those around her, Michelle is confident to tell us what she does and doesn’t like. 

3. Chaperoned dinner dates are now late nights on the town. 

4. Michelle is eager to explore the wider world, the community and become a more independent person.

They say life begins at 50. Well, 40, but hey, 50, is the new 40! 

See what Michelle has to say here: 

three people we support paddling

And what about you? Is it time for you to take steps in a new direction?

Happiness is found on the edge of the comfort zone.

If like Michelle or her dad, you know it’s time to get more from life you can find out more about our Community Outreach here 

Or if you are someone who likes to make a difference, and you like the sound of being part of the Community Outreach team, start with our quiz here to see if a step in this direction is right for you. 

The Dimensions group (which Discovery is a part of) has been officially accredited as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute for two years running. Additionally, this year, we received a “Wellbeing” award and a “Great Workplace for Women” award.