Arthur is a lively and energetic gentleman in his 70s, who lives at the EachStep Blackburn care home for people living with dementia. Before retiring Arthur had worked as an engineer and had a keen interest in DIY and loved gardening.

Although he was happy living at the care home, Arthur was missing the sense of purpose he got from his hobbies and doing jobs around his own home. Through good conversation and listening to Arthur and those who love and care about him, Arthur’s Circle supported him to stay involved with the things that mattered to him. Using person centred thinking tools such as a one page profile and working/not working helps us to reflect together with Arthur and his family so we could support him to live a good life.

Connecting with others

Arthur’s Circle members are his wife Doreen, daughter Donna, Connector Cath, his friend Kath, and volunteer Seren, who supports the conversation to keep on track. None of them have a background in DIY or gardening, so they decided that the best way forward would be to connect with others who did.

They asked Paul, Facilities Manager at the care home what Arthur could get involved with. Before long, Arthur was helping out with maintenance jobs around EachStep, doing the regular checks of the facilities with Paul. He takes great pride in this. It really gives him a sense of purpose and makes him feel like a valued member of the community.

Alongside this, Arthur and his Circle talked about the idea of restoring used furniture. Before long Arthur had restored a number of beautiful old rocking chairs, which he then chose to donate to a local nursery. Again, this was a wonderful way of keeping him engaged in activities he enjoyed, whilst feeling like he was able to make a real contribution. He is enjoying joining in with gardening and is currently looking forward to the new shed being built where plenty of DIY projects are being planned.

So, as well as keeping Arthur connected to the things that matter to him, there are other benefits as a result of his Circle.

Circle meetings are a regular opportunity for everyone to get together and share ideas, it’s a way of working in partnership with family and friends.  While each Circle has a clear purpose and conversations focus around this, there is a very holistic nature to the Circle which helps us to think about overall wellbeing.

Of Arthur’s Circle meetings, Kath says “My favourite bit of the Circle is that we just chat and the most fab ideas come from it.”  Donna says, “I like the Circle meetings, it gives us all an opportunity to find the best ways to keep Dad busy and what he enjoys the most”

Seren says “I enjoy the Circle meetings and think it’s great that Arthur can have his own say about what he wants to do.  The meetings are relaxed and as a group we come up with the best ideas for supporting Arthur well.”  Doreen agrees that the Circle meetings are great, encouraging everyone to share ideas.

Circles flex and adapt around the person and through conversations with Arthur and his family, as time moved on, it became more important to spend social time together. While there were still opportunities to do some DIY and gardening when Arthur chose to, we shifted the conversations to think and plan to spend social time together each month, from bowling to quizzes and catch ups with coffee and cake.

Arthur’s Circle became a place where friendships flourished, so when Arthur passed away, his Circle continued to get together. Arthur’s Circle is now the space where friends get together; to share our lives, our friendship, our love and reminisce about Arthur who brought us all together.