“I got involved with Peabody and the troops came in”

Our Kent Home Improvement Agency (HIA) provides advice and support to older people so that they can stay in their own homes in greater comfort and safety for as long as possible. Because of our reputation for providing an excellent service, the Centre for Ageing Better recently approached us to ask if we would take part in a conference as part of their research on home adaptations, ‘Adapting for Ageing: Good Practice and Innovation in Home Adaptations’.

The conference was a great opportunity for customers to share their stories both in pictures and video. Andy Trickey, one of our HIA customers from Kent, shared his experiences and his talk demonstrated the importance of these type of services and how they can help turn people’s lives around. Andy can be seen on the right, above, next to presenter Nick Knowles, a special guest at the conference.

Andy’s story

When bricklayer Andy’s mum became terminally ill he took the decision to give up work to be his parent’s live-in carer. He was proud to care for his mum until the end. Sadly, his dad had a heart attack and passed away the evening after his wife’s funeral. Andy had to to move out of their property as it needed to be sold to deal with the inheritance and Andy and his dog found themselves homeless – living in a tent for five months. He found it incredibly difficult to deal with lawyers, banks and estate agents during that time.

Once the will was administered he was left £70,000  but he couldn’t afford to buy a home and pay the mortgage.  Eventually he bought a small run-down flat. He was confident that he could use his building skills to renovate the property and have a home of his own. Unfortunately, shortly after moving in, Andy had a stroke and subsequently had an average of 15 fits a day. He lost all memory and the ability to do simple day-to-day tasks. Then, during his stay in hospital his dog died so he felt like he had nothing.

Our HIA was able to help him in many different areas including heating, access to benefits, new windows and doors, a winter fuel discount, a handyman service and adapting his bathroom. This is along with support to apply for a range of grants to help pay for the work. The Centre for Ageing Better felt that Andy’s story would be a great example of how services can help turn people’s lives around:

Andy said: I got involved with Peabody and the troops came in. Gale, my caseworker, saved my life and gave me help that meant I could get up every day as I now have what I need to cope.I feel like the stroke has given me a creativity I never had and opened me up to opportunities I would never have had. I feel overwhelmed that people are interested in my story and I feel special that I can share my story to tell people how important these services are. It makes me feel very proud. Without all the support and adaptations I would not have the interest to get out of bed each day and carry on with life.”

Karen Leslie, Peabody Head of Services in Kent was really pleased that Andy could share his experiences; “I am so thrilled we were able to create an opportunity for Andy to share his story, it has been such a motivational journey which is part of his own personal recovery. It also humbles me to see the dedication of our teams supporting customers like Andy everyday with these interventions and outcomes, so very proud of what we do.

You can read the full Centre for Ageing Better report here, including Andy’s story and others from our Kent HIA