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Spinal cord injury: meet Simon

Find out how we're supporting Simon after an accident

Spending an afternoon with Simon and Anna, one of our long-term live-in care partnerships, it is clear to see why we do what we do. Simon, who previously sustained a C5/C6 spinal cord injury at the age of nineteen, has been receiving specialist spinal care from Helping Hands since 2000.

Immediately after sustaining his injury, Simon was understandably anxious. An independent young man, he was unsure about what the future would hold and how the direction of his life would change.

“For the first few years after my accident, I closed myself off and didn’t want to do anything as I was originally worried what other people would think. However, over time I started going out to different places and stopped worrying about what other people thought.”

Receiving spinal cord injury support from Helping Hands, although later proving a great decision, was initially a daunting prospect that contributed to Simon’s uncertainty.

“It was a shock,” Simon explains. “Going from being so independent to relying on someone and putting your trust in them was difficult. In the beginning, I was instructed to stay in bed because of an unhealed pressure sore. I was advised to stay in hospital, but I just wanted to get home. Helping Hands came out to me, and I was able to return home with support from one of their live-in carers.”

Now, 14 years down the line, Simon is embracing independent living with support from his permanent Helping Hands live-in carer, Anna. Visiting them at home, it is clear to see that they are a perfect match.

“When a Carer first arrives, I am a little bit nervous about whether or not we will get on. I prefer carers to be a similar age to me, as then we generally have a similar taste in music and films. My permanent carer, Anna, is just great.”

Sitting together in front of a roaring open fire, Anna brings in Simon’s two dogs, which are obviously spoilt rotten by the pair. United by their love of dogs, Anna and Simon just seem to click, and it is clear to see that Helping Hands’ matching process worked perfectly for them.

“You really can’t fault the carers,” Simon remarks. “The matching process is great and Anna is perfect in terms of personality and competence.”

Every day, Simon and Anna work well together. They maintain a routine that follows the outcomes stipulated in his individualised spinal cord injury care plan, whilst having fun along the way.

“We generally stick to the same morning routine,” says Simon. “Anna supports me in the morning with my personal care routine. Then, in the afternoon, I spend my time studying web design and photography on the computer. Being a self-employed photographer is definitely an option for the future.”

With support from Anna, Simon continues to pursue his chosen lifestyle. Here at Helping Hands, we are committed to making independent living possible for many others like Simon across the UK.
Offering invaluable advice to others affected by spinal cord injuries, Simon says, “When I was in hospital, being around other people with spinal cord injuries and seeing how confident they were taught me to move forwards.

I would say to others in my position, just get back out there and start living your life. Before my accident, I was really active and into sports. I couldn’t see myself doing anything with computers, but you just have to work through it and try different things.”

Leaving Simon and Anna to it, we know that we have just witnessed what live-in care is all about.

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