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BAB is a partnership of individuals and organisations working together to reduce isolation and loneliness among older people in Bristol.
Roger who is in his 70’s was born and brought up in Bristol, within a mile or so of where he now lives in a first floor flat. When Roger was younger he enjoyed sport and being part of a team. He was the goalkeeper for a local football team as well as being a member of a darts and skittles team. Like the rest of his family he is an ardent Bristol Rovers supporter and the blue scarf and other memorabilia on the wall of his flat display this very well.
Roger has had several jobs over the years including working locally in a shoe factory, a typewriter factory, in furniture removal and as a Redcoat at Butlins in Minehead. It was later while he was working for a local cash and carry firm that Roger developed osteomyelitis and was no longer able to work or enjoy taking part in sport.
Things came to a head when Roger tripped over a plate in his kitchen and although conscious he was unable to move and his calls for help were not heard. He lay on the floor for three days before being discovered by a neighbour and was then taken to hospital. Roger spent several weeks in hospital where it was discovered that as well as bone disease, he had diabetes and required a toe amputation. These problems have severely affected his mobility and he had great difficulty moving around his first floor flat requiring the use of a walking frame.
Roger felt very lonely and isolated and it was someone from Age UK Bristol who suggested that a referral to Community Navigators might be helpful.
Roger was appointed a navigator and after several visits the navigator made some helpful suggestions which have made life easier and much more interesting. The navigator was instrumental in getting Roger a BBI grant so that he has now got a new carpet and flooring for his bedroom and bathroom, as well as a second handrail for his stairs. He has been offered a ground floor flat but prefers to stay in the flat which has been his home for many years.
The navigator also suggested a regular visit from a GoodGym befriender which has opened up new possibilities for Roger. He’s able to talk about his football memories and the current football scene during these weekly visits.
He has used his singing talent to record 120 sets of lyrics of popular songs onto tape and is keen to distribute these tapes to as many people as possible. He sings the songs from memory and they range from Flanagan & Allen’s ‘Underneath the Arches’ to Jim Reeves and Beatles songs. Roger says that he thinks they would be welcomed particularly by people with dementia who are helped by hearing old time favourites. He also went to a Marmalade Trust Christmas lunch where he was ‘treated like a lord’ and he led the singing at his table with ‘White Christmas’ and Jim Reeves’ ‘Distant Drums’.
Roger now has a very positive outlook and wants to give back to society through his singing. He realises how fortunate he has been, despite his difficulties and he would recommend the Community Navigator service to anyone who feels lonely or isolated as he did.
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