Tony is an energetic and enthusiastic man who has a kind nature and a wicked sense of humour. He is deafblind with learning disabilities and currently lives with his mum, Janet, who is his primary carer. Tony has a younger sister and older brother.
On a recent trip to Sense’s head office, where Tony spent the day typing braille messages for an internal communications project, he mentioned the loneliness he had felt before being supported by Sense.
On having further discussions with Tony, Janet and Graham - Graham is Tony’s Sense key worker at TouchBase South East in Barnet, North London and Sense Intervenor when Tony’s at home or out and about - it was clear that each had undergone challenges to get to where they are today.
Tony had spent a lot of his life in a traditional day centre, isolated with little or no interaction with other people and often spending his days asleep. Due to government funding cuts, the activities he enjoyed most - braille and cooking - were stopped. The family decided that it would be best for him to leave the centre and be at home. Tony was at home for over 10 years with no access to services and entirely dependent on his family.
Eventually, the family were contacted by a social worker who came to do an assessment. It took nearly four years between this initial assessment and Tony attending TouchBase South East.
Tony’s time at TouchBase South East has been one of growth, not only for himself, but for his mum and Graham too. He has developed his braille skills and now goes rock climbing every week, but more importantly, he has discovered his voice again. Through the work he has done with Graham, Tony’s life has opened up to the point where he now takes his mum out for a cup of tea. Something that means the world to Janet.
Since the passing of her husband in 2014, Janet has been Tony’s primary carer and has done an incredible job. This however, has left Janet herself quite isolated. Having Tony accessing Sense services has given Janet time for herself, which she has not been able to have for a number of years.
After the failings of the previous day centre and Social Services, Tony and Janet can finally communicate and make the most of their time together, and connect with the world beyond the four walls of their home.