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Gaining independence and boosting self-esteem

From an early age, Lauren Finnemore has been captivated and interested in caring for others, showing a keen interest in mental health conditions and a desire to learn more. She was heavily influenced by her mother’s work within the sector and first-hand experience of family members that have struggled with their own mental health.

Inspired by this background and encouraged by friend, and now colleague, Sam Ford, she left her retail job of eight years in 2019 to pursue a career assisting others with debilitating mental conditions.

Today, Lauren works with a variety of clients at Independent Living West Country, helping and enabling them to gain confidence and greater independence. She explains: “No two days are the same, but that’s what I like about the job. I am always learning more about mental health conditions and how I can help to make a positive difference to improve other’s lives.”

Lauren thrives on helping individuals come out of their shells: “The important factor is finding common ground. That’s why I always learn as much as I can about my clients to discover their interests of passions,” she says.

She explains: “It’s not uncommon for individuals to struggle to speak or even look at you at first, because they’re so anxious. So, we take the time to build trust and understanding, listening and taking on board what matters to the individual.

“Once you know what they are passionate about, you have a great conversational point to build upon. That’s when individuals begin to open up about things.”

Lauren assists clients with cleaning and other day-to-day activities. She also creates boards and to-do lists to help give structure to their lives. Adding this element to client visits enables those who Lauren works with to have a regular routine and to feel assured that they have a positive figure on their side, helping them gain confidence in their own independence.

“Even a small gesture can mean so much to our clients,” says Lauren. “I clean and keep our clients’ spaces tidy. In no time they see the positive difference that makes to their lives and so they start to keep their homes neater. It may sound small, but it’s so important in building self-esteem.”

Lauren and the other team members at Independent Living West Country work extremely hard with clients to understand their individual circumstances and needs so that they can aid them on their journey to independent living. This includes providing support so that individuals become confident in all aspects of daily life, helping them to enjoy their lives to the full, be that out and about walking their dog, or going swimming.

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