Laundry day

One of my clients' main goals is to be more independent, particularly with tasks in his home - and at the moment he is working on being able to do his own laundry.

Due to my client's cognitive and physical changes, this can be a difficult task for him - he has a muscle weakness on his left side and struggles with his balance and co-ordination which means he can have difficulty collecting all the washing together and taking it downstairs. He has an impaired executive function which means that he struggles with the order of the next tasks... separating clothes into colours and deciding which part of the job comes next. He also finds it difficult to do more than one thing at once, is easily distracted and then wanders off to do something else.

I decided that the best way for me to support him to achieve this goal was to agree with him that we would have a set day for doing the laundry. I explained to my client that for him to be able to be independent with this skill he would have to practice over and over again many times and eventually, he would be able to do his laundry without any support. We agreed Wednesday would be laundry day.

We put reminders into his diary and his weekly planner to help him to remember his set day and I worked on some instructions that we put on the wall next to the washing machine. We started out with ten instructions and agreed that we would gradually reduce the instructions so that in the end, he wouldn't need them at all.

My client started to become familiar with his laundry day, the instructions went from 10 down to two, and the prompts and reminders were hardly needed at all. He now carries out this task every week without support - when I arrive on Wednesdays, his bedding is stripped and his clothes are sorted and in the washing machine. My client worked very hard to achieve this goal over a long period of time.

Succeeding in becoming independent in this way has given him a huge sense of achievement and the confidence to tackle other life skills.

Experience of a support worker in the North East

Posted: January2014

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