Peter Smith is a 106-year-old resident. I have been calling since the beginning of lockdown and have recently passed the call onto our volunteers. I rung Peter again this week to check in with him and to see how is coming along.
When I first spoke to Peter. He was getting food parcels each week and suffered with his vision, so he was quite nervous and unsure and very isolated. We hit it off straight away and Peter warmed to the fact that not only we were thinking of him, but also that we were there to chat and help.
Peter doesn’t have any family around. He was married, and once had children which he tragically lost in the air raids in Portsmouth in the war, but having spoken at length with him about having people around him, he is happy that he has numerous friends he can call on, like his 100 year old friend.
Peter comes from a musical family; whose Mother was a singer who toured America. This is something he picked up as a young man and played guitar until an accident forced him to retire and he eventually took up the harmonica. Each time I phone he will play me some harmonica down the phone from his favourite artist Larry Hadler. The music was a theme we had across all our calls, and Peter’s mood really picked up when we were on the topic of music.
Peter was even so good to give me some tips on my garden, and how best to grow potatoes. Peter really enjoys being able to speak to someone about common interests, something which he has not had in a long while. This has been a common theme of conversation and we have really bonded over our love of gardens and speaking about this has rekindled Peter’s Joy of gardening and has taken steps to get back into the garden and do things he hasn’t done in a long while.
Over the weeks we have built up a fond relationship and I can see that he has improved in himself because of this. He is now able to get out and about on his new scooter a bit and has started painting (something he hasn’t done for a long time) and has come a long way since the start of lockdown, with the friendship calls playing a major part in that.
Peter is now speaking with our volunteers and I am keeping in touch with him once per month to offer that support so we can keep that trusted relationship, and with our volunteers so he has a variety of people to speak to.