Case Study: Christopher

Chris, with Cerebral Palsy, shares his journey with Bluebird Care. Sylvie, a Senior Care Assistant, supports him, enabling a fulfilling life in Exeter.

We’d like to introduce you to Chris and Sylvie, Chris is 43 years’ old, lives in Exeter and has been a Bluebird Care customer for over 10 years. Senior Care Assistant Sylvie has been supporting Chris for over 6 years, joining Bluebird Care in 2017 and becoming a Senior Care Assistant in June 2023. 

We were delighted when Chris agreed to share his story with us, raising awareness of living with a disability in his own words.  

About Me 

I was born twenty-six weeks premature and as a result I have a physical disability called Cerebral Palsy – Quadriplegic, which means I am an electric wheelchair user and need help with everyday tasks, which most people take for granted such as washing and dressing etc. 

I do not let my disability stop me, as I do not believe it is a barrier to anything in life - it just takes me a bit longer to achieve my goals. 

“Christopher is positive and creative. He doesn’t see himself in a wheelchair, we don’t talk about that, it’s just there.” Sylvie 

Life with Live-in Care 

When I first discovered Bluebird Care they did not offer twenty-four-hour Live-in Care however, they were only too happy to meet my specific needs and wants. Now they provide support with all aspects of my daily life ensuring I can live my life the way I want. 

I receive two types of assistance from Bluebird Care. Live-in Care helps me with daily tasks, for example getting up and ready for the day as well as eating, drinking and toileting. This support alternates on a week or biweekly basis and the Live-in Care Experts have a two hour break each day. During this break time, not always at the same time, a second Care Expert comes to help. Sometimes we stay in and talk during this time, go out for walks by Exeter Quay or go to town to get a hot chocolate. These activities are not exclusive to my afternoon Care Exerts either and can be provided by the Live-in Care Experts as well. 

Without my care team I would not be able to get out of bed in the morning. They help me do the things I can't, so I can focus on doing the things I can and choose to do. Although I am disabled, I do not perceive myself as such, and do not like using the word carer, I like to think of my Care Experts as ‘flatmates’ - some of them I think of as friends or even family. 

“Christopher doesn’t call us carers, we’re friends, we’re mates. He cannot be alone. We are his hands. If he needs a drink someone needs to put the water in the glass. He values us a lot, he knows that without us he wouldn’t be able to have the good quality of life he has.” Sylvie. 

Sharing my home with Care Experts has its ups and downs, and it is sometimes frustrating, but I’ve also met some truly wonderful people who have enriched my life. 

Me and My Care Team 

I have many hobbies including going to the cinema, reading, writing, meeting up with friends, playing on my computer, listening to music, going to concerts and stand-up comedy shows. My ‘flat mates’ accompany me to outdoor events and a selective few even assist me in typing my stories which I either self-publish on Amazon or Storystar for the world to enjoy (hopefully). 

“I see Christopher as a friend too. We have common interests. We both love cinema and enjoy commenting the films that we saw, recommending the good ones and avoiding the bad ones!” Sylvie 

We often watch TV series or films together in the evenings and over time I have also introduced my flatmates to a variety of Hollywood and independent cinema, and although the things I pick wouldn’t usually be their first choice they seem to enjoy them! 

My ‘flatmates’ have accompanied me to many memorable events in Exeter and beyond including a light show at the cathedral and many comedy standup shows at local theatres. Recently, I spent a memorable time in Bristol having lunch then seeing my favourite band and a day later going to Cornwall to visit the Eden project. This is a weekend I will remember for a long time. 

My ‘flatmates’ are my hands in my day-to-day life and so without them I would not be able to function and be the happy go lucky guy I am. Bluebird Care has provided me with invaluable support to live my day-to-day life, there has certainly been bumps along the way but it has been an enjoyable and fulfilling experience which I would not change. I've met some really wonderful people who go above and beyond to meet my needs. 

“I’m very lucky to have had the chance to meet Christopher. I am very proud of him as he is a good writer and such a positive person.” Sylvie 

Bluebird Care has helped shape me into the man I am today, and I hope by sharing my story it will give readers an insight into what it is like living with a disability.  

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Live-in Care

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