“I never thought I’d play football again. Now I’m Man of the Match!” Meet Geoff.

When ex-footballer Geoff moved into Belper-based care home, Milford House, he never imagined he’d be playing it again for his local football club. 

85-year-old Geoff went to live at Milford House care home when his son Anthony needed a little extra help with his care. 

“I was extremely apprehensive about my Dad moving into a care home,” said Anthony. “It’s such a difficult decision but the team was supportive every step of the way. I visited the home a few times to make sure it was right for Dad and each time, my nerves were calmed. You just have to see the resident’s smiles to know they’re happy.”

Just before Geoff moved into the home, the Milford House team carried out extensive research into Geoff’s likes, dislikes and passions. They made sure Geoff had an environment for him to thrive, which included all of his favourite things, like a stack of football DVDs including the infamous 1966 England World Cup. As an ex-footballer for his local team, football had always been Geoff’s love in life, and one that had fallen by the wayside when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

After a few months of settling in, the care home introduced the ‘Milford House, Make A Wish Scheme’ for New Year 2023, where residents were encouraged to pick one wish and the team could help make it come true. Geoff’s wish was to play football once again.  

Kirsty, the Dementia Care Coach, talked to local associations and found that Belper Town Football Club were starting up their walking football group. After asking Geoff of his thoughts, he loved the idea and couldn’t wait to get started. Anthony was very supportive of the idea and encouraged his Dad to take part. 

In February 2023, Geoff’s family, Registered Home Manager Sheila Barwick and Dementia Care Coach Kirsty all went with Geoff to support him on his first football session. 

“Geoff was incredible” explained Kirsty. “He was so keen to get involved and soon had the ball at his feet. He scored two goals and he even jogged at times! We were so thrilled that Sheila and I welled up watching him play. We’ve organised another session for him and now he goes every week.”

Since starting his football club, it’s enabled Geoff to reminisce about his football days and has given Geoff his purpose back. He continues to be involved with social activities around the home, is more mobile and has noticeably improved his physical and mental wellbeing. 

Sheila Barwick said, “Facilitating Geoff to participate in football fits within our Montessori ethos and principles that we promote within the home and as a company. It provided Geoff with a purpose, and a meaning. Just because an individual comes into Milford House should not mean that they stop taking part in the things they’ve always loved to do. It’s about taking positive risks and not wrapping an individual up in cotton wool.”

Anthony expressed his thanks to the team at Milford House; “My father has received exceptional care during his time at the care home. The staff are all incredibly kind, dedicated, knowledgeable, and supportive. Milford House has very high standards and although I had real concerns about my father leaving home to move into residential care, the team have been wonderfully supportive, to both my father and I. I’m very grateful.”

For more information about Milford House and how they can help your loved one, call their friendly team on 01332 841753 or email at milford@milfordcare.co.uk.

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