Douglas has been coming to Thistle to use the Gym for almost a year. He was referred to the Gym by a physiotherapist who was supporting him to manage after a bout of cellulitis in his legs, which hospitalised him for 3 weeks.
Before Thistle, Douglas had lost the confidence to go out; afraid he would fall and be unable to get back up. The doctor and the podiatrist would visit him at home. His mother’s carers would pick up shopping, but after she died two years ago, Douglas came to rely on the help of his aunty and uncle. He couldn’t get on the buses and grew increasingly isolated and dependent on other people.
One year later and everything has changed: when Douglas started coming to the Gym he could hardly walk and needed to use a stick everywhere he went – now he walks without one. When he needs to see the doctor or the podiatrist he makes an appointment and goes to his local surgeries. ‘It’s better this way,’ he says, ‘I like going to the surgery and getting out the house.’ He now gets the bus and does his own shopping too.
While Douglas currently only visits Thistle’s Gym once week, exercise is now part of his daily routine. He has learned basic exercises from the sessions at Thistle and practises them at home. ‘I do short 5 -6 minute sessions, around 3-4 times a day,’ he says, he has also started increasing the distances he walks and taking trips Portobello beach, which is one of his favourite spots.
‘Since I’ve been doing the exercises I haven’t been back in hospital,’ he says, but that’s not the only thing motivating Douglas; ‘I like coming to Thistle, it’s friendly and the people I see have good craic, - it’s one of the best social events of my week!’ he says. ‘And I have my confidence back now too – I’m getting out more. I see my friends at the weekend, and they say they see a big improvement in me.’
‘I worked in a Brewery for 27 years before I took early retirement,’ explains Douglas, ‘so I didn’t have time to exercise, it just wasn’t part of my routine – but now it is.’
Douglas sees himself using Thistle’s Gym more in the future. While Thistle has been based at Wighton House he has had to get a taxi to visit, because the journey from the bus stop to the building is too far to walk. ‘When we’re in the new Centre I’ll be able to come more because the distance is shorter,’ he explains, ’I want to try out the treadmill, maybe Tai Chi too. I’m just going to keep going.’