David is finally on firmer ground

December 1, 2021

David Simpson had the ground cut from beneath him when his Kaiapoi home was destroyed in the first Christchurch quake. Then the ground shifted again.

Just over two years ago David’s life started to unravel. He split up with his partner of 17 years, and in early 2020 he lost his job and his driver’s licence after an accident in his truck.

Without the stability and support of a partner and a job, David found himself struggling to manage everyday life. A Christchurch community worker contacted IHC Family Liaison Sheridan Myall and asked her to get involved.

Sheridan says the huge life changes had severely affected David’s independence, his participation in the community and his health.

Truck-driving had been David’s life for more than 30 years. He had started out at a rental vehicle company, where he got his truck licence, then moved on after 18 years to driving a truck for a recycling firm for another 14 years. “I have been a workaholic – worked seven days a week,” David says.

But without the job and now living alone, David became very isolated. He could no longer drive to get his groceries, topping up his phone was in the too-hard basket and lockdowns made everything much worse. He has no contact with his family.

“It’s hard to live on your own,” he says. He has only the TV and the radio for company.

“At the moment I watch the news and what’s going on with Delta and that. I do a short walk. Whatever happens, happens. At the moment I just go day by day – just get on with it, take it as it comes.”

For more than a year, Sheridan has worked with the community worker to help David get his life back on track. Believing David needed more assistance, they approached LifeLinks, the local Needs Assessment Service Coordination organisation, for an assessment and David, 58, has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability. David had slipped through the support nets in the health and education systems, but now has a diagnosis that entitles him to the support he needs.

That includes five hours a week help with housework and cooking and another five hours of supported living, covering budgeting and paying bills.

LifeLinks is also keen to get David help with technology and to reconnect him with his community.

David says he is happy to share his story to help anyone who might be in a similar situation. He says Sheridan is great. “She’s my first port of call if anything goes wrong.” And his advice to anyone who needs help? “Take whatever opportunities come to you. Take them with arms open.”

Caption: David Simpson, with Sheridan Myall, is getting his life back on track.