How Luke’s lawn mowing service makes him feel right at home

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass to make one feel at home. For Luke, who lives at one of Scope’s Supported Independent Living (SIL) residences, the opportunity to mow the lawns on a regular basis provides a range of benefits – far beyond keeping the yard tidy.

As we explore below, enabling Luke and other residents to find more opportunities to participate in the day-to-day running of the house can make a positive difference to their overall wellbeing.

A sense of pride, a sense of place

Luke has been living in the Scope SIL residence since 2017. His relatively new role as resident lawn mower arose from the pandemic restrictions of 2020, when social distancing meant the home’s regular gardener could no longer tend the property.

With the yard looking a little worse for wear, the house team came up with a great solution – give the residents a go at maintaining the garden themselves.

Since then, Luke has embraced the opportunity to roll out the mower every few weeks. And his house team has noticed how the job gives him a sense of pride in the place he calls home. As Stephen Mulroy, House Supervisor, said, “It’s been great to be able to provide Luke with an experience that most of us can relate to – looking after and taking pride in our home and garden.”

Luke mowing the lawn in his backyard.

Gaining new skills and getting exercise

With support and encouragement from his favourite staff – who have built up a strong and trusted relationship over time – Luke has been learning how to use the mower. It has been great to see his confidence grow with this and other tasks.

“Luke works best with someone who has a very consistent, supportive and responsive approach,” said Stephen. “When we first got the lawn mower and asked Luke if he wanted to have a go, he watched me mow, and over time he has gradually taken the lead as he has understood the task more.”

A member of the house team usually stands within an arm’s length when Luke is mowing, providing gentle prompts to turn corners or navigate an edge. While he’s out there mowing, Luke is moving his muscles – providing incidental exercise that’s so good for health and wellbeing.

Mowing also provides Luke with a positive focus for his mind. In everyday life, he can become stressed and worried, especially when he doesn’t understand the plan, and when he feels that things are out of people’s control.

“This and other positive supports help reduce Luke’s anxiety, as opportunities for constructive engagement such as mowing the lawn help to redirect Luke’s thoughts. It means he spends less time thinking about things that are out of everyone’s control and more time being happy with his achievements,” says Stephen.

“Mowing the lawn, and other meaningful activities, help Luke regulate his emotions and think about other things.”

Scope SIL is about much more than mowing

At Scope, we are focused on helping people like Luke live as independently as possible – with all the support they need to develop skills for daily life. For example, Luke has also been learning how to cook, and regularly brings out his beloved fry pans to whip up a tasty meal.

His next goal is bike riding. “Luke has been talking about going bike riding lately. I think it was prompted by seeing the bikes stored next to the lawn mower. So that’s the next goal – fixing up the bikes and riding around the local area.”

Scope will help him make it happen. It’s all about developing relationships, building trust, and helping him find and do the things he loves.

Getting started with SIL

To learn more about how Scope can help you or a loved one with Supported Independent Living, contact our Vacancy Coordination Team today.