My name’s Peter Paternosta, I’m 75 years old or young, depending on how you feel, or I feel. I had back surgery in December 2013, followed by 18 weeks of physiotherapy under the direction of the Coxheath Physiotherapist Centre. A young lady there got me walking and she adapted the program to meet a special need for me, which was for me to able to climb the stairs. This was important because my study is upstairs, and living without my computer; it's like you’ve taken away my arms. At the end of the 18 weeks, they set a lifestyle maintenance regime in order to benefit me in the future, but they also brought up that there was an additional service, the falls prevention service.
I come to the exercise classes which I find immensely enjoyable and useful.
I’ve found it has given me more confidence I think since I’ve had my spinal operations three years ago. I became immobilised for six months, I didn't leave the house or even go to the garden, walking was very difficult. I didn’t realise that I had lost my confidence but I obviously had.
I care for my wife Jennifer who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago when she was 54 years of age. Now at this stage I have to do everything for her and she can no longer read or write.
‘I moved to Maidstone in April 2014 and did not know anyone in the town or area. I had left London for personal reasons and wanted to make a fresh start. One of the first places I visited was Maidstone Gateway - I immediately felt it was very welcoming and everyone was kind and friendly. I really liked the environment and noticed the volunteers in their purple uniforms and thought this was something that I would like to do. I spoke to a very helpful and approachable volunteer who directed me to the Involve Volunteer Centre for advice and guidance. I had not been in paid employment for nearly 25 years and lacked self-confidence.
I have been caring for wife since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease five years ago and have been supported by Involve Carers since we moved into the area two years ago. I have received a lot of support from them during this time.