We are staging more and more fun-filled events and activities in our homes that bring together our residents and people in the community.
Reaching out to individuals and community groups and welcoming them into our homes is a great way to make friends and boost social interaction for everyone. It also serves to show what our homes can offer the communities we serve.
We have many recent examples of how community events at our homes have benefited people.
The focus is on sharing company, conversation and laughter through dances, afternoon teas, morning coffees, singalongs and other events.
For instance, 20 friends from the local community attended the first practice of our new community choir at Fernhill in Longham. University student Amelia Caley, who brought her grandmother Diane Hughes, said on the day: “I have been looking for something to share with my grandma. She taught me many old songs when I was growing up and we have both really enjoyed singing together today.”
Likewise, Brian Smithurst from Northbourne, who came with his wife Hilary, said: “It’s been lovely. We’ve sung Scarborough Fair and some Beatles songs. It’s been really enjoyable to meet the residents and their carers and just get together and sing.”
There has also been a great response to an inter-generational initiative taking place at The Aldbury in Poole, Newstone House in Sturminster Newton and Abbey View in Sherborne.
These homes have partnered with a church project called Truth Be Told, which brings young children and their parents from the community together with residents for storytelling and ‘family’ time.
In a session at The Aldbury, resident and former nurse Beryl Goodhew enjoyed the chance to spend time with one of the tiniest visitors.
She said: “I have held hundreds of babies over the years, but this is the first time I have cuddled a sleeping infant in a very long time. I’m happy as I could possibly be.”
Fellow residents Diana Janes and Keith Dovell sang nursery rhymes and took part in a giant parachute game.
Keith said: “The children are so open and full of life. They haven’t been shy about getting involved – or getting us involved too. It’s been great fun.”
Diana agreed, adding: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and can’t wait to see all the children and their lovely parents again.”
Young mum Rebecca Milton, who attended the session with her 16-month-old son Charlie, said: “I heard about Truth Be Told through my mum and thought it sounded like a lovely idea – and I’m so glad we came.
“Charlie has spent the morning with a wonderful group of older people, making them smile and clearly enjoying their company. It will be great to watch him getting to know them all in the coming weeks.”
The Aldbury Home Manager, Kim Harding, said: “I think Truth Be Told will have a meaningful effect on everyone it touches.”
Following the popularity of regular get togethers that launched in the summer at our new Poole home, Bourne View, we have decided to launch a Tea and Togetherness initiative in January 2020, involving homes right across the group.
Those attending from the community are likely to be elderly people living on their own, who may be experiencing loneliness.
Each home is hosting a regular Tea and Togetherness event every month, so the advice is to check with your nearest home and save the date.