Using memories of sport to engage older people in conversation and reminiscence, the network engages with volunteers across communities to establish social groups in a wide variety of settings.
Following an initial pilot project involving 15 care homes in Leeds, the approach has been rolled out across cities and counties to engage with people over the age of 55, particularly those who may have memory problems, dementia, depression or are at risk of being socially isolated. Partners involved in current projects include professional sports clubs, adult social care providers, NHS Wards, Care Homes, libraries, museums and pubs.
In addition to promoting and improving mental well-being through reminiscence, the local projects also raise awareness of conditions such as dementia across communities and generations.
Siel Bleu provides exercise classes in care homes to more than 70,000 people in France, Ireland and Belgium.
They have been facilitating both personalised and group sessions for individuals, community groups and residential homes since 1997 in more than 2,000 care homes. Their aim is not only to improve people’s health but to enhance independence, autonomy and
socialisation through group participation.
For more information see: http://sielbleu.ie/
For a similar service in the UK see Oomph Wellness Limited
Dying matters is a website for those in the final months of their lives, their families, friends and carers. Their aim is to help to support people to be able to die as they wish.
As well as practical information on what to do when someone dies, it also has an online forum where people can post about their experiences of death and their concerns.
Dying Matters currently have over 30,000 members talking about dying.
For more information see: http://help.dyingmatters.org/
Hospital Foodie is a nutrition application that can be used in hospitals to accurately monitor patients’ food and nutrient intake. It was created to help overcome the shortcomings of current nutrition provision for the elderly in hospitals.
It works by;
1. Screening patients on admission to hospital to identify any nutritional deficits and calculate their daily requirements.
2. Accurately monitoring food and nutrient intake-at the event of a shortfall hospital staff will be alerted.
3. Individual preferences are taken into account. For example; rather than providing everyone with three meals per day there is the option to have smaller ‘mini meals’ provided at a time that suits the patients and their treatment.
4. A follow up nutritional report is created to help the patient maintain optimum nutrition and improve their recovery following discharge from hospital.
For more information see; http://www.hospitalfoodie.com/It is hoped that hospital foodie will help drive a higher standard of nutrition both within hospital and after hospital admission improving the health and wellbeing of elderly patients.
EngAGE & Create run a number of creative and reminiscence workshops nationally for the elderly, with a particular focus on those living with dementia.
Their ‘Ignite’ creativity sessions use famous artworks as a stimulus to engage those involved in the sessions in discussion and debate around a theme. These sessions are particularly beneficial for those with dementia as the stimulus and nurturing environment can help increase confidence and self-esteem.
The ‘Reminiscence’ workshops often involve a reproduction of a painting; creating a sculpture or a collage of photos, to trigger memories that can be shared and explored through the medium of the art itself.
For more information see; http://www.engageandcreate.co.uk/
Culture Club brings the best of culture including interesting events, programmes and workshops for the over 55’s to the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire.
They host and promote artistic, environmental, educational or sporting activities to suit all tastes- from gardening to cinema screenings to singing workshops.
The scheme is free to join and subsidised for those who can’t afford to pay. Local volunteers come to each event, help with travel arrangements, and provide company if someone is attending on their own.
See http://www.culture-club.org.uk/ for more information.
Zilta is a free app for smartphones and tablets built to simplify their content and to make it easier for people to use technology to connect with their loved ones. It’s designed to work for people of all ages, but is especially useful for older persons or those with less experience with technology.
Zilta believe that gadgets such as smartphones and tablets have become too complicated for everyday use and so they have taken out all the clutter and left only the most valuable features such as photo sharing, video calls, emails and music. Therefore making these gadgets accessible and easy to use for anyone regardless of their technical skills.
My Home Life is a national movement of people involved with care homes for older people. They work together to improve the quality of life of people living, dying, visiting and working in care homes.
The website provides research reports, forums and a video series on the evidence of best practice in care homes. This best practice is based on numerous guiding principles including; advice on how to maintain identity for residents, how to support a good end of life and how to build a positive community your care home.
They also run leadership support and community development programmes with care home staff, which over a 12 month period work to help foster positive changes and relationship-centred care in their care homes.
For more information see: www.myhomelife.org.uk
Changing Lives in Cornwall is a partnership of voluntary groups and state services providing schemes like; Steady On (provides ‘buddies’ to help older adults with balance issues); Get Well Stay Well (a support service for those returning home after a stay in hospital) and
Memory Café (a place for those who suffer from or care for older adults with dementia).
This holistic approach to local service provision is working well. And older people aren’t just the recipients of services; they also get involved in providing support.
For more information see: http://www.volunteercornwall.org.uk/changing-lives/
You can watch the video of how Changing Lives can be found