Living in strong and supportive communities make it possible for people to live well and can reduce the need for funded care. Communities mean different things to different people depending on their passions and interests. So in addition to local communities supporting people to connect with others who share their interest, they are an important part of supporting someone well.
Simon Stockton - Strategic Consultant in Health and Social Care
Carol Taylor - Manager, Garth House care home
Alison Hardy - Manager, Athol House care home
Mary Israel - Activities Coordinator, Athol House care home
Simon Stockton: Care homes can do an awful lot to support people to both access local communities and to build relationships with their local communities so that it's a safe and welcoming environment.
Making that effort to build a connection that encourages people to feel comfortable is is really valuable.
Carole Taylor: It's exceptionally important for people within a care home to feel that there is still an outside world, still community out there otherwise you can become quite isolated or feel isolated so it's about that connection so it's not only watching the news on television for instance but discussing that news having access to newspapers, having people coming in from the outside not just to talk about or to have entertainment but to talk about events.
If we have care groups within the community that perhaps don't have places to meet - Alzheimer's society, Parkinson's society we can perhaps offer opportunities for those people in that group who don't need to be in a care environment at the moment but just need some support once in a while.
We can offer perhaps coffee mornings to come in to us but also for our residents to meet with them and to offer them support so that can be a mutually beneficial thing.
People from the outside coming in, new people to talk to and also people coming in to prove that being in a care home isn't the end, it can be the beginning of a new chapter in life.
Allison Hardy: We have two local schools that come and visit in term time and spend time with the residents, so the local JAG School, James Elaine School come and the girls do kind of nail care and art activities and we have a group of boys come from Dulwich College and they tend to talk more - will spend time showing things on their iPads and doing quizzes and interacting in that way and we have one resident who is very very skilled in Scrabble and some of the boys from Dulwich are from China and so he will spend time playing Scrabble with them and teaching them obscure Scrabble competition type scores and they have great fun with him.
Simon Stockton: It's hard to overestimate the impact that bringing children for instance into a home can have both on the children and their families but particularly for the residents in homes you have to see it to understand the emotional impact that it can have how it brings people to life and how it can break down some of those barriers that exist between generations.
It's such an easy thing to do and such a powerful thing to do that we would encourage everyone to try and develop stronger links with their local communities.
Carole Taylor: We have a school that comes here and performs plays at Christmastime for us and sings for us so that's really good because children get to interact with elderly people - perhaps they haven't got grandmothers or grandfathers of their own but our client group react very very well and very positively to children it brightens their day it brings back memories of children, their own chil-dren, when they were little, so that helps with with that aspect.
Mary Israel: Sometimes the girls will go to the hairdresser's and have their hair done obviously if we have a beauty group they have their nails manicured and they have their hair groomed and they look nice, you know, we know how it is for us to look nice when we go out so there we sort of try to fil-ter that down to the girls, some of the men like to have their nails done as well but we do do that for them as well but we don't put no varnish on them [laughs]
Community Capacity: Points to Consider
- Explore ways the home and residents can be an asset to the community.
- Find ways of reaching out, as well as drawing people in, to make the home a part of the local community.
- Engage in different community networks to strengthen local ties.
Use the care home action plan – it’s free!
A MySCIE account is required to gain access to your care home action plan and answer the question on Community capacity.
Designed for managers and owners of care homes for older people, use this care home action plan to:
- Build a shared understanding of what personalisation (or person-centred care) means in a care home setting
- Identify and plan practical improvements that will make your home more personalised
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