Activities, Support Services

*New Activity* BRAINSTORMZ!

bRAINSTORMZ LOGO

Starting Saturday 7th December (1pm – 4pm) 2019; a new support group Brainstormz! is opening in The Net for persons just like you. There will be: 

  • Refreshments 
  • Crafting 
  • Facilities for younger persons 
  • Occasional Guest Speakers 
  • Arranged trips to seminars where relevant

BRAINSTORMZ! is led by WALT volunteer, Sue Bulpin, and welcomes people with all neurological conditions from Functional Neurological Disorder to Fibromyalgia and more.

We aim to provide an empathetic forum for the exchange of good practice ideas, details of access to facilities both locally and further afield. A general information exchange provision will be available, where attendees can receive and provide information as they find the information useful. 

Each session will cost £2 per person {£1 for under 16s}. This is to cover the session fees, tea or coffee and biscuits. Those who bake are always welcome, especially if they bring cakes! 

For information, contact Sue on 01634 319633 at the Net or via email volunteer@waltcic.org.uk 

SUPPORTED BY FND ACTION UK
Raising awareness for Functional Neurological Disorder {FND} & Non Epileptic Attack Disorder {NEAD}

Activities, Funding, Support Services, Volunteers

Good news! Funding support received for our Chairobics session

The Hub walderslade chairobics

We’ve been awarded the sum of £1247 by Involving Medway, via the Kent Community Foundation, to continue our Chairobics session on Monday afternoons.

This activity is funded by Involving Medway, an initiative run by Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, designed to encourage people to get involved with and help make decisions about health provision in the area. It aims to help residents lead healthier, happier lives through improved participation in community groups and activities.

Having been instigating new activities to the Hub since her appointment last year, manager Jaye says:

“Chairobics is a seated exercise session we introduced to help people maintain a certain level of movement, without it being too strenuous or too difficult for those with mobility issues. Add to that the social factor and it’s of double benefit to our local community. We’re very grateful for the support of Involving Medway in allowing us to keep this activity running for another year.” The session runs between 1.30 and 3pm.

This funding isn’t the only good news at the hub recently – the Rotary Club of Medway has also awarded us a £250 grant towards practical improvements at the space, located in Silverweed Road shops, and we’ve also partnered with Medway Time Credits, a voucher based reward system for volunteers.

Medway Time Credits are a ‘thank you’ for getting involved in your local community and giving your time in a voluntary way to help others. You can earn Time Credits for all kinds of activities, such as helping run our open cafe or assisting with the activities we organise. You might even have an idea of an activity you can run yourself, with which we can help you. Time Credits can then be spent with many different organisations, including trips to London.

Get in touch on 01634 319633 or email community@waldersladehub if you’d like to chat with Jaye about the volunteering opportunities, or to find out more about booking the space for activities.

Activities, Resources, Support Services

Dementia Friends Session at the Hub

dementia logo

We’re delighted to be welcoming John Portman of the Alzheimer’s Association to the hub on Thursday, June 14 for a Dementia Friends session.

This is not a training session for carers but an awareness raising chat for those (shopkeepers, other shoppers, for example) who may come into contact with someone living with one of the conditions, and how to spot the signs and allow for them (i.e. not being impatient in a queue, for example).

Perception can be an issue for people with dementia, so this informal chat highlights a few areas where patience and understanding is all that’s required by others to support those living with the condition when out and about.

The session will start at 3.15pm and run for around 45 minutes. All are welcome, but we would be grateful if you could advise your attendance to Jaye at community@waldersladehub.org so we can set up in advance.

The session will take place in the final hour of our Cupcake Day for Alzheimer’s.

Resources, Support Services

All I Want For Christmas Is Company

 

The Net Community Hub WALT Walderslade

Volunteer Christina Lee takes a look at the facts and figures behind Age UK’s recent advert and pinpoints why resources such as ourselves and Walderslade Together are so vital for our local community.

In Age UK‘s recent film ‘Just Another Day’, we see a pensioner living on his own and repeating the same routine throughout the year – get up, walk to the store, buy food, watch TV – until Christmas day, which he had forgotten about until he reached the store and saw that it was closed, covered in snow. This heart-breaking film made me think of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure’s Christmas classic Do They Know It’s Christmas? ’, written for the victims of the Ethiopian famine in 1984, and I wonder how many older people in the UK today don’t know it’s Christmas until the shops close. Even if they do know it’s Christmas, so what? Christmas just passes them by.

Both my surviving grandmothers live overseas, and I feel incredible guilt every year that I can’t spend the occasion with them. I find consolation in knowing that they have great friends and other family members to look after them and that thanks to social media, I can video-chat them provided I work out the time differences correctly. But unfortunately for millions of older people in the UK and around the world, who have lost their spouse, can’t contact their family or have no children, things are a lot grimmer.

A Harsh Reality

In an article from The Independent published three months ago, older people report that they are forced to choose between either food or warmth, with many choosing to cut back on food or ‘go for a couple of days without food’ because of the heating costs. With the UK set to see the ‘snowiest winter’ for 27 years this year amid cuts in social care services and inflation in food prices, older people are facing especially tough challenges this Christmas.

According to Kent Community Foundation, the cold winter is likely to have a devastating impact on older people’s health, particularly with underlying circulatory or respiratory conditions, or over 75 years old.

  • Approx. 10% of those aged 65 years and over say they feel lonely all or most of the time – this equates to around 52,300 people in Kent and Medway
  • One in eight households in Kent is occupied by a pensioner living on their own.
  • 64,000 households (1 in 11) in Kent/Medway are affected by fuel poverty.
  • 10% of fuel poor households contain a person over the age of 75
  • There were 630 “excess” winter deaths in the Kent (2014-15) and 312 Medway (2014-15).

[From Kent Community Foundation Surviving Winter]

A Cuppa with Company

Loneliness is the new social epidemic of our age and a major contributing factor to mental health problems such as depression. Older people with long-term conditions like dementia are even more likely to experience loneliness and depression because of the social isolation that the illness brings. Even though loneliness might not sound like a serious illness, when older people live on their own without social interaction, they are more likely to have falls, have ill health, and suffer strokes or heart attacks because there is no one to catch the symptoms. Loneliness can kill.

Of course, loneliness doesn’t simply come from living alone. Even those living in care homes or assisted living facilities may experience loneliness despite being around people and some studies have found that care home residents actually feel twice as lonely as older people living the community. This goes to show that being alone isn’t the same feeling alone. Indeed, many retired folks love the idea of finally having time for themselves after the children start their own families. We should be celebrating independence and freedom in later life by providing the support and resources that older people need in order to live well without patronising them or compromising their freedom.

To ask for ‘help’ or ‘charity’ can feel humiliating and the stigma around old age can sometimes mean that older people ‘put up’ with the cold and the hunger because they ‘don’t want to bother their family’. There are ways to offer support without making older people feel ‘weak’ or ‘useless’.

  • Be a Friend

According to a study of what older people consider a ‘good life’, one of central things that make ‘ageing well’ is relationships that meet needs for intimacy, comfort, support, companionship, and fun. Simply being a friend to an older neighbour and making them feel included as part of the community can make a big difference, whether that is sharing Christmas dinners, going to the markets, or just having a cup of tea and a chat together. Being a friend also means paying attention to their needs, heating, food, access (e.g. icy footpaths) and health, seeking advice should you notice any causes for concern.

  • Volunteer

The Royal Voluntary Service Kent and Medway relies on volunteers to offer support older people to maintain their independence and Age UK Medway has also been running a Befriending service for older residents to help them stay connected with the community. You can support organisations like Involve, who arrange Christmas dinners for older local residents, or Community Christmas, who run Christmas events for the community and provide guidance for those who with new ideas. They also have an events listing for older people and volunteers searching for something to do this Christmas. Contact the Elderly also runs tea parts for older people regularly, not just at Christmas. Or you can check out Medway’s Volunteer Centre to what kind of volunteering works for you. And of course, Walderslade Together are our resident befrienders, running the open cafe all through Christmas week with the invaluable help of volunteers.

  • Donate

If you are feeling festive and generous, feel free to donate however much you can to Age UK Medway or Kent Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter Campaign to keep vital care and support services running. Alternatively, you can send those fifth pair of oversized socks you got from Secret Santa at work to Age UK’s charity shops to make space for next year’s wardrobe for a good cause. WALT also have a Just Giving page set up to enable more sessions to take place.

Other resources

Ways to Keep Active (AgeUK)

Keep Warm, Keep Well (NHS Choices)

Feeling well and overcoming loneliness (Royal Voluntary Service)

Advice for Older People and their families and neighbours (Be Winter Ready)