How To Help Out Care Homes Right Now
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Right now, it might feel like taking part in social action isn’t as possible as it once was. However, there are lots of ways you can help out your local communities. We spoke to Julie, the Customer Relation Officer at Hill Care and asked what you can do to support your local care home. Here’s what she had to say:
What do care homes do?
Our care homes look after people who are elderly and frail, and people who are living with dementia, in its many forms. Usually people decide to come and live in a care home when they are struggling to look after themselves at home – this could be following an injury or illness. Our team of staff ensure that people who live in our care homes have a great quality of life, get involved in lots of activities, and continue to take part in their hobbies and interests.
What’s the best thing to donate to care homes?
You can donate books, magazines, puzzle books, chocolates, cakes (preferably sugar free), seeds or plants...really the list is endless!
However, residents love to meet new people and talk to them about life. They enjoy talking to teenagers especially as they see aspects of their younger selves. Residents feel that they have life experiences to share and want to pass that on to new generations.
If you have any skills, such as singing, reciting poetry, dancing, doing magic, playing musical instruments, painting, etc these would be wonderful to share with residents as they appreciate those who are willing to engage and entertain.
How can young people volunteer while social distancing?
Coronavirus is a challenge to how we all relate to one another, as currently only medical people are allowed in our homes. However writing letters, sending cards, pictures, poems, stories or postcards to residents is a great way to open up communication! Once a relationship is formed we would look at setting up video calls so that the residents can put faces to the names of the people who have contacted them.
What do young people who volunteer in care homes get from the experience?
There is so much to be gained by volunteering in care homes. Elderly people have such amazing life experiences that they enjoy sharing with the young; they’re funny and love to laugh too. They’re also good listeners and are interested in hearing the stories of young people’s lives and what it is like for them in their daily lives. Volunteering in care homes also means that you have the ability to make a huge difference in someone’s life, gives you a chance to learn about yourself, and to look at a career path you might not have initially considered.
What is the best way to get in touch with my local care home?
All care homes will be listed online, so you can easily search for care homes in your area. Another useful site to use is carehome.co.uk. Once you have the number, give the home a ring and have a chat to the manager or activity coordinator. You could also email the home but the personal touch of picking up the phone is often the best way. And have a look on social media and see the kinds of things that care homes are doing that you could get involved in.
We also have a number of homes across the country which you can find by going to hillcare.net.
Good luck and happy volunteering!