Fantasy Island-5 day Trip to Scotland Highlands
A story by Edinburgh Chinese Elderly Support Association
We provided a creative break holiday for 17 Chinese carers and persons requiring care in the Scottish Highlands.
Due to language barriers and cultural differences, mainstream services are not meeting the needs of our clients. This break allowed them to relax and obtain peer support as well as learning more about Scottish culture and history.
What Fantasy Island-5 day Trip to Scotland Highlands did
From 19th to 23rd June, three of our staff members led 11 carers and 6 cared persons, together with 5 fee paying service users who did not match the criteria. We headed off to the Isle of Skye and Loch Ness, Fort William for our five-day trip.
We put up posters during lunch club and day care centre activities to advertise the creative break to our clients. We also contacted carers to promote details about the creative break. We provided and explained the guidelines to our participants for individual evaluation as those who were eligible for the criteria could join the creative break.
Out of the 11 carers who met our criteria, 8 of them are aged 65 or above. 3 of them are aged below 65. Out of the 7 cared persons who participated, there were participants who suffer from chronic elderly illness, dementia and down syndrome, etc.
During our five-day creative break, we organised visits to some of Scotland’s most scenic locations, such as Pitlochry, Old Inverlochy Castle, Broadford, Portree, Kilt Rock and Glenfinnan. We stayed at the Caledonian Hotel in Fort William for four nights. We organised daily group activities after dinner so carers could take time out to enjoy the scenery during their evening walks by the Lochs. The remaining cared persons were cared for by our staff members, and they stayed within the hotel premises to rest or take part in mah-jong or card games.
We regrouped afterwards for different entertainment programmes every night, such as a retro concert comprising of music from the 1950s and 1960s. Besides, we also had dancing activities and enjoyed a Scottish dance performance. We also arranged a Boat Cruise trip to Loch Ness.
During our return trip on the fifth day, we passed by Glencoe. Before the trip, we researched information about the Massacre of Glencoe so we could recount some backgrounds of Scottish history to our participants during the return trip allowing them to understand more about Scotland’s cultural heritage.
C enjoys outdoor activities and she used to take road trips with her husband, travelling around England and Scotland. Since she has taken on the role as a carer, she has had no opportunity or time to travel. She was really glad that Edinburgh Chinese Elderly Support Association organised the Fantasy Island 5 day Highland trip.
She was really grateful that she had the opportunity to enjoy the break with her mother and sharing with her mother the experiences that she had travelling to places that she had been before. The five day trip helped her relax and also improved their mother-daughter relationship.
The Fantasy Island Five Day Trip is a half board holiday and supported by paid members of staff. So that they can enjoy the holidays and enjoy the history and culture of Scotland.
We encouraged them to participate in our five day trip as she could also meet other carers who can provide mental and emotional support to each other by sharing their experience as carers. We helped introduced her husband to our day care centre activities, so she could take time out to relax. As a result, she could have coffee breaks with her fellow carers or friends, enjoy shopping trips and participate in other activities for carers held by other organisations.
F felt that she had the opportunity to meet other carers and she has also learnt about various activities held by other organisations, which she has decided to join.
What Edinburgh Chinese Elderly Support Association has learnedThough it has come to our attention that our service users are mostly elderly Chinese people, there are also carers who take care of their spouses/partners. They were unable to participate in carer activities held by other mainstream organisations due to language barrier. The funding for this Fantasy Island Five Day Trip has allowed us to provide the benefit of giving the carers from the extended families the opportunity to have a break while the persons requiring care are away for the trip.
In addition to the day events, the group can spend time together; enjoy each other’s company, share their care experiences and support each other. All these can break down isolation, improve their wellbeing and help carers to better cope with their caring responsibilities.
Due to a huge number of participants, we were financially restricted by the amount of funding to select the most suitable candidates who met our criteria for the five-day trip. Therefore, we plan to attempt more funding applications to raise funds so we could arrange more similar activities, whether it be shorter ones like a one/two-day trip or a three-day trip. The shorter period of these trips allows carers to participate as some of them cannot leave their cared persons behind for long periods of time. We can then further extend our support to the carers as that is also a necessity.
We would look for funding sources in a pro-active way. As the project can facilitate a better feedback from our carers and also help them develop a better relationship with clients, we believe this would be beneficial to the association and those within the Chinese elderly community who need assistance from the association. Hence, our objective in developing sustainability of the work is to establish more rapport with our clients and carers via organising these short breaks, to boost their confidence and also their ability to help service users more efficiently at a lower stress level.