Live Your Life Activities for Cared-for People/Respite Support for Carers
A story by Community Central Hall
Community Central Hall delivered a multi-faceted activity programme for isolated Cared-for People with disabilities/Additional Support Needs during which time their Carer(s) received much-needed respite.
We also aimed to help both groups re-integrate back into the community to tackle isolation, regain their independence, and improve their health/well-being.
What Live Your Life Activities for Cared-for People/Respite Support for Carers did
Community Central Hall ran a multi-faceted activity programme for Cared-for Older People/Adults with disabilities/ASN during which Carers received much-needed, regular respite breaks of their choice: helping both groups improve their inclusion, independence, resilience, well-being and quality of life. The support run for Cared-for people evolved over the year to meet their changing interests/needs.
Activities run for Cared-for Older People(OP) 65+ incl., 1 x Christmas Dinner Outing for 12 x OP; 1 x Christmas Pantomime outing with sweets/ice-cream for 14 x OP; 3 x inter-generational activity sessions via which 24 x total OP and 25 x total Children/Young People enjoyed a buffet-style lunch and engaged in board games, arts & crafts, and storytelling; 1 x Easter Holiday Afternoon Tea via which Children/Young people prepared/served sandwiches/cakes for 20 x OP and ate/chatted together; 1 x lunch/sight-seeing in Millport for 10 x OP; 1 x lunch/sight-seeing at Largs beach for 8 x OP; and 8 x Silver Screenings at which 45 x total OP enjoyed films incl., Stan and Ollie, The Ladykillers(1955), Love Me or Leave Me(1955), Funny Girl(1968), Madame X(1966), 42nd Street(1933), etc: after which they enjoyed themed food and could reminisce and share laughter and memories. We also ran a 6 week-long Summer Activities programme via which Older People enjoyed cards, arts/crafts, games, and healthy meals together: building new friendships.
We also ran weekly ‘Keep Fit’ Activity Sessions during which 22 x total Cared-for Adults 50-64 engaged in dance activities incl., Ballroom, Barn, Latin American, Step Aerobics, Zumba, and more and themed activities like ‘Disco Dance.’ Clients asked if they could watch dance-films after hearing positive feedback on our film screenings so we mixed in 8 x dance-themed Food & Film sessions incl., Singing in the Rain, Footloose, Hairspray, the Nutcracker, etc.
We also ran 1 x Christmas Luncheon, which was attended by 12 x Cared-for Adults 50-64, 24 x Cared-for Older People 65+, and 29 x Carers.
What Community Central Hall has learned
As a result of receiving Creative Breaks Funding, Community Central Hall was able to roll up a new programme which sought to benefit an increased range of people by targeting 3 distinct client groups: Cared for Adults 50-64 with disabilities/Additional Support Needs, Cared-for Older People 65+ with disabilities/Additional Support Needs, and their Carers.
Our flexibility has been key to the programme’s overall success as it’s enabled us to continually amend service content/delivery to better meet the changing interests/needs of these target groups and make a wider impact on those supported. For example, whilst we initially sought a 6 week-long ‘Spring Fling’ activity programme for Cared-for Older People in March/April based on the success of the previous year’s activities, the Support Facilitator in charge of running our ‘Live Your Life’ programme required to undergo an emergency operation in January and was subsequently on leave for a few weeks, causing us to delay the programme to instead run during the summer.
In order to still support the social inclusion of Carers and Cared-for Older People during spring, we instead offered an alternative albeit shorter series of activities during this period including 3 x inter-generational activity sessions via which 24 x total OP and 25 x total children/young people enjoyed a buffet-style lunch and engaged in board games, arts & crafts, and storytelling as well as 1 x Easter Holiday Afternoon Tea via which 25 x primary-aged children were supported to prepare/serve a range of sandwiches and cakes for 20 x Older People after which they ate/socialised together.
These inter-generational sessions were a huge success and the Older People loved hearing about the days, school life, and clubs the children engaged in whilst the children/young people were, in turn, amazed at hearing about what life was like for the Older People when they were young. Older people advised that connecting with the children/young people brought ‘new life’ and energised them. These sessions provided unique opportunities for different generations to build positive community connections and feel valued: supporting each individual’s well-being and wider community cohesion.
We did not initially plan to offer these activities but they positively impacted/enhanced the overall programme as did other unique activities incorporated into the programme. For example, delivery of this new multi-faceted activity programme directly coincided with our new ‘Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema’ via which we strive to increase the community cultural engagement and overall cohesion, particularly amongst those more excluded/disengaged from mainstream services, by providing free/low-cost film screenings, music gigs, festivals, and more that highlight a range of cultural voices and histories.
As participants in the ‘Live Your Life’ Activities began to see our community cinema advertised throughout the halls, they started asking if it would be possible to incorporate this into the existing activity programme being delivered. This led us to offer a series of 8 x ‘Silver Screenings’ at which 45 x total Older People enjoyed films incl., Stan and Ollie, The Ladykillers (1955), Love Me or Leave Me(1955), Funny Girl(1968), Madame X(1966), 42nd Street(1933), etc: after which they enjoyed themed food.
We initially only sought to screen 1 or 2 films but increased this upon request as the Older People really loved reminiscing and sharing laughter/memories and as it also suited the range of disabilities/Additional Support Needs of participants better than some of the other activities/outings we’d provisionally planned as we had more people this year with serious mobility disabilities – the film screenings and socialising hour provided afterwards meant that everyone was comfortable throughout the activity.
This in turn provided unique opportunities to personalise the activities provided even further as we could offer themed meals instead of just offering general healthy lunches for Older People accessing the range of activities/outings provided. We also extended the programme of ‘Keep Fit’ dance sessions so that we could incorporate 8 x dance-themed ‘Food & Film’ sessions incl., Singing in the Rain, Footloose, Hairspray, the Nutcracker, etc.
The success of the ‘Silver Screenings’ led us to develop a new separate pilot service strand for our Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema, with 14 x outreach ‘Silver Screenings’ run between 1 August and 31 October 2019 via which we’ve used purpose-built/purchased portable cinema equipment to screen favourite vintage films for Older People at local Sheltered Housing Complexes – approx. 25 x Older People attended each screening. We aim to continue running these targeted screenings over the coming year based on on-going interest/demand.
Although we initially expected to support the same small group of people in each respective service support strand year-round, the changes made to the overall programme enabled us to support/engage with more people than initially expected, with the total number of Cared-for People and Carers supported far surpassing the targets initially set. Whilst some attended every single activity session provided for the respective Cared-for group targeted, others attended every second or third activity/outing provided, again resulting in us supporting an increased number of people.
Our status as a community hub brought significant value to the overall programme and helped make a more significant impact on the Cared-for and Carers supported as we are able to offer additional support/activities beyond the 12 month-long programme itself. In addition to providing a wealth of benefits for individuals and wider Carer/Cared-for family units, the programme helped beneficiaries feel valued and recognise that there is a place for them in the community and essentially acted as a Launchpad for them to access/engage in other activities run by Community Central Hall moving forward giving both Cared-for people and their Carers increased opportunities for social engagement/inclusion beyond the programme time-limited remit
We also found that our ability to collect/transport Cared-for People from their homes to our hall and back greatly increased accessibility and attracted additional Carers – this also provided Carers more time to themselves.
How Community Central Hall has benefitted from the funding
As a result of receiving Creative Breaks Funding, Central Community Hall was able to roll up a new programme which sought to benefit an increased range of people by targeting 3 distinct client groups: Cared for Adults 50-64 with disabilities/ASN, Cared-for Older People 65+ with disabilities/ASN, and their Carers. The programme was an overall success and we supported far more people than we initially expected, with our services/activities benefiting 61 x Cared-for Older People with disabilities/ASN compared to the target of 20; 22 x Cared-for Adults with disabilities/ASN compared to the target of 15; and 74 x Carers compared to the target of 35. Our flexibility was key to our success and led us to introduce a number of new activities under two primary themes: 1) inter-generational activities which helped build positive community connections/cohesion amongst diverse groups and participants feel more valued in the community and 2) themed film screenings run via our new community cinema which enabled participants to watch favourite vintage films, reminisce, and share laughter and memories: building new friendships/social networks via positive shared experiences. The success of these activities and positive feedback received have led us to develop new service strands to meet the changing interests/needs of the community. For example, the success of the ‘Silver Screenings’ led us to develop a new separate pilot service strand for our Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema, with 14 x outreach ‘Silver Screenings’ run between 1 August and 31 October 2019 via which we’ve used purpose-built/purchased portable cinema equipment to screen favourite vintage films for Older People at local Sheltered Housing Complexes – approx. 25 x Older People attended each screening. We aim to continue running these targeted screenings over the coming year based on on-going interest/demand. We also recently developed a targeted programme of increased inter-generational activities via which we aim to run at least 4 x seasonal events as well as 12 x inter-generational workshops per annum to help people from diverse groups build positive community networks, feel more valued/engaged in the community, and improve their inclusive and community cohesion. Seasonal events will incl., Spring-time Daffodil Tea, Summer Sports Day, Harvest Fun, and a Winter Holiday Lunch and aim to engage 50-75 people per event. Workshops enable small groups of approx., 12 people to share fun, positive learning activities such as Junior v Senior Tech Courses, Cookery Courses via which older people can share their knowledge/experiences to help Young People build cookery skills; Fun with Film; and more. We have applied for funding to run this and hopefully will secure the total funding required if not more. The generous support of Creative Breaks funding has also helped our volunteers and wider organisation further develop/increase our local knowledge, skills, and overall support capacity. Many thanks for your very kind support - we would not have been able to run this programme without your generous award.
Carers will have reduced stress levels and feel less lonely. Cared-for people will engage in new opportunities for inclusion/participation that will help them feel less lonely and positively impact their health/well-being.
We offered a range of activities for Cared-for Adults/Older People with disabilities/ASN during the year whilst their Carers received much-needed respite, helping both groups get back out into the community and improve their inclusion, resilience, and quality of life. 61 x total Cared-for Older People engaged in 16 x total outings/activities and 1 x 6 week-long Summer Activities programme. 22 x total Cared-for Adults engaged 34 x weeks of fun ‘Keep Fit’ dance classes and 8 x dance themed Food & Film screenings. Cared-For people built positive new friendships with peers via sharing positive experiences and improved their confidence and independence. Their 74 x Carers had much-needed time to focus on their own well-being, spend time with partners/friends, and more: reducing stress/tension. By providing new opportunities that promote independence and inclusion, Cared-for People and their Carers reported feeling less lonely, more positive/happier, and improved family relationships.
OP1 is a 76 year-old woman with a range of serious health conditions who is cared-for by her older husband. The couple faces significant isolation as they have no family living in Glasgow and as many of their friends have either passed away or now live in sheltered housing units or with family in other areas. This isolation has worsened over the past two years and is primarily due to OP1 having lost all of her confidence after going blind in 1 eye and also reduced sight loss/surgeries in the other. Her husband heard about our programme when he visited one of their few friends at the Hopehill Road Sheltered Housing Complex as a few of the residents have benefited from other services run by Community Central Hall. As OP1 was nervous about coming to a session by herself, her husband joined the first activity session with her, the ‘Easter Holiday Afternoon Tea,’ during which we could visibly see her becoming more comfortable and relaxed as they chatted with other Older People and with the children/young people that had prepared/served sandwiches/cakes. Overall, OP1 attended 7 x outings/activity sessions as well as our 6 week-long Summer Activities programme; these opportunities enabled OP1 to chat with and build positive new friendships with her peers that experience similar life challenges, helping her feel more socially included and giving her the emotional support needed to build increased resilience. OP1 reported that the supportive, non-judgmental group setting helped her engage in activities/outings that she simply wouldn’t have had the confidence to try previously/on her own and has also helped her improve her confidence and cope better. In addition to accessing the activities/outings provided as part of this unique multi-faceted programme, we helped OP1 access our weekly club for Adults/Older People with severe/total sight loss which has further improved her confidence, lifted her spirits, and helped her develop a strong social and support network with whom she can continue to socialise/share support outwith our Project/in the wider community. Whilst OP1 engaged in our activities/outings, her husband has been able to simply take time for himself and enjoy life outwith his caring role. This has included simply spending time/making friends at a local pub, accessing a men’s group run by one of our community partners, and also accessing the unique ‘Golden Goal’ film screenings we ran in June/July 2019 as part of our new Community Cinema. We brought isolated older men together to reminiscence about screened historical sporting moments at Glasgow’s three major football clubs and bond over their shared experiences/memories: tackling isolation and sectarianism and promoting community cohesion. Both OP1 and her Carer husband have reported feeling less isolated/lonely and happier both as individuals and as a family-unit.
35 Carers will have taken the opportunity to receive regular respite breaks to focus on their own well-being, spend quality time with family/friends, take up a hobby, and more.
We offered a range of activities for Cared-for Adults/Older People with disabilities/ASN during the year. 61 x total Cared-for Older People engaged in 16 x total outings/activities and 1 x 6 week-long Summer Activities programme and 22 x total Cared-for Adults engaged 34 x weeks of fun ‘Keep Fit’ dance classes and 8 x dance themed Food & Film screenings: greatly surpassing our target of supporting 35 x Cared-for People. Whilst Cared-for people engaged in these activities, their 74 x Carers received much-needed respite breaks of their choice to focus on their own well-being greatly surpassing the target of 35 x Carers. Feedback from those supported proves that this flexibility and freedom was a key success of the programme and helped Carers ‘recharge’ and feel revitalised. Overall Cared-for People and their Carers reported feeling less lonely, more positive/happier, and had improved family relationships.
OP2 is an 81 year-old male with significant health conditions and very limited mobility that is cared for by his son, Carer 2 he engaged in 7 x outings/activities and our 6 week-long Summer Activities programme. Although OP2 uses a zimmer-frame to get around, he really struggles to go more than a few feet at a time and gets very fatigued quickly. Because of his limited mobility, OP2 particularly loved the inter-generational activities provided during the first-half of the year and the series of ‘Silver Screenings’ we provided during which participants enjoyed their favourite vintage films after which they could reminisce and share laughter, memories, and delicious themed food as he was able to sit during these activities and be completely comfortable/not worry about trying to move too much/quickly. As OP2’s grandchildren live abroad, he rarely sees them and therefore really enjoyed chatting to the children/young people, which he referred to as the ‘community’s grandchildren,’ about their day, school life, what clubs they are a part of, and being taught fun, new board games with which they had ‘old v young’ competitions. The children/young people were, in turn, fascinated to hear about what life was like for OP2/the other Older People when they were young. OP2’s son, Carer 2, advised that he was really struggling with having an even work/life balance as he felt his life was consumed by work and his caring role, with many of his holidays used to take care of his dad when he’s especially poorly and/or to take him to different hospital appointments as his dad struggles with memory and can’t attend alone. He was therefore very grateful to receive regular respite breaks during which he had time to focus on his own life and well-being, primarily using this time to socialise with friends that he otherwise struggles to meet with due to his hands-on caring role. He was particularly thrilled with the length/total respite time provided for each of the one-off outings/activities run which included picking up his dad at home and taking him to/from each day’s activity – giving him additional freedom and flexibility. Carer 2 advised: “It’s been brilliant to simply have time off and relax. I feel less frustrated and better overall” The programme also helped OP2 recognise that there is a place for him in the local community and has acted as a Launchpad for him to attend additional activities run by CCH – giving both OP2 and his Carer son something to look forward to and increased opportunities for social engagement/inclusion beyond the remit of our 12 month-long programme.
35 Carers will report having improved ability to manage/enjoy the changing relationship with the person they care for and overall improved family relationships as a result of having received regular breaks that have relieved the stress/tension of providing intensive, long-term care for a loved-one.
We offered a range of activities for Cared-for Adults/Older People with disabilities/ASN during the year. 61 x total Cared-for Older People engaged in 16 x total outings/activities and 1 x 6 week-long Summer Activities programme and 22 x total Cared-for Adults engaged 34 x weeks of fun ‘Keep Fit’ dance classes and 8 x dance themed Food & Film screenings: greatly surpassing our target of supporting 35 x Cared-for People. Whilst Cared-for people engaged in these activities, their 74 x Carers received much-needed respite breaks of their choice to focus on their own well-being, greatly surpassing the target of 35 x Carers. Feedback from those supported proves that this flexibility and freedom was a key success of the programme and helped Carers ‘recharge’ and feel revitalised. Overall Cared-for People and their Carers reported feeling less lonely, more positive/happier, and had improved family relationships.
Carer 3 has cared for her 72 year-old sister who has multiple disabilities and long-term health conditions for many years; however, her role/responsibilities have greatly increased as her sister has aged, forcing her to give up the community volunteer role she adored and had actioned for many years approx. 18 months ago which has, in turn, impacted her isolation/loneliness. As they have no close family members, Carer 3 is unable to share her role/responsibilities and often feels that these completely overwhelm her life; however, she is determined to make her sister happy, comfortable, and living in their own home for as long as she can. Although Carer 3 and her sister had initially sought to engage in the previous pilot we delivered the year before after seeing a flyer for the programme, they were unable to do so as Carer 3’s sister ended up in hospital for a few weeks and so immediately registered to access this new programme once it was possible. Carer 3’s sister had a wonderful time engaging in the range of activities provided and is naturally chatty, helping her make a number of new friends through positive, shared experiences. Whilst Carer 3’s sister engaged in the fun activities/outings we provided, Carer 3 was able to reconnect with the friends that she previously volunteered with, go swimming at the local gym with a neighbour, and even signed up to volunteer at 2 x Sports Days we provided during the summer helping her feel valued/connected to the community once again. We worked with Carer 3 and her sister at the end of the programme to help create an action plan of sorts that will help them continue accessing activities at Community Central Hall beyond the 12 month-long project period so that they feel better supported moving forward and which will further improve their inclusion, community engagement, and overall well-being.