Bringing people together
For some, the ‘traditional’ view of older people’s accommodation may be that of a quiet, almost stale environment. With communal rooms filled only with peach coloured high-backed chairs – a lonely place where people are ‘sent’ to see out their final years.
When I asked a few of my colleagues in the office what images the term ‘sheltered accommodation for older people’ conjured up in their minds the answers were far from positive. The words ‘institution’, ‘dark’ and ‘boring’ were mentioned with one even saying that the words made him feel sad and upset. The overwhelming feeling was that of loneliness and not somewhere that any of them would want to live.
Hold that thought for a second - now contrast that with the reality of what is going on in community hubs up and down the country; let’s take Gloucestershire as an example.
There are hundreds of people throughout the county who live in accommodation specifically for people aged 55 and over. But these are not places for people to simply shut themselves away from the world. They are vibrant communities where everyone has the opportunity to get involved with the regular events taking place.
In a previous post, I wrote that the art of conversation is alive and kicking and that being part of a community is a key factor in helping people to stay happy and healthy and we can see from the latest figures from our hubs in Gloucestershire that more and more people are getting involved.
In the last three months alone, there have been over 240 events take place in the 14 community hubs that are running throughout the county. These events include exercise programmes, conversation and memory clubs, art and craft sessions, coffee mornings and not forgetting food glorious food – everyone loves a bag of chips or nice piece of cake. What better way to enjoy it than getting together with your friends for a good old chinwag?
In just three months over 2,000 people have got involved – with over 40 per cent of them being from the wider community. The increase in activities available has seen the communal spaces come to life with local groups taking advantage of the free facilities to bring more people together.