If older people find themselves in a situation where they need some outside support (perhaps after a medical diagnosis or personal crisis), Live at Home will signpost members to any local services and agencies that can help. Information and advice services are confidential and designed to enable people to make an informed decision about the options available to them. It may be carried out through one-to-one befriending, attendance at activities, telephone or visits to the service. In addition, the local newsletter will keep them informed of the scheme’s latest news, upcoming events and activities, welfare initiatives and other community services that may be of interest.
One of the most popular services within Live at Home, befriending is exactly what it sounds like – getting people together to make friends. Many older people living in their own homes can become isolated and lonely, but with a regular weekly visit – perhaps to read the paper to a visually impaired person, or to play cards or accompany a member with their grocery shop - Live at Home can help stop this from happening. Volunteer befrienders are matched with scheme members based on their interests and personalities by their local scheme manager. Some schemes also offer a telephone befriending service.
A chance to get out of the house, have a hot, balanced meal – and not have to do the washing up! Often, volunteer drivers can give people a lift to the club if they might otherwise struggle to get there. Many schemes also have their own minibus to transport members to and from venues. Once there, members enjoy a meal, company and an activity, while staff and volunteers can check in on them and make sure they are alright (and refer them to other services if need be).
It’s not just lunch and breakfast – many Live at Home schemes hold clubs for crafts, games, activities and making friends. Often based around coffee mornings, these clubs are a chance for members to get together, have some fun and company and enjoy an activity. As ever, volunteers and staff can also use the opportunity to talk to people and find out whether they need any extra support. Health and fitness are also popular within schemes, and many hold various exercise classes such as Tai Chi and keep-fit.
Many schemes arrange daily telephone calls to check on a person to make sure he or she is alright and offer reassurance. If there is no answer or there is a cause for concern, the volunteer caller can inform the next of kin or relevant service. Some schemes also provide telephone prompts to members as reminders for appointments or other key dates.
A key part of independence is being able to get out and about. Live at Home schemes frequently use volunteer drivers, minibuses and community transport to enable members to get to activities or medical appointments. (Eligibility criteria and charges apply.)
It’s a constantly changing world. Many schemes offer classes in various life skills such as IT and how to get the most out of the internet.
Sometimes it’s not easy or even possible for people just to pop out for their essentials. There are three ways a scheme might provide an assisted shopping service. It may be an escorted one-to-one trip with a volunteer, a volunteer doing the shopping for someone, or a group trip, possibly in a minibus or community transport. There might also be additional services for Christmas shopping!
Many schemes are dementia friendly and provide specific services to meet our members’ needs.