Let’s invite the younger generation into our residential care homes

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This year’s Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day is on Thursday 24 April but any time can be a good time to encourage the generations to get together and discover something new.

Our aim is to enrich the lives of older people who can no longer live independently by helping them to engage with their local community. While they may be content in their care home we don’t want them to feel isolated from their wider neighbourhood so we’re encouraging families to reach out and make new friends.

So if you work in a residential care home and have a teenager why not ask them to join you at work on 24 April? We’d love to hear their story, and yours, so why not tell us about the experience?

Debbie Tanner, our Development Officer, worked as a care professional for many years and was delighted when she saw how her young daughter, Amy, responded to the older people that she met and how, many years on, that talent has blossomed:

When I started working day shifts at the care home my husband would sometimes bring Amy in after school and she would wander round talking to the residents who were delighted to see her happy young face. They loved chatting with her and she was just as pleased to talk to them so her visits became a regular fixture.

She befriended one lady in particular who had no family and Amy would perch herself on a footstool and natter away for hours. Their friendship continued for 7 years and when the lady passed away Amy learned a hard lesson of life, the sadder side of caring and having to say goodbye.

I took a break in my professional career when my mother-in-law developed dementia but when I later returned to work in a day centre Amy, now at senior school, once again began befriending residents and when she left school, started working there at weekends. She left the area when she met her husband but when she returned she took a post at the day centre as she just couldn’t stay away from caring!

Amy has a gift for connecting with people and I’m so pleased that she chose to volunteer with the My Home Life Essex Community Association. She’s helped in a number of ways as she always willing to turn her hand to something new but she’s surpassed herself as a Community Visitor on our pilot project in Colchester. With her worthy colleagues she has shown what can be achieved by offering a few hours a week of dedicated support to a care home and its residents.

Let’s leave the last word to Amy:

I suppose you could say that I found my feet because of Mum’s career. It’s never felt an effort and I’ve made so many friends along the way. Being a Community Visitor is so rewarding and I was overwhelmed to receive a Gold Award recently for what was described as my ‘pioneer’ work on the pilot project.

If you’ve had a notion to take up volunteering I’d urge you to think about the My Home Life Essex Community Association. Give my Mum a call on 0845 017 1095 or email her, as I know she’d love to have a chat with you.