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    no-one should be lonely in our friendly town
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    no-one should be lonely in our friendly town
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    no-one should be lonely in our friendly town
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    no-one should be lonely in our friendly town
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    no-one should be lonely in our friendly town
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    no-one should be lonely in our friendly town

Thrown a starfish lately?

Thrown a star fish lately?  

“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, "It makes a difference for this one." I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.” ― Loren Eiseley

The work of Hope Trust is immense, there are a lot of older people we could help, but they don’t know who we are, and we don’t know who they are – yet.  Our work is regular, steady, ever searching to find that one older person who not only needs us but is also now ready for us to lend them a helping hand.  Whether that work is in the community or in the Residential Homes, we work slowly, methodically, trying to help as many as we can.  Of course the work is immense, but when you see people in residential homes who have previously been ‘asleep’ suddenly engaging in singing a hymn or reciting the Lord’s Prayer, you know that the work of the Song Birds and other volunteers is really, really worthwhile.  Or when a call from someone struggling with their loss allows us to speak comfort and bring hope, you know that the work we do around the issue of Bereavement is essential.  The laughter that rings out in the OFCA Coffee Lounge on a Thursday morning also demonstrates that a work can build, over time, one person at a time.  Hope Trust is here to help, question is, will you let us?

All that separates the young and old is time!

All that separates the young and the old is time!

 ‘So Ray, what do you think of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender issue?’ That is how a recent session of ‘ask an older person any question you like’ began!  On July 1st hope trust was invited, along with other organisations, to take part in the Academy’s ‘Global Village Conference’ and our task was to give the Year 10 students an insight into what being older was all about.  So we talked about the positive impact of older people to the nation’s economy (£40bn in 2010, expected to rise to £80bn in 2030 – UCL figures) of how young and old share common issues, such as limited transport, fixed incomes and society not giving either group the respect or value they deserve. 

We used props to mimic physical and visual challenges, the idea being to help younger people understand what might be happening and be patient. Taking 13p out of a purse whilst either using crutches to keep yourself upright or wearing thin gloves to replicate loss of feeling in your fingers, both absorbed and intrigued them.  Donning glasses that mimic Glaucoma, Tunnel Vision and Macular Degeneration were more sobering realities.  There is no doubt that the highlight was Ray and Betty, 2 older people who’ve lived interesting, varied, fascinating lives and in their mid 80’s were willing to give 7 hours to help a new generation learn.  Feedback for the day was ‘old people are cute!’

This is another example of the varied ways hope trust seeks to help older people in the town.  So whether we are running another ‘Afternoon Tea’ at OFCA (22nd August & 12th September between 3-5pm) or hosting our next Bereavement Support Group (which starts 7th September with a chance to find out more over coffee at 10.45am on Saturday 22nd August here at Maidstone Hall) running our popular Men’s event or helping someone learn how to cook simple meals, hope trust is here to make a difference to as many older people as need us.

Lonely, Who Me?

Lonely, who me?

A recent document in the office in-box created some conversation between us.  The document, ‘Loneliness, and how to measure it’, was the outcome of many hours, weeks, months and even years of university research, as well as the hard work of at least 4 different organisations! 

It shared the following ‘It may surprise you to learn that there is no agreed definition of “loneliness” in research.  One explanation is that it is a painful feeling that occurs when there is a gap, or a mismatch, between the number and quality of social relationships and connections that we have, and those we would like. Others suggest that there are two dimensions to loneliness: social and emotional. Social loneliness occurs when someone is missing a wider social network and emotional loneliness is caused when you miss an “intimate relationship”.  Loneliness is a fluid experience: it can come and go over a short time, or persist in the longer term. Research found that over 8 years, 7% of older people in England said they were always lonely, 10% of people moved out of loneliness, 9% moved into loneliness and 9% fluctuated in and out of loneliness.  Loneliness is also a common emotion and it is likely that, at some point in our lives and whatever our age, we will experience it. Studies estimating the levels of loneliness in Great Britain show that 5 – 16% of people aged 65 or over report feeling lonely all or most of the time and up to a further 30% say they feel lonely “sometimes”. As our population ages, there may be an increase in the real numbers of older people experiencing loneliness.’ (Source the Campaign to End Loneliness)

So, we now have access to 4 different measuring tools that will prove what we already know - people can, and do, experience loneliness!  So, will it help us in our work?  Possibly, we could use one or more of the tools to put a ‘number’ against loneliness or we can simply offer more opportunities for people to mix with others, chat, laugh, drink tea/coffee and feel connected once again, if only for a few minutes. With that in mind, our next Weekend Afternoon Tea Party happens Saturday 18th July, at OFCA between 2-4pm and the next one is 22nd August, also at OFCA.