The Friends of Aston House support the work of the home. Situated within a residential area of Middlesex, Aston House is a purpose built 48 bedded care home offering Dementia, Nursing, Respite and End of Life care. The home also provides specialist care for young people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties.
The Friends aim to improve the quality of life of the residents of the care home by working with staff, residents and relatives.
The Friends of Aston House are looking to develop services on the site. We have found that this is particularly valued by some residents who through deteriorating health do not have the confidence to come out of their rooms. Alongside this we support the care homes’ activities’ coordinators by providing extra pairs of hands during organised activity sessions and outings.
Connecting Communities - Aston House
On 13th February 2019, Friends of Aston House Care Home received a grant from Awards for All to launch their Connecting Communities project.
The project was born following a series of consultations with family members and carers of the care home residents, and the residents themselves who indicated a strong need for introducing a service that focused on their wellbeing and their relationships with the local community, so the project creates a platform for residents to have more social interactions and activities.
We will train volunteers to provide companionship and emotional support as well as 1:1 relationships with elderly residents who can often fell overlooked by society. We believe that introducing the Connecting Communities project at Aston House will not only build a stronger local community, but will also benefit the residents who have requested more activities.
Local residents will play a key role in the establishment of the project. Providing this opportunity for people to make a difference to their elderly neighbours can break down islands within the local community. Local residents will be given the chance to connect and spend time with older residents. The initiative will strengthen the community as local volunteers learn from and engage with the older generation in a humbling experience. This project is a chance to learn that care homes are not places to be afraid of or to avoid. For the residents, it is a chance to see new faces, discover different interests and stories and, as a result, make each day different. Fostering social interaction and commitment to looking after each other is a vital step in growing healthy and strong communities.
Garden Project - Aston House
On Monday 10th December 2018, David and Nichole from the Friends group visited Aston House Care Home for the opening ceremony of the indoor garden project that was recently funded by the Friends of Aston House.
Residents and visitors can relax at the bright, green sensory space whenever they feel they need a quiet space to rest or to spend some quality time with family members or even for activities.
The process of the project first started off in simple terms, with empty boxes containing pictures of green leaves to reflect the look of a garden, but which then turned into large green faux leaves to produce a more realistic and visually pleasing indoor garden for Aston House.
The Care Home staff and residents really appreciate the help and funding of the Friends group and are delighted with the results that unfolded in front of them.
Christmas festivities - Aston House
This season, Friends of Aston House are making sure that no one is left out of the Christmas festivities. To make the season a little warmer for the residents at Aston House we delivered 12 bottles of prosecco for them enjoy. We wish all the residents and staff a very Merry Christmas from the Friends of Aston House team.
Jessica Jaison - Case Study
Jessica is a 17 year old A-level student currently studying Biology, Chemistry and History at Henrietta Barnett Sixth Form. In her spare time she likes socialising with people and reading. She made the time to help those staying at the Aston House Care Home due to her increased free periods during A-levels.
Jessica originally decided to volunteer as she wanted to get some experience working with the elderly. She had previously done some volunteering in primary school and “wanted to get experience from the other end of the age spectrum”.
During Jessica’s time at the care home, she occasionally paints the residents’ nails, reads them newspaper articles and plays cards with them. These activities have allowed her to form connections with the residents as she usually interacts with the same people.
Jessica says that she loves working with everyone at the care home, although “it was slightly nerve-racking at first”, she had an easy transition as the staff members did not leave her alone with the residents for the first few days. Her colleagues gave her enough time to adapt to the environment and her role until she was confident enough to be completely independent with her work.
As a result of the volunteering, Jessica has gained a few skills that she did not know she had prior to this role. One of them being practising patience with the residents by trying to understand the situation that they are in. Through spending time with the residents, she has learned that it can be a bit difficult to talk to or to understand what they are trying to say at times and so, patience is essential when undertaking this particular role.
Jessica explains that the two qualities or skills that should be carried by anyone who wishes to help residents at care homes is being both understanding and empathetic, this is especially important when working with those who suffer from dementia or any sort of memory impairment.
Through this volunteering experience, the biggest take away that Jessica is gaining from volunteering is the realisation that, “there are people out there who do not have the same mental capacity or do not understand the world the way you do”. Her time spent at this care home has definitely inspired her plans for the future, “I definitely want a job working with people now”.
Jessica’s advice to those who are considering volunteering would be to, “just go for it because it is a good experience to have and gives you skills that you did not realise you needed beforehand”.
NCS Winter Tidy Up November 2016
On Saturday 19th November we had the NCS group return to Aston House for a winter tidy up.
Leaves were cleared away, hedges trimmed, and fences coated. The aim was to make everything tidy for the winter and the group also spent time planting 200 bulbs ready for next spring.
The group brought in Christmas boxes they had made for the residents and also a record player they had brought so the residents could make use of the homes record collection.
Some of the young people had brought in homemade cakes to share as they wanted to spent time with the residents having afternoon tea and chatting
National Citizenship Service comes to Aston House October 2016
On 26th and 27th October a group of 12 young people visited Aston House as part of their NCS contribution.
The first day time began with a session on getting to know the home and David Wood ran a short session on dementia awareness. The group then met and spent time with the residents in some of the lounges.
One the second day the group returned much to the delight of the residents. The group brought musical instruments and performed and chatted with residents. It was good to see the young people interacting with residents and both the young people and the residents thoroughly enjoyed the Halloween party.
They group are going to work on Christmas care packages for residents and will bring them back in November when they come to do a painting and gardening project at the home.
Visit of Duke of York
On Tuesday 11th October 2016, the Duke of York visited Attends offices to be updated on our work.
As part of his role, he is patron of each of the friends groups in care homes.
Pictured here, he is talking to Nichole, project manager, and Kahlil who is newly appointed to the team. He was delighted to hear of the progress to date.
Friends of Aston House speak at Hayes End Methodist Church AGM
David Wood the Chairman of the Friends attended the AGM of Hayes End Methodist Church on Sunday 26th June 2016.
The church are always looking for new way to be a good neighbour to people in need and has invited the Friends to talk about the work they are doing and consider how the church could be more involved at Aston House.
The attendees then had a group discussion to discuss their response to this. The following points were made:
- Should examine positively how we can engage with the home
- Volunteer group to visit home
- Hold regular events e.g. coffee mornings
- After Church visit
- Hold Church service at home
- Take nativity/play to the home
- Monthly communion service
The Friends are looking forward to working more closely with the church to develop their contribution at the home
National Citizenship Service comes to Aston House August 2016
On Monday 24th August 12 young people who are part of the National Citizenship Service visited the home.
The group had already done some fundraising and bought painting equipment and paint with them. The plan for the day was to tidy up the gardens and car park and paint the fences and garden benches.
On the day the young people split into groups, some to focus on the back garden area and the others to work in the car park and at the front of the home. One particularly laborious job was stripping the ivy from the fence in the car park but the groups persevered in the heat.
There was lots of tidying up and painting to be done and the home provided plenty of ice cold drinks on what was one of the hottest days of the year. The Friends provided additional paint and gardening equipment.
Everyone met in the garden for lunch. The home provided a delicious spread with, pizza, chips, sandwiches and other nibbles and then cornetto’s to finish
After lunch the team got back to work finishing off the painting and tidying up.
It was great to see the difference the efforts of everyone had made. The garden was tidier and the newly painted fences and benches really looked fresh and clean.
We were pleased to hear that the group thought the home was a lovely environment and had enjoyed their day with us as we really enjoyed having them.
After spending every weekend with her grandmother, she decided upon finding a volunteering role in a care home near her residence. Maisha discussed how much she looked forward to her grandmother’s stories about the past or simply playing card games outside on the warm, summer nights. Her grandmother had a strong influence on her going into the volunteering sector, but also going into the social work field at University.
She plans to study Psychology at University next autumn, but is currently now finishing her gap year that she took after secondary school. During her A-Levels, Maisha researched and completed a project on the placebo effect, relating it to Psychological disorders, including Depression and Dementia.
Maisha volunteers at Aston House every week because she wanted to volunteer at a care home that specialised in Dementia. The care home is about an hour away from her house and it requires her to take two buses to get there, but she said “there is not a single day I regret making this journey.” It has been easy for her to build and form relationships with the residents, after helping and caring for her grandmother who has battled depression for many years now. There are differences between the two illnesses of depression and dementia, but there are many similarities as well.
Even though she has had experience with caring for the elderly, her time at Aston House Care Home has been different in many ways. The biggest benefit she says is the feeling of love she gets when she sees her resident’s smile after they have just had an hours long conversation about each other’s past time, but the worst part about it all is when she returns the following week and the resident does not remember that conversation. Her passion and drive to improve the lives of the residents has grown since she started volunteering, which is why she loves organising different activities each day.
In the beginning, forming the relationships was easy, but keeping the residents attention can be challenging. Also, finding new activities that they would all enjoy each week has been tough, but as she got to know the residents better and learned what they enjoyed this became easier, while also communicating constantly with the Activity Coordinator at Aston House.
After all that her grandmother did for her, she wants to give other grandmothers and grandfathers the same care and love. This is so valuable to their health and well-being on a daily basis. This volunteer work helped her in her psychology classes and while taking part in various clubs and activities throughout the year. She was moved and devoted to branching out of her comfort zone and meeting and interacting with new people and now has experience when it comes to finishing her degree and possibly moving into a field that will involve psychology and social care for either the elderly or children.
We know your time is valuable and any time you can spare for us will make a big difference. You could volunteer at a one off event or regularly, it is entirely up to you.
If you don’t see a volunteering opportunity to suit you then please get in touch because we could develop an opportunity just for you. If you would like to volunteer please download the application form and return by email to firstname.lastname@example.org