We are exploring how volunteers can work within care homes to enhance the lives of the residents.
We work alongside the staff team, and make sure that the residents and their families guide all our decisions.
Friends of Care Homes is an Attend initiative. Attend is a membership organisation supporting voluntary groups across the UK. We have been involved with care homes for many years. Within our existing membership we have seven groups who are Friends of care homes in their local communities, the earliest being established in 1968.
Our research tells us that this is going to be an area of increasing need as our ageing population increases, and we therefore felt it was an area where we should be working at the front line.
We are currently working in 15 locations, as diverse as central London, rural Braintree, and York.
Each Friends group is there to add value to the quality of lives of the residents in each care home and support them to have more choice over their day-to-day lives.
We do this initially by developing befriending services on the site. We have already 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, such as bingo and singing.
In each home we seek to match the interests of the community and the residents to develop local projects. This has included pamper sessions, photography, and a pop up tea shop, serving traditional teas to the residents.
From these early adopter sites we are joining up the thinking for how a Friends group can best support the residents in care homes. We then plan to expand the project by replicating the model in many of the 25,000 care homes across the country.