Occasional News.

Photos of volunteers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 23 November 2020 Careplus were delighted to have a zoom meeting with Bromley’s Mayor, Hannah Gray. Amita (top left) and Jeannette (bottom right), on behalf of all our wonderful volunteers, received Mayor Gray’s official thanks for their vital support of the borough’s older people during the pandemic. Moira (Chairman of the trustees, bottom left)) and Miranda (Coordinator of Volunteers) were also there.

 

Letter from Sir Kenneth Olisa - 31 July 2020

    

May 2019

Our ‘clients’

There are some very special relationships between the older people that we help and the volunteers who get alongside them. The 98 year old lady below looks forward immensely to the company of her regular volunteer on the right, and when that volunteer goes on holiday, we also provide a substitute to spend a few hours a week chatting, sitting together or going out for a coffee.

                                         

The next photos show one of our coffee mornings for clients. The 82 year old lady on the left relies on Careplus for lifts to the hospital.  She is in severe pain much of the time and finds our lifts far more manageable than hospital transport, which usually involves a lot of waiting around.

     

ShoesThis pair of shoes illustrates the range of small practical tasks done by our volunteers, which mean so much to our clients. An 87 year old diabetic client with very swollen feet needed a pair of comfy, soft, adjustable shoes or slippers to wear to our annual Tea party (among other things). Our volunteer helped find them online and will also provide a lift to the Tea, of course.

 

Gentle Exercise classes

Our 3 classes have had very enjoyable spring terms.  In the West Bromley class, the average age of participants is 83, and all except one have ranked it ‘5 out of 5’ for suitability for their physical condition (one lady gave it 4 out of 5). 

Feedback includes: ‘The pain in my lower back and right shoulder from a fall 3 or 4 years ago has gone … People say I’m walking more upright … I can now get out of an armchair without using the arms.’

     

 

Volunteers

We have some amazing volunteers, including Jane who’s just received an award from Community Links Bromley* for ‘Outstanding Commitment.’ Her profile reads: ‘Jane has done training in Adult Safeguarding levels 1 and 2, dementia awareness and first aid.  She drives many miles to get clients to appointments with their dentist, GP and/or several local hospitals. Jane also manages trips to other clinics, the Blind Club, the post office and bank. This is all done in a professional manner, calmly, wisely, humbly and lovingly.’  

 

Volunteers’ training

Our volunteers have several training opportunities available to them:

●       Free local classes on weekdays at Community Links

●       Free online training provided for residents by Bromley borough (MeLearning).

●        For the first time, group training in Safeguarding, now available at weekends for volunteers who work on weekdays.

 

Finally … experts agree that charities like Careplus play an important role 

A report on the relational and economic impact of visiting and befriending, prepared for the St Vincent de Paul Society by Oxera Consulting LLP in 2015, found marked benefits to individuals who are visited or befriended, as well as economic impacts:

●       improved quality of life for the recipients of the visiting or befriending

●       reduced costs to the NHS

●       reduced costs of social security in the long term

They also reported benefits accruing to the volunteers themselves!

Prepared by Miranda Suit, Coordinator of Volunteers. 

https://www.communitylinksbromley.org.uk/

 

April 2021.. Our Phone, Chat and Shop work continues …


During the pandemic our volunteers have become more important than ever to some of the older people that we help. The recommended solution for the elderly is that their families, friends and neighbours become more involved in looking after them. This happened in Bromley, plus many new NHS and Council volunteers also came forward. But they have not been able to help everyone. So we have had many extra referrals from Age UK, social services, local hospitals (especially when older people are discharged) and other charities; also direct contact from concerned families. Meanwhile about 15 of our own volunteers had to step back as they themselves were shielding.
Before Covid 19 our volunteers assisted with one or more of the following: shopping, befriending in person, lifts to medical appointments, outings, simple paperwork, garden-tidying. However currently, for safety reasons, they are restricted to doing regular weekly or fortnightly shops, and/or staying in touch by phone with clients.
Our shopping has been especially helpful as nearly all our clients, average age 90, have no internet access for shopping online. Telephone contact has also been unexpectedly successful, combating isolation and loneliness and benefiting mental health as it enables caring human interaction.
Currently 28 volunteers are helping 50 older people, managed by the Co-ordinator of Volunteers. Over February and March they put in a total of about 400 hours, keen to support our clients during this difficult period.
Also the sharing of congratulations as clients celebrate birthdays, in this case with a 100th birthday card from the Queen!

100th birthday congratulations from the Queen

  • Shop: Deliveries of food have been a real lifeline. Some shopping lists are straightforward but others can be very complicated! Before lockdown a volunteer requested help to research all the different types of M&S apple desserts (pies, tarts, puddings, flans, puff pastry, shortcrust pastry, lattice design …) in order to find exactly the one that his client had bought while still strong enough to go to the shops himself.

Deliveries

  • Our volunteers:
    We have some amazing volunteers, including Jane, who in 2019 received an award from Community Links Bromley for ‘Outstanding Commitment.’ Her profile read: ‘Jane has done training in Adult Safeguarding levels 1 and 2, dementia awareness

  • Phone:
    Not only have there been phone conversations ranging from simple chats about the weather to the more complicated pros and cons of alternative medicine, but in some cases volunteers have also given vital practical support. One gentleman of 93 caught C19 and was moved into hospital, where he recovered, and then into a care home temporarily. However when the Council invoiced him for his stay they seriously overcharged him, causing a great deal of anxiety. It was our volunteer who eventually sorted it out with the Council.

Phone

  • Chat:
    As well as chats on the phone, there have been short, but much-awaited exchanges on doorsteps, from a distance, as shopping is dropped off.
    Also the sharing of congratulations as clients celebrate birthdays, in this case with a 100th birthday card from the Queen!

Chat

  • and first aid: She gives many hours every week to support her clients, and always in a professional manner, calmly, wisely, humbly and lovingly.’
    Of course C19 has impacted Jane’s volunteering, but together with all our volunteers, she continues to do as much as possible under current conditions.

Our Co-ordinator of Volunteers

Our Co-ordinator of Volunteers

  • Our Co-ordinator of Volunteers:
    Miranda (shown above with a client in 2019) has the privilege of getting to know all the clients and volunteers. Asked what she has learnt from the pandemic, she replies: “We need to enable more of our clients to get online! We are currently researching how to do this, but one client has already shown the benefits:
    Mrs B is a widow in her 80s, with no children or other family, who lives alone. She suffers from arthritis and had a replacement knee operation in 2017. Our volunteer has befriended her for several years, supporting her with medical appointments, shopping and more. It is a very positive relationship. In 2019 our volunteer helped Mrs B to choose a PC and then learn how to use it - so much so that during lockdown this lady has been able to window-shop online and maintain contact with people. I’d like to see more clients enjoying these advantages!’

 

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