In this article for Care Talk magazine, our Executive Director, Vic Rayner highlights how to get involved in Care Home Open Day 2017!
It is nearly that time of year again, when Care Homes across the country open their doors to the local community – encouraging existing friends and relatives to join them in celebrations – and enticing new faces over the threshold.
This will be the fifth successive year of care home open day and this year the theme of the open day is Friendship. We know how important friendship is for us all, and for many, coming to live in a care home can be the rekindling of old friendships or the forging of new ones through shared interest and history. In an environment where we are constantly being reminded of how many older people experience profound loneliness and isolation, the chance to show how care homes facilitate and encourage friendship is critical.
It is interesting how new technology can also play a part in bridging and sustaining friendships, and it is of note that some of the earliest and some of the most successful social media applications have focussed on friendships – including the joys of Friends Reunited – connecting you with school friends from yesteryear – and the wonders of Facebook – keeping us in touch with family and friends from across the globe. I am really delighted to see that many of our members are now using these mediums to connect up with their friends and supporters. The association of these platforms with friendship and connection provides an excellent mechanism with which to create a positive two-way narrative with which to connect with their local community, relatives and carers.
In addition, technology is playing an increasing part in learning about residents through capturing life history and care planning, with the explicit aim of highlighting shared opportunities for interest and activity. I have seen a wide range of tablet and phone based tech in action within homes which allows residents to take control of their own data and information, enabling them to express their likes and interests and reach out to others both within the home and outside. Use of this person centred approach is enabling wheels of friendship to develop, with the individual at the hub.
So, as we move towards the 16th June 2017, and the opportunity once again to showcase the thriving and positive environment that exists within care homes, it is worth thinking about how the engagement of an open day can be transferred into friendships across the year, and through technology, across the globe.