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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

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.


Still Learning, after all these years?

Still learning, after all these years?

Mention that ‘something has to be learnt’ and for some people their eyes will light up as their thirst for knowledge is awakened.  For others, their hearts sink because they know learning is hard or they simply switch off straight away and refuse to engage at all.  All of this and more is evident in a Maths GCSE evening class - groans, eyes rolling and an audible switching off is not unusual when the tutor mentions Algebra or Quadratic Equations!

Yet all through life we keep on learning - most people know how to use a computer or tablet, the TV remote, a mobile phone, or internet banking, all are modern skills we have learnt, the question is why and how?  Why did we want to learn about this stuff, and how did we learn - trial and error, advice from friends and family?

You never stop learning, no matter what your age – you may choose what and how much you learn, but you still keep on learning nonetheless.  That’s why, here at hope trust, we are offering a simple cookery class for people who find themselves in a situation whereby they now need to learn how to cook.  The loss of an elderly parent or partner can trigger this situation, someone who did the bulk of the cooking has now gone and the person left behind either has to content themselves with ready meals, visiting cafes or having a go themselves.

That’s where we think we can help, using our recently upgraded kitchen we are happy to offer a couple of short, simple cooking lessons for any older person who might like to learn how to make cottage pie, Caribbean chicken, lasagna or even a roast, just give us a call to find out more.

We are also planning, during the summer, to offer people a chance to come in, enjoy time with others whilst indulging in sandwiches and cakes. The second of these will be Sunday 14th June between 3pm and 5pm and we will host this at Maidstone Hall.  As a charity dedicated to the relief of loneliness we know that, for some, the weekend can be the hardest time as it can appear everyone else has got family and friends to socialise with.  We hope you will feel free to join us.