01 October 2019
When the ageing population is talked about, it’s often in negative terms. Headlines about failing health, problems finding elderly care, financial struggles, social isolation and examples of ageism are easy to find. The positive stories are often lost in this tide of negativity, but as we mark the International Day of Older Persons, let’s reflect on how important our older citizens are to the fabric of our communities and society.
Older people, with their wisdom and life experience, are the most amazing companions to have in your life, as our live-in carers who provide our companionship service know first-hand. Whilst we support people of many different ages, the majority of our clients are older people, and when it comes to companionship many of our elderly clients have sought this service to stave off loneliness in the company of a highly-skilled professional who can provide the extra support around their home, perhaps with cooking, cleaning or shopping, that ensures they can continue to live independently.
When we plan companionship support with our clients it isn’t just about meeting their needs, important though that is. It’s about really getting to know that individual, who they are and their life story – tapping into all that wisdom and experience from the outset. It is a privilege to share someone’s home and to be surrounded by their memories of family events, adventures travelling, education or work-related achievements, and hobbies or interests that have characterised their life – a person’s home often tells their story far more beautifully than paperwork ever could.
Supporting an older person to go out into their community, perhaps to meet with their peers or just to watch the world go by over a coffee in a cafe, can be an enlightening experience that shows just how older people enrich the lives of others. From children who strike up a conversation, perhaps because an older person smiles kindly at them or reminds them of their Granny or Grandpa, through to an older person talking with their peers about times many younger people only know from the history books.
Older people provide that living, breathing encyclopedia of days gone by – reminiscing about the simplicity of life when they were young, the different customs, foods or modes of transport, through to insights into today’s world that many younger people who know no different simply haven’t considered. It’s a perspective to learn from and to celebrate, remembering that one day we may all hope to live to an age where we are that same historical human encyclopedia.
Supporting older people to flourish, to be the maximum that they can be and to enjoy their lives is what we specialise in. We believe that our older citizens are to be cherished, and through providing tailored, individual live-in care we aim to help each of our clients to maximise their choice and control and continue to enjoy living in their own home, within their familiar community, free from worries about how they will cope or the feeling of loneliness that an older person who lives on their own may experience.
For us, the International Day of Older Persons is a great chance to celebrate all older people and particularly to reflect on the relationships that we have with the older people that we support, the things we have learnt from them and the joy that they bring to the lives of our live-in carers. As a society we would be nothing without our older generations, and it is a privilege to provide the home care for many older people in the UK who, whilst they need extra support from the younger generation, have so much to teach us and share with us too.
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