Can your church adopt a care home? How elderly people are gaining friends via this Christian charity

Aug 8, 2017 by

by Tina English, Christian Today:

A colourful lady in her 80s who loves nature and cycling, Margaret has dementia. She lives in a care home and spends most days either alone in her room, or pacing the corridors with her zimmer frame. She never married and has no family or friends who visit. She is confused about why she is living there, so feels trapped and often shouts at the care home staff, which adds to her sense of isolation and loneliness. Beneath her stern frown is a bewildered lady seeking reassurance and connection.

Margaret is one of 405,000 older people living in care homes across the UK, and research suggests that they are twice as likely to feel severely lonely as older people living at home. One resident described it as ‘being alone in a crowd’. They are some of the oldest and frailest members of society, and an estimated 80 per cent have dementia or significant memory loss.

I believe they are close to God’s heart. When God sees Margaret, he sees beyond her dementia, and confusion. He sees his precious daughter who he loves dearly. Motivated by God’s love for the frail elderly, and determined to see change for Margaret and others like her, I set up Care Home Friends in 2015. I train volunteers to spend time and build friendships with care home residents, to bring colour into what can be a monochrome existence.

Care home residents are some of the oldest and frailest members of our society, yet often they get forgotten about. There seems to be a general belief that because they are now living in a care environment, that all their needs for social interaction are being met. This is not the case.

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