Who We Are
BAB is a partnership of individuals and organisations working together to reduce isolation and loneliness among older people in Bristol.
This project was run by Alive.
Alive is the UK’s leading charity enriching the lives of older people in care and training their carers.
Alive worked in four care homes across Bristol, using an asset based approach to improve the lives of residents and to create a community around the care home.
The Communities of Interest in Care Homes project worked in the following ways:
• Empowering: working with residents to learn about the activities they enjoy, and how they would like to engage with their local community. Activity sessions with community groups will then be designed around the interests of the residents, as well as the assets and strengths of the care home staff.
• Building links: Steering groups made up of residents and care home staff, will help care homes to plan activities collaboratively. Through building lasting relationships with community groups, older people in care will feel more connected to, and better able to contribute to community life.
• Support & partnership: Providing coaching programs to care home staff to help embed steering groups, activities and community links that will be sustainable in the long term.
• Evidence-based: Providing care homes with information on the measurable difference that the steering group, community activities and staff coaching has had on life at the care home.
The project will empower older people to choose the forms of engagement they want as well as shape the project's development over the course of the next two years. Through facilitating steering group meetings, Alive have asked residents what activities they would like to do and how they would like to be more involved in their local community. Alive are now into the second year of the project, where they are organising trips and activities, and coaching staff to make their own community connections.
Community development is increasingly recognised by the care sector and social care commissioners as vital in tackling issues of social isolation in our older populations living in care homes. This project will connect care homes to groups in their local community, such as schools, colleges, local charities, clubs or creative, and outdoor groups so that older people can take part in fun, meaningful and dynamic activities. Alive will build on the existing strengths of the care homes and their communities to develop relationships that will endure, and become self-sustaining after the completion of the project.
When considering what kinds of community development projects to commission, BAB was keen to consider geographical areas as well as specific communities of interest. During the review of community development, everyone we spoke to noted the prevalence of isolation and loneliness for care home residents.
BAB commissioned a care homes project to explore the idea of developing a community around a care home. A project that would not only involve older residents, but staff, family and the people living nearby.
In February 2019 Alive showcased their learning at a celebration event. Their presentation can be found here.
Project Care home residents were central to shaping activity plans in this project. By providing training to care home staff on co-production, staff have felt confident to continue this way of working. This project successfully built links between care homes and the local community, forging new relationships with community groups and building confidence in care home staff to explore external activities for residents. The training that was developed through this project was incorporated into future projects run by Alive. This included developing asset-based, co-produced activities with older people, managing care home volunteers and community engagement for care home staff. Alive will continue to work with the partner care homes in future projects.
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