We have seen first hand how our day centres can dramatically change older people's lives for the better.
Our resources have remained under huge pressure. Less disposable income, the rising cost of living and changes to welfare benefits have created a huge impact on older vulnerable people.
For Len, attending the day centre is the only time he leaves his home. He lives on his own in a rural cottage. His wife died over 12 years ago and he has no other family. He really looks forward to the company at the day centre once a week - even seeing our bus arrive to pick him up lifts his spirits and he enjoys the banter with the driver!
These weekly trips also allow Len to get his groceries for the week and other bits and pieces he needs at the pharmacy or post office. Len has no one else to turn to. His visits to the Day Centre stop him feeling so lonely and help him feel part of the community again... if only for one day.
One year Len was snowed in during the spring blizzard. Luckily we were there to help. We were able to deliver warm meals to him. We were able to make sure he had blankets and coal as we knew he had run out of oil. Most importantly we were able to give him comfort and assurance that someone was there for him and that he was not forgotten.
Gillian Thompson is Age NI's day care manager at Anna House in Dunmurry. She tells us one of the reasons she works for Age NI is because she had a good relationship with her grandparents. After leaving school Gillian decided she wanted to improve the quality of life of older people and became a care assistant. Gillian says that working in day centres over this last decade has shown her that maintaining independence is vital.
Our Day Centres can be a lifeline to older people. Some people come for the social aspect and activities. Some come for a break from caring responsibilities at home. Some are dealing with relationship breakdowns or bereavement. They are invaluable, fun places where older people leave their troubles at the door and enjoy each other’s company over a hot meal.’
As part of the UTV / ITV Text Santa 2012 appeal, our Day Centre in Belfast received a special feature on UTV Live. This video shows older people from our Age NI Day Centre in Belfast enjoying a Dinner Dance.
Video length 2 minutes 49 seconds. Source: UTV Live 21/12/2012
If you cannot see the video above, you will need the flash player to view this film: Download the Adobe player