Services and Activity Programmes
Third Age Project runs several programmes and projects aimed at improving the quality of lives for the elderly. Some of our major programmes are described below.
As part of the Outreach Programme, we reach out to the most acutely isolated and lonely elderly residents. In recent years, we have gone out and developed new relationships and recruited sessional outreach staff and volunteers that made contact with local businesses including a launderette, post office, bakery & café and several supermarkets who promoted our activities by giving out our monthly newsletter and in making referrals to us. We linked isolated older people to relevant local services that focus on reducing loneliness and isolation and improving general health and wellbeing.
Every Monday the outreach worker kept in touch by phone with a growing list of new isolated older residents that were often followed up with a home visit. Those phoned were informed of forthcoming activities and events and, if needed, transport and/or a volunteer escort was organised. Many were signposted to agencies so they could access specialist support. Others with poor mobility were signed up for the various accessible transport schemes available to them such as Dial-a-Ride, Taxi Card and Plus Bus.
Older people can feel lonely even when living within an extended family. Our local campaign work increased general awareness of loneliness as an important social issue, especially to local businesses as well as to local residents and our users.
Befriending and Buddying Schemes
We run a range of buddying schemes to ensure that nobody is ever left on their own and to help new users get to know everybody and to find out their interests and concerns. Our staff and volunteers are trained to be good listeners!
We recruited and trained volunteers to meet and greet users especially those coming to the centre for the first time. We also recruited a range of different types of buddies (digital, walking and centre- based) to support the range of new services we were delivering during the Covid- 19 pandemic. We facilitated and encouraged those socially isolated to be linked up to a neighbour or usually another TAP member who could act as a buddy via the phone, internet or over the doorstep.
We run a Wellbeing Café with complimentary refreshments on Monday mornings to start the week right that is also open to older people and their families interested in what we do and as a way of providing a warm welcome to those being referred to us from a wide variety of referring bodies. Support staff and volunteer Welcome Hosts explain our work and principles, show short video clips on a large screen and all the exciting range of forthcoming courses, social activities and projects.
On Tuesdays we run a highly popular supported chair-based exercise class, providing escorts for the housebound to and from the sessions usually followed by a luncheon club providing a low-cost lunch. The group exercise aids everyone, regardless of their ability/level/age, as the exercises can be done seated or standing, with or without chair support. It helps to maintain and improve emotional and psychological health, motor fitness, assists with maintaining and improving cognitive and coordination skills/ability and supports general wellbeing.
Signposting & Advocacy
Our signposting and advocacy services are key activities for us as many of our users and local older people experience a wide range of barriers in accessing mainstream and alternative services and facilities (such as ill health, language, culture, poverty). Advocacy raises consciousness and plays an important role in increasing older people’s level of awareness of the resources available to them, community support, and the opportunities they have to help themselves.
We would with a large number of other organisations either directly and or through local networks. During the Covid-19 pandemic it has been crucial to maintain and regularly update contact details as many services went wholly online or are phone based.
Healthy and Wellbeing Community Learning
Developing a new approach - Blended Learning
Blended Learning is a type of learning that allows learners to utilise the ability to learn both face-to- face and online through digital platforms. Developing such a new approach enabled us and our partners to continue to deliver a range of healthy living classes during a time of uncertainty, lockdowns and a Covid-19 Pandemic.
The first pilot took place during 2020 when lockdown restrictions were temporarily relaxed and we could consider having face to face groups inside the centre. There was some initial resistance to taking part from both our users and from teaching staff who preferred to continue to work from home. Many users were still struggling to learn basic digital skills in order to get online. However, it was important that we used a brief window of opportunity that proved highly useful as it enabled us to broadcast events and sessions from the centre itself (whilst it remained closed to service users) and were well placed when eventually were able to re-open in May 2021. It was generally felt we had all only limited knowledge and understanding but by taking the plunge and putting our collective heads together we were able to move forward! We soon became regarded as being the experts by our partners and other projects even though it was all learnt on the hoof!
We have now rolled out the blended learning approach across a majority of our sessional activities in conjunction with our educational and learning partners. WE have developed and produced new good practice that has been widely disseminated. It has enable us to continue to deliver our becomes throughout lockdowns and when staff and users have had to safe isolate. Many have discovered positive benefits of the approach ie. if feeling unwell or the weather is bad you can still take part from your home.
Working with those with Dementia
Memory cafés offer a friendly welcome to anyone affected by dementia or worried about their or someone else’s memory They provide practical information and support as well as the opportunity for people to ask questions and to listen to others’ experience. They also provide an informal and social environment in which to learn new skills, enjoy activities, listen to guest speakers and make new friends.
We usually have a Memory Café on Thursday afternoons with complimentary refreshments and often themed activities with a guest speaker. Recently we ran a series of participatory sessions around exploring the senses of touch, smell, sound, seeing and taste. We have also hosted a five-week Brain Food course delivered by Anna Betz from the Camden Memory Services that was highly informative and enjoyable and we hope that we may be able to host further such initiatives in the future. We also often plan trips to nearby lovely Regents Park in the warmer weather and have even visited London Zoo just a short bus ride away.
The Café enable people with dementia and their carers to socialise and enjoy spending time with other people that can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Taking part in activities can help someone living with dementia keep active both physically and mentally. We feel that it is important for those with dementia to remain within their community and network of friendships independently for as long as is practicable as part of building an age friendly society.
60+ Health Club
Monthly Pampering Sessions with Sokina Khatun
A wonderful opportunity to be pampered and get a feel good feeling by booking an appointment with Sokina. Give us a ring to find out the date of the next session and available time slot. Sokina can provide hand massage, finger manicure and toe nail pedicure as well as good conversation!. You will need your own clipper ware or purchase one from us at cost price. We will also need to ask you a few health questions at your first appointment.