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Finding some kind words to celebrate elderly people

Posted onPosted on 5th Oct

Elderly people were celebrated by Newark and Sherwood District Council at a series activities to recognise International Day of Older Persons.

The day aims to raise awareness of issues affecting older people and also reflected how the pandemic has altered the community.

Despite a difficult time for all, many older residents have stood up to the challenges and, as a result, lots of communities have come closer together to help those less fortunate.

To celebrate this the council asked older residents in the area to submit a 200-word story or poem that reflected the positive impact the pandemic has had on them or their community group.

The stories and poems were judged by housing officers and the winner of the individual competition was Tricia Jarvis, of Newark, who wrote:

I have spent some wonderful quality time with my partner, eating outside on the patio under the parasol imagining we were somewhere exotic, having coffee whilst gently rocking on the garden swing. I watched the Red Arrows flying over my little bungalow giving me a salute. At my age I’ve made lots of friends who keep in touch with me, so every day I’ve had the time to read and answer emails, texts and to make and receive phone calls.
Having unlimited calls on my mobile means that we can talk for over an hour, so my mouth is getting plenty of exercise. I have two lovely sons and three granddaughters who I’ve seen lots of over FaceTime.
Every day I’m told I’m loved so how rich am I, not in money but in the love of my family and friends. I just wish that I hadn’t eaten so much chocolate.

The winner of the group competition was Newark Dementia Carers, who wrote:

Newark Dementia Carers stayed very active during the pandemic, supporting both carers and the cared for. We offered support on the telephone, anytime you needed it and in person, standing in member’s gardens for a chat. For our members, just seeing another person in the flesh was all they needed to keep going during difficult times.
When restrictions lifted we met outside and went on walks together in groups of six, encouraging each other to keep smiling and stay strong.
We delivered hampers and Christmas gifts to our members, helping them to stand up to adversity and make the best of every day.
The pandemic was just another challenge faced by families dealing with dementia and we flourished, always being there for one another, depending on one another, surviving the isolation and loneliness to come out the other side as a strong family group.
We are now meeting face to face again and our members value us more than ever. We are making the most of the life we have and have lots of new members. In the future we have lots of plans for trips and celebrations. We are the generation that always bounce back.

In the run up to the day, the council also worked with residents at Chatham Court, Newark; a group in Bilsthorpe; and a group in Hawtonville to write cards of well-wishes to residents at Gladstone House, Newark and Broadleaves, Boughton, the council-owned extra care developments.

The cards were created in the newly-built Chatham Court Community Hub, which opened officially in August.

Coun Tim Wendels, chairman of the Homes and Communities Committee at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The pandemic has been difficult for us all but our older residents have been at an increased risk both mentally and physically.

“Despite this, there has been a huge number of older residents in the district who have shone through, supporting the most vulnerable and helping to bring communities together.

“It was also great to see the smiles on older residents’ faces at Broadleaves and Gladstone House when they received the cards of well-wishes from other residents. It’s important that the younger and older generations in the town are engaging with each other like this and it’s a great thing to see.”

The council also shared some of the stories of the pandemic from local community groups on its social media channels, including Dukeries U3A and Rainworth Petanque Club who, like many others, went above and beyond to support their local communities.