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By Debbie le Quesne

Spreading magic to challenge stereotypes of homes

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I know I’m not as young as I once was, but I do like a good party, so indulge me please and picture the scene . . .

There’s an enticing list of cocktails, London’s top bartenders are adding there secret ingredients to their latest creations, sequinned headbands fit in perfectly with the evening’s Roaring Twenties theme and the music is playing.

A trendy capital party club scene? No. A posh, slick bar with wealthy ‘cruisers’ looking for a date? No.

In fact, it’s a care home where the charity Magic Me is putting on one of its regular cocktail evenings for residents.

“The parties are lovely – it gives you something to look forward to, and then something nice to look back on,” says 84-year-old Jean Fuller, who is featured in the Guardian online article.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” he adds her son Kilf. “I come and see mum twice a week, but unfortunately some of the residents don’t have family who come and see them. They might not have any visitors at all, so this gets everyone together. You get young and old sitting down together having a drink and a chat.”

The issues of loneliness  for the elderly is much debated, but this is one attempt at building community within care settings.

Even for older people living as part of a community loneliness – and the depression it often creates – can be a real problem. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, which works to combat the isolation which affects many older people, 40 per cent of care home residents are likely to be depressed.

Wow! That’s far too many.

Magic Me specialises in inter-generational arts projects and staged its first cocktail party 18 months ago after hearing from some care home residents that although there were plenty of activities put on for them in the daytime, they were bored in the evenings.

Since then the project has snowballed, with some 150 volunteers now on call to help the charity put on monthly events at four care homes around east London.

The idea, according to Clea House, Magic Me’s community and communications manager, is to stage fantastic events that challenge the stereotypes of older people. The group is made up of young professionals who care about people group interaction in community.

We need so much more of this creativity in care settings. Families and friends get invited and there is an active policy of inclusion for residents who are well enough to take part.

I once heard a quote that most care home residents are just like us, but with older faces. This story reminds me that older people like a party too.

To find out more how Magic Me is connecting generations, go to http://www.magicme.co.ukImage

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Written by debbielq

March 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm

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