December project update – focus on formal and informal information sharing

One of the aims of Silverlinks is to equip older people with knowledge and information that they are able to pass on to other older people in order to support them when facing times of transition, or to help them to prepare for their future.

 Housing and Care Options training for older people

Didsbury training session with Karen

Didsbury training session with Karen

One of the ways in which we equip older people with knowledge about housing is through our regular “Housing and Care Options in Later Life” training sessions.  Karen recently ran another training session at  Didsbury Parsonage in Manchester.  14 older people attended the training, and they were also given information to take home.  The “trainees” are then equipped to be able to plan their own future housing, and to pass on this information to other older people.  To date we have trained over 100 older people in Housing and Care Options – if each of these people passes information on to just ten other older people, as we ask, then that’s 1000 older people who have been able to obtain information about their future housing from their peers.

 As well as the “formal” support and training offered through Silverlinks, such as the training above, our volunteers regularly tell us about how they pass on information and support informally to older people they meet – be that neighbours, family or people they meet on the bus.   One of our volunteers carries Silverlinks leaflets in her handbag ready to hand out to anybody who she feels may need a listening ear!

 We know that there is so much of this informal activity going on, and are able to catch glimpses and anecdotal evidence of how the network of older people who are able to pass on information and advice about housing is building and expanding.

Here’s just one example:

One of our volunteers who lives in sheltered housing has recently helped an older lady of 63, who happened to visit the site looking for the warden and needing some help with looking for housing options for her 88 year old mother.   The lady’s mother urgently needs to move home and will be homeless before Christmas.   By chance she came across our volunteer, Jeanne, who invited her in for a chat and look around the complex.  She was able to give her useful contact details for various services in the area, including WE Care & Repair, St Monica’s Trust and Anchor Housing.  Jeanne also told her about Bristol Home choice, which she has experience in using, explained how it worked, and gave out the contact details.  It just shows that our volunteers are always on the look-out for people to support and share information with, and that much, much more information sharing goes on, than that which we’re able to “formally” record.

 Bristol training session

This short video has been sent in by Silverlinks in Bristol –it’s quite tricky to hear the audio but shows one of our volunteers, Isobel, sharing their own experiences with other older people at a recent Silverlinks training day– and distracting them from the actual training session!

In the video Isobel is talking to a couple who are finding their home increasingly difficult to live in due having an illness and trying to manage two or three flights of stairs and steps at their home.   They wanted to know about their options and whether to stay put or move home.  Isobel was able to explain the help she’d had herself from WE Care &  Repair’s housing options service and from the caseworker and surveyor team, which enabled her to stay put.

WP_20131127_001.mp4 from Silverlinks on Vimeo.

It’s great to see and hear all this information sharing going on, and to see that our volunteers are so keen to share their knowledge and experience with other older people.

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