Glasgow’s Golden Generation (GGG) aims to alleviate the effects of poverty, isolation and loneliness in older people. The pandemic hit services hard as the stay at home message meant that day centres had to close their doors for sixteen months and staff had to be creative about how they could deliver a service to people at home which provide them with a three course meal, activities and the friendship and companionship that people receive at the day centres.
GGG pulled together an emergency campaign to deliver essential food parcel deliveries to people at home, phone calls were made to check in on people and give them some company, a digital service was developed and launch which consisted of a bespoke GGG App and a tablet loan service. This emergency service was very well received but nothing can replace face to face contact and a home-cooked meal and now is the time to get back to delivering that.
Day Care Centres offer friendship, belonging, new skills and hobbies, food, fun social networking with similar like-minded older people. Through conversation and staff direction, many service users can be advised of other related services at GGG. Older people can be referred for benefits checks to ensure that they are maximising income levels to improve their own quality of life. Older people can also be offered a range of key befriending services whether at home, over the telephone or support to be digitally connected. Referrals can be made to join a local social club close to home where further support can be offered and ensure that these people become more active members of the community.
Glasgow’s Golden Generation (GGG) has three day centres which welcome people from all over Greater Glasgow. All three GGG day centres have now reopened, albeit on a phased return until the virus is under enough control for them to return to full capacity. It is funny how after being apart for 18 months, old conversations just pick up where they've left off. It has been bittersweet though, as sadly some service users haven't been able to return to the centres because they've moved on to a care home or sadly passed away.
Agnes one of the attendees at the Fred Paton Centre said, "It was like getting out of prison!"
It has been great to hear how happy everyone was to be back and quite emotional for both staff and the older adults. Overwhelmingly the mood has been positive, but every so often someone would comment on how lonely they had been during lockdown or that they hadn't been out of their house for 18 months.
From early morning a team of drivers start the day by picking up people from their home and bringing them into their nearest centre where a cup of tea and some toast is waiting for them. Once everyone is in and settled the first activity of the day can begin. Centres offer a variety of activities depending on the group that is in. It could be something sporty like carpet bowls, snooker, darts or arm chair exercises. If that isn’t your thing then maybe a craft is whether it is knitting, sewing, painting or making seasonal crafts like Christmas decorations. Sometimes we welcome visitors to deliver activities so a therapist may come in to give hand massages. Attendees enjoyed a Glasgow Transport reminiscence activity recently thanks to the Glasgow Life Open Museum project distributing memory boxes containing artefacts, maps, photos and other memorabilia from past years. It could be live music and dancing. There is always a game of bingo! All our attendee’s love bingo so a day isn’t complete until a few games have been played.
In between all the fun of the activities the older people enjoy a three-course meal. This is so important as it can be the healthiest and most nutritious meal they eat all week. If you haven’t been very active you don’t get as hungry so don’t think about making a decent meal. Living on your own too can be uninspiring when it comes to cooking as you don’t have the motivation to put the effort in. Even ingredients can be packaged in a way that you feel there is too much and some will go to waste so you don’t buy them and make a compromised choice. The lunch older people receive at the day centre can sustain them for the day. Lunch begins with a soup starter packed with vegetables. Main course could be chicken casserole with potatoes and vegetables. Pudding usually has fruit so maybe a steamed sponge or crumble with custard.
GGG want to increase our funding to improve the standard, quality and freshness of ingredients used. The meals provided would allow for variation and ensure that the ethnic, religious, and dietary needs of individuals could be met. This would also encourage many visitors from mixed ethnic/religious backgrounds to attend long term and help all communities over Glasgow. GGG is talking to a number of funders about how they can support this project and investigating food suppliers to make better arrangements when we bulk buy ingredients. GGG also accesses organisations which pass on surplus food. With your help GGG can improve the quality and standard of food provided to our older people.
A good hearty home cooked lunch improves your nutrition and health. It boosts your mental health and cognitive abilities and even keeps you feeling warmer. Think yourself how you feel when you have had a good healthy three course meal. It does so much more than just stop you feeling hungry.