Grant to help change lives of vulnerable older people

A PROJECT that utilises storytelling and reminiscence to improve the lives of isolated and vulnerable older people in the Larne area has been awarded a major grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Reminiscence Network Northern Ireland has been awarded £416,893 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching out: Connecting Older People programme, which supports older people affected by issues like bereavement, disability or illness or who live in residential care or sheltered housing.

The Reminiscence Network, in partnership with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, will use the grant to carry out visits to the homes of vulnerable older people in Larne and across other parts of the Northern Trust’s catchment area.

The project will focus on those living in isolation and who are dealing with disabilities that prevent them going out, helping them to create an innovative ‘Life Story Book.’

With support from the older person’s family members, friends and carers, the project worker will support the older person to look back at their life experiences and share their feelings about the past, helping them create a book of lasting memories, building their relationships and friendships and boosting their self-esteem and self worth.

They will also run ‘Creative Reminiscence Groups’ for older people at day centres run by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust – including a day care centre in Larne, as well as centres in Cookstown, Ballymena, Magherafelt, Antrim and Newtownabbey.

The groups will encourage older people, living with disabilities such as dementia, depression and hearing and sight loss, to take part in activities and storytelling sessions that help them relive memories, mix with other people and boost their health and self esteem and reduce their isolation and loneliness.