Abacare calls for ‘chat benches’ to come to Wales
A WELSH care provider is calling for a new initiative to help tackle loneliness and isolation to be implemented in Wales (November, 2019).
‘Chat benches’ have been set up across Somerset by Avon & Somerset Police to help spark conversation between people in the county and Abacare says the idea would work in Wales too.
Peter Angelides, Managing Director at Abacare, which has offices in Rhondda Cynon Taf and provides care in the surrounding areas, said: “Loneliness and isolation is an epidemic across England and Wales, but it’s small initiatives such as the ‘chat benches’ that can really help towards tackling the problem.
“The benches in Somerset display a ‘happy to chat’ sign so people wishing to chat to others simply sit on the bench and wait for someone to join them, or if they see someone already on the bench, they can sit there too and strike up a conversation. The benches are a fantastic idea, especially for the elderly who often live alone and sometimes don’t speak to friends, neighbours or families for weeks at a time.
“This idea would allow them to potentially make new friends, get to know people in the area and generally just have some interaction with others, so we’re calling on the local council and police force to help bring the idea to Wales too. We’d love to see similar benches around the country and if they are implemented, our staff will certainly volunteer to sit and chat with people in their communities.”
The number of people aged 50 plus experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/26 according to the Campaign to End Loneliness. There are currently 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK.
The recent National Survey for Wales showed that 17% of people in Wales were lonely and 54% of people experienced some feelings of loneliness.
Peter added: “Elderly people are the most at risk of social isolation and it can leave them feeling cut off from the outside world.
“Many of our service users are elderly and live alone so to combat potential social isolation we encourage our carers to chat with them and be a friend. Before designating a carer to a service user we can make sure both of their personalities match up, giving the service user someone they can trust and get on with on a daily basis.
“We believe providing emotional care is just as important as the physical and we are doing our upmost to make sure our service users don’t feel lonely or isolated.
“It is an advantage if our care workers have some similar interests to our service users so they have something in common and something they can talk about on a regular basis. We want our service users to feel completely comfortable in their own homes and to consider their carer as a friend.”
Abacare operates a professional Care Management Team that is committed to providing high quality care to individuals in their own homes.
The large team of trained, specialist, care workers provide positive based outcomes and person-centred care to people throughout the UK.
Abacare has recently launched its new website www.abacare.org.uk for people looking for high quality care for themselves or loved ones and also for those seeking a career in care.
It is looking for kind, honest, caring and reliable individuals who wish to have a stable and long-term career in care, and who would like to forge rewarding relationships with the service users they care for.
Peter continued: “Being a carer is a highly skilled, professional vocational occupation that is essential to the fabric of our society and the beauty of a job for life means people can start at the very bottom and work their way up with training and qualifications.
“In today’s changing world of employment, we pride ourselves on being able to offer long-term job security and career prospects.
“No experience is necessary to become a carer as free, full training is offered, which includes a company induction, first aid, information on dementia, health and safety, food safety, infection control, handling medication and moving and handling service users, with the opportunity to achieve Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) after the initial six months probationary period.
“New recruits are given free uniforms, access to national staff discount scheme for all major brands as well as 28 days paid holiday, paid travel between calls and paid mileage.”
Abacare also offers FaceTime or Skype interviews to candidates in order to meet the demands of the modern jobseeker. Its view is that busy people wanting a career change can ‘meet’ the team via FaceTime or similar applications and find out about the roles it has to offer, as well as meet a couple of team members and, if they are about, also say ‘hello’ to a carer too.
Its core values, instilled into every staff member, include ‘make us proud’, ‘focus on our service users’ wellbeing’, ‘communicate, listen well and speak with respect’, ‘be passionate, honest, caring and considerate’, ‘recruit and develop the very best’ and ‘lead by example’.
It believes it offers inspiring work for inspirational people.
It is a member of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, Ceretas (formerly British Association of Domiciliary Care), The National Homecare Council and The Information Commissioners Office (Data Protection). It is also registered with the Care Inspectorate Wales.
For more information about Abacare, please call 01443 742645 or visit www.abacare.org.uk. Alternatively, please follow the company on Facebook athttp://on.fb.me/Yn4zmS or on Twitter by visiting www.twitter.com/visitabacare.