Guest Blogger: Diane Stephenson
I work for Aire Valley Homes, an Arms Length Management Organisation for Leeds City Council. As a Supported Housing Officer I work with tenants over 60 years of age, with or without disabilities. My role is to support tenants to help them live independently in the community, using a Support Plan to identify needs and risks. This includes working with partnership Agencies such as Adult Social Care and GPS and liaising with voluntary bodies such as local ‘Live at Home’ schemes and Age UK.
I help to set up social events and inform tenants of social activities and local groups, though this is mainly for their own peer group rather than involving younger people. Christmas is a time when young and older members of the community come together, from invitations to school concerts and meals where the children wait on the tenants and visits from local schools to sheltered housing schemes to sing.
I would like to see more ‘all year round’ community initiatives such as computer classes for older people where young people can help to teach them, as seen in other areas. Other activities which would greatly benefit older people would be gardening work, which would also help younger people, giving them not just work experience but also learning from older neighbours and becoming involved together in community projects.
Social inclusion would benefit people of all ages in the community and allow young and old to get to know and understand one another’s needs. Older people living together in Sheltered schemes would feel more included in the community and benefit from activities with other peer groups.