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Caring for the Elderly

People are living longer.

While we all might be pleased to hear this it does mean there is a growing elderly population which brings its own challenges and places extra demands on health and social care.

Loneliness is also a massive issue among this age group. When you see that elderly neighbour have you ever wondered who they have spoken to today? Older people who have lost a spouse or who don’t have other family or friends close by can be left feeling very isolated. Even those caring for a sick partner can equally feel just as alone and need somewhere to socialise or use for their spouse to get a bit of respite.

This is where Age UK’s William and Patricia Venton Centre in York Road, Northampton, can really play its part in giving older people a much needed lifeline.

Since opening 20 years ago the day centre has been providing support, activities and friendship for those who need it.

Open Monday to Friday between 10am-3pm the facility will accommodate 78 people a day. The centre is run by a team of qualified staff and supported by a group of dedicated volunteers. There is a fleet of six mini buses which ferries centre users making it easily accessible.

The friendly and welcoming facility is divided into smaller rooms where you can sit quietly or get involved in the daily timetable. The programme over the day will include activities in the morning and afternoon such as quizzes and games, alongside entertainment, exercise, and refreshments including tea and biscuits plus a two course lunch. The centre also provides day trips which in the past have included a canal boat ride, afternoon tea or pub lunch – chosen by the centre users.

There is also an on-site hairdresser, bathing facilities and other personal services plus help to access benefit checks, hospital aftercare, end of life care, insurance and funeral plans.

Upstairs there is a designated, secure care unit for people with dementia. Here, people are offered their own day programme including access to the tovertafel (Dutch for magic table in case you were wondering) which is an interactive piece of equipment which projects images onto a table for users to interact with such as popping bubbles or sifting through a pile of leaves and hearing them rustle.

Day centre manager Vicky Denney says: “It’s so rewarding what people get out of the centre.

“There are so many people in the community who are struggling.”

This largely self-funded facility has to think of ways to raise money and one of its most successful ventures is the twice yearly fashion show. Open to all, tickets are £10 each and the next event takes place at 7.30pm on May 31.

Contact 01604 604500 for more information and to buy tickets to help support the centre’s good work.

You can also call this number to find out more about using the day centre, more information about what it offers, prices and whether it might be something for you or a loved one.

Alongside day care facilities such as those at the William and Patricia Venton Centre, there are also retirement villages or care homes for those who can no longer live independently and Northamptonshire is lucky to boast some excellent facilities although financing these has to be considered.

Examples include The Hawthorns in Duston – a vibrant retirement community which offers independent luxury accommodation, fine dining, spa and cinema set within beautifully landscaped gardens. The town centre based Avery care home is situated close to the hospital and provides residential, nursing and dementia and respite care in en-suite rooms with access to a whole host of facilities for people staying under its roof.

It might not be nice to think about but whether it’s something you are considering now or in the future figuring out your options for yourself or an elderly relative is a major decision. And whether it’s a day centre or residential care you need just remember there are options out there and people to turn to if you need advice.

Words courtesy of Jodie Jarrett