Spending a Spot of Time… to Make a Big Difference!

Like many East London ladies, I’ve started up a rather unhealthy obsession with nail art. With a steady hand, several eye-searing shades and more gems than a professional vajazzler,  I’ve managed creations that would make even Jessie J jealous. Unsurprisingly, however, I’d never considered putting this (rather useless, let’s be honest) talent to good use. That was, until I heard about Spots of Time.

Spots of Time is an organisation (working with the My Home Life network) that arranges fun and creative activities in care homes around London and Essex.  As it’s currently a pilot scheme, they are testing out activities that they hope will work well for people who are experiencing dementia – think tea parties, ‘bring-a-pet’ days, crafty fun… or pampering treats, like hand massages and manicures! The idea is that you go along to their website, pick an activity that interests you, and then sign yourself up to a place and time that’s convenient to you.

So this is how I came to spend a rather lovely portion of my Saturday taking part in Spots of Time’s The Big Pamper; a special day to really raise awareness of the organisation and their work. I was placed in an East London care home, along with around 15 others (and a dog called Pedro!) and there were apparently 7 other care homes around the area also playing host to Spots of Time pamper days.

Starting out the session was a bit awkward at first, as both sides were a little quiet and shy, but the volunteers had been well prepared by Spots of Time with conversational tips (including advice on talking to people affected by dementia) and soon everyone was chatting, playing games and painting nails. We were there for little over an hour (the idea of giving up a ’spot’ of time is just that; it’s a tiny portion of you day that you will hardly notice, but will make a big difference to the care home’s residents) and the time really flew. By the time we left, the atmosphere had become really lively and all the ladies were pleased with their newly painted nails.

I have never done any volunteer work like this before, but I think The Big Pamper really appealed to me because it sounded so fun and accessible. Signing up to spend time with people affected by dementia might sound a bit daunting at first but, given a fun thing to do, it all suddenly sounds a bit easier – after all, you’ve been provided with a great opener, you have an activity occupy you both, and you are also imparting a useful service. All of a sudden, there’s no excuse NOT to spend a spot of time!

Find out about the next big event, or sign up to something that suits you here. Ooh, and don’t forget to follow Spots of Time’s twitter!

By: Sarah Barnes, 05.05.2012 | Comments (0)
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Growing Old Glamorously

Currently, when I’m not being a feminist*, I fill up my days working at an online fashion magazine. During these fashionable days I trawl through many, many, many fashion blogs (searching for, um, ‘Now-ness’ or something like that)… but not many are quite as thought provoking as one I was pointed to today.

Found via modelling and diversity campaign All Walks Beyond The Catwalk (who had discovered it on The Telegraph), the blog in question is called Advanced Style. A compendium of ‘Straight-Up’ style street portraits by Ari Seth Cohen, the defining difference is that these images are of women and men in the over-60 age bracket.

What I love about this blog is that it presents the older generations in a way that we never usually see them in other media; distinguished, vibrant, intelligent, interesting and vital. Ari generously allots each person with their own independent post, taking his time to talk through their encounter – illuminating us with the name, age and often fascinating back story of the the subject.

That’s pretty refreshing in a blogosphere which is full of snap-and-run photographers (who wouldn’t have loved a little personal background on this controversial street style pic?), but it’s especially refreshing in a media-scape that so very rarely focusses on older people at all.

Okay, so it’s not like it’s on a par with the work that organisations like Help Age International are doing, but it’s certainly a nice little step in the right direction!

*Don’t worry sisters, I never switch off!

By: Sarah Barnes, 08.04.2010 | Comments (2)
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