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a little history lesson...

a little history lesson...

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YOPEY stands for Young People of the Year and has been 'revealing, recognising and rewarding' young unsung heroes as positive role models for 10 years. YOPEY Befriending is where we send young people into care homes where a high proportion of the residents have dementia. I had the idea of setting up YOPEY Befriending in response to surveys about loneliness among the elderly. With the care homes' help, YOPEY trains the young people to relate to elderly people with dementia who may forget their young friends from one week to the next. The young help the old 'live with dementia' and get more out of life. The old teach the young about life and prepare them for what is to come. Both generations benefit. Society also gains because even when their elderly friends have gone, the young will still have the skills to care for the elderly and can carry these into later life. In a society where we are living longer this is of vital importance. We have run trial schemes for two years.

 

The YOPEY Befrienders are encouraged and supported to join in the day-to-day life of the care homes from helping with meals and gardening to joining in games and singsongs. Once comfortable and confident, they are often allocated to a specific resident as their friend. If able they can take their friend out of the home – a walk to the local shops or park can give an elderly resident a great deal of pleasure. As they get to know their friend and hopefully members of their family, they can research and put together their Life History. This will identify the elderly person's likes and dislikes as well as telling their life story in words and pictures. Copies can be made so as well as the family having an impressive memento, busy care home staff can use the contents to help care for the resident. The young people are rewarded with certificates for 10, 20, 30 and 40 hours of volunteering which they can include in their CVs for jobs and Personal Statements for higher education.

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