A vision morning where we listened to older members of the community and volunteers from across the city.
A great resource for Caraway were 24 people who came to our focus group, a vision meeting to explore a consumer and volunteer view of the needs and dreams of our older population reflecting in particular about their spiritual needs. At least eight churches were represented.
We explored the pros and cons of growing older! Limitations were mainly perceived to be physical ailments and social problems that limited communication with others and mobility to get out. Transport, as always was raised as a particular issue. However, older people were noted to have wisdom, often a strong faith with time to listen to, befriend and help others. We then discussed what spiritual care of the older person looks like: a sense of safety, belonging, and connection were prominent, along with taking every opportunity to notice and talk to older people and respond to requests. Someone remembered the compassion of a person who had helped them and commented that going the extra mile is a massive gift to the older person, who sadly tends not to expect love and compassion.
Our dreaming of how Caraway could help, included a bereavement service, enabling access to lonely people, transport, and a new generation where families in the community embrace older people as a valuable part of community and not to be discarded. We suggested focussing on the crossroads in life, when extra support is needed, with Caraway working intimately alongside the community teams in social and healthcare to promote independence.
We discussed the importance of a prayer letter and of connecting with other communities and charities doing similar work in Southampton. We are aware that this is a critical time in the social and health systems in Southampton and were advised to watch for the gaps.
Could Caraway bridge the gaps?