Independent elders…seniors…neighbours?

One of the ideas that has come forward for the neighbourhood is to start an Independent Elders of IARA group.  The purpose is to get people together to share ideas about sharing resources, improving the quality of our lives, looking after each other … any issues that will help people to enjoy life in Inkerman Area as we get older.

We held our first meeting at The Grafton on 7.1.13.  Lots of ideas came out – including a discussion about how best we describe ourselves.  These are the notes from the first meeting.  The next meeting is at MAP on Monday 4.2.13, from 6.30 to 7.30.

Independent Elders of IARA  (Working title)
Notes of first meeting 7.1.13 at the Grafton

 Present:  Debby Hyams  Hilary Barnes  Don Hibbs  Dot Goodwin  Jean Hart  Diana Baynes  Iris Ferns  Jeff Baynes  Patricia Dymond  Paul Seviour  Harriet Craven  Robert Livock  Christine Tidmarsh  Rosemary Weinstein  Charles Collett (last item).

 Apologies:  Connie Tolchard  Ellen Farquhason  Mary Hill  Adam Leys

 1.  Thinking behind the group
Jeff outlined his experience of being involved with his father’s care and how it had focused him on getting older and the importance of staying at home and being supported in the community.  Patricia and Harriet have both experienced needing and being offered help – in Patricia’s case, when she had a bad injury, people she didn’t know in Alma Street got in touch to offer help. 

 2.  Sharing resources
A lot of people both in the group and in the wider IARA area have access to resources which could benefit us.  Mary Hill is a leader of walks for older people on Hampstead Heath on a Monday morning and knows a lot about other resources.  Some people have used U3A, others have IT skills or information about courses.  Debby could give information about benefits and energy schemes (via the CAB).  We could start a shared list of local trades people and professionals (eg builders, DIY people) recommended by members.  Local doctor David Turner works with older people and has offered to talk to a future meeting about health issues.

 3.  Possible activities
People have lots of ideas – and some of them could really take off if we can facilitate people getting together.  They include – oral history (Jean: “desert island discs without the discs”!), bridge, theatre and other outings, choir/music group.  There is interest in Mary’s walking group

 4.  People’s needs for help – and to give help
Several people identified practical needs people might have: shopping, changing light bulbs, picking things up off the floor, dog walking, car trips to shops, help with using a computer.  Jean made the point that we can also give help to younger people – babysitting, taking deliveries for working people etc.  An IARA “friends” scheme could be great – although we need to be careful to protect anyone vulnerable and think about eg CRB checks.  Camden Volunteer Centre could be a useful resource.

5.  Ways forward

a. to set up a space on the website to facilitate people getting in touch with each other for joint activities. (website is not direct access, so would be done by email/letter to IARA and D & D would post items)

b. to create a list of people who could offer to help each other in a range of situations (across the age range). 

c. a separate list of local professionals (some might offer a discount for local work?) – although IARA would have to make it clear that being on the list is not an endorsement and people have to make their own arrangements in the normal way.

 d. for the next meeting to remain general to develop ideas, but consider David Turner’s offer for a future meeting.

 e. For the next meeting to be early evening so working people could also come  

f. To make sure people not on the internet can be fully involved, and notified of what’s happening through letterbox deliveries.

 6.  Name of group

Mary has suggested “seniors” not “elders”.  Some discussion about possible names.  Everyone likes “Independent” but no agreement about the rest.  Agreed to think about it before the next meeting and people to bring suggestions.  Best one may get a prize!

 7.  Any other business

 Magnet Site – Debby encouraged people to object to the new planning application for a bigger, higher student residence than the one already agreed.

 Paul asked people to feed back views about the Street Party (through IARA) to the planning committee for 2013.