The summer months can sometimes be a lonely time for older people as some activities may have closed for a break and families are away on holiday, so the idea of a 'Holiday at Home' is that those who attend will feel like they are on holiday, although they will be back home in their own beds each night. At St John's, Harborne, we have run our own version of this - 'Prime Time' - for the past eight years.
For three days each August, we have around 50 over-70s attending, and about the same number of volunteers helping in various ways. Just over one-half of the guests are not from the church, but most are people with whom we have links through the various retirement complexes in our parish or through our Over-70s Drop In.
There is a choice of activities each morning and afternoon - musical entertainment, gentle exercise, speakers, discussion groups, games, craft, computer corner, and so on, and plenty of time to chat or relax on the comfortable armchairs borrowed specially for this event. There is always much fun and laughter, as well as deepening friendships.
A quality three-course meal is provided each day. One year, we had a cruise theme so we sailed away each day on the Prime Princess and on-board activities included listening to a musician while sipping a non-alcoholic cocktail. All guests were invited to the Captain's table on the last day, when many dressed for the occasion. This provided some special memories and some lovely photos.
At Prime Time, the first two days end with a five-minute Thought for the Day; on the final afternoon, we have a short service of Thanksgiving. Having attended Prime Time, many of our guests go on to attend some of the growing faith courses we run for older people.
A Holiday at Home can be run in various ways depending on the particular situation and resources available. It is a wonderful way of valuing and serving older people and can have huge benefits to physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
To find out more, contact Catriona Foster.