Local landmarks help tackle loneliness

Our lovely local landmarks are helping to tackle loneliness in care homes this summer. With travel abroad limited, more people than ever will be out and about exploring closer to home.

Whether visiting iconic buildings like Blackpool Tower, taking in the stunning south Cumbrian countryside, or roaming the majestic moorlands of Pennine Lancashire, they are being encouraged to send a postcard of their favourite place to their local care home to brighten someone's day.

This is part of the latest Cards for Kindness campaign, which launches on Monday 19 July. Now in its fourth year, Cards for Kindness helps to tackle loneliness and isolation among the 11,000 people living in local care homes.

This year's campaign is particularly important as people are getting fewer visits because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Many residents haven't been out to see the countryside for more than a year.

Receiving these postcards helps to promote a feeling of connection to the local community, as well as initiating conversations about the landmarks among the residents and bringing back happy memories.

Research shows that these conversations can have many health benefits, particularly for people who are living with dementia.

Jane Brennan, Chief Nurse and Associate Director of Quality for NHS Chorley & South Ribble and NHS Greater Preston Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Cards for Kindness is a brilliant way to put a smile on someone’s face and help people living in care homes to feel connected to their local community.

“We know that Cards for Kindness has made a big impact in previous years with residents and staff telling us how much joy the cards have brought and how they initiated nostalgic conversations about happy memories of summer holidays and trips gone by.

“It’s really easy to take part, there’s a list of care homes who have signed up to take part and free downloadable postcard available on the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership website.”

County Councillor Graham Gooch, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for adult social care, said: "Living in a care home can be a very lonely experience. Staff do a superb job running activities for residents and people are doing their best to visit their friends, relatives and loved ones.

"However, there are still fewer opportunities for visits for the 11,000 people living in the region's 425 care homes because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

"Cards for Kindness is a superb way of helping people to be connected to their county, their community and tackling loneliness.

"We're focusing on landmarks and the countryside this year. Receiving a postcard could bring back people's memories of their favourite spot or show them something new near a place they love.

"This will lead to conversations amongst residents, which will help them feel more connected to others. This type of discussion is also proven to help slow the onset of dementia.

"There are health benefits too for the people sending the cards as they get out and about in the countryside, connect with their environment and get a feeling of positivity from helping others.

"We want everyone to get involved with Cards for Kindness this summer. We're also encouraging schools, adult learning colleges, scout groups and other organisations to take part."

Taking part is easy, simply address your postcard to residents and pop it in the post.

All the materials, including post cards to print out, are available on the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria website. Printed postcards are also available at libraries, museums and other attractions across the county.

Addresses of all the care homes involved and instructions on how to take part are available here.

Those sending postcards are encouraged to share their experience on social media using #CardsForKindness.