Pictured extended the hand of friendship to the local community at the Macklin Care Homes #FriendshipDays Launch are (l-r) Maia McGuigan (7) from Belfast and Kathleen Hillard, a resident at Park Manor Nursing home. ). Inspired by the children who visit their elderly relatives in the Macklin Care Homes, the project aims to reach out to people in the community who are socially isolated and encourage them to come and enjoy a series of #FriendshipDays at each of the homes across Northern Ireland. To get top tips on how to reach out and support people in your local community or to find out about a #FriendshipDay near you please visit www.macklincarehomes.com
Pictured extending the hand of friendship to the local community at the Macklin Care Homes #FriendshipDays Launch are (l-r) Maia McGuigan (7) from from Belfast, Janet Rea, Ancillary Assistant, Arlington, Macklin Care Homes, Linda Robinson, Chief Executive, Age NI and Peggy Bell, one of the residents at Arlington Care Home in Belfast. Inspired by the children who visit their elderly relatives in the Macklin Care Homes, the project aims to reach out to people in the community who are socially isolated and encourage them to come and enjoy a series of #FriendshipDays at each of the homes across Northern Ireland. To get top tips on how to reach out and support people in your local community or to find out about a #FriendshipDay near you please visit www.macklincarehomes.com

Macklin Care Homes have announced Age NI as their chosen charity of the year for 2019, aimed at helping eliminate loneliness and social isolation in the older generation in local communities across Northern Ireland.

The partnership commences with a series of ‘Friendship Days’ kicking off on 15th January with each of the five care homes within the group inviting members of the local community for afternoon tea and entertainment.

The inspiration for the project came from some of the children and young people who regularly visit family in the homes. Mary Macklin, Director at Macklin Care Homes explains;

“We have a lot of young people visiting our homes and they love to interact and engage with our residents.

“In conversation we explained how important their visits were to the residents and we asked what they thought could be done to help older people who were feeling lonely.

“Some of the answers truly warmed our hearts, they suggested we could simply talk to them and say a ‘Hello’. Some suggested sharing their lunch, others suggested bringing their pets, and so on.

“All the ideas were just lovely, and we can definitely learn something from the simple act of extending the hand of friendship to someone in need.

“We then came up with the concept of  ‘Friendship Days’ where we will reach out to others and share what we have, hopefully doing some good for our local communities and our residents at the same time.

“Another driver for this campaign was a Harvard University Study which has been carried out over a period of 80 years – the study shows that our relationships and links with our local communities play a vital role in our ability to lead long, happy and healthy lives, Loneliness kills, it is even as powerful as smoking and alcoholism.

“At Macklin Care Homes we are in the wonderful position of having a lot of expertise in this area and we are looking forward to sharing this and to hopefully making lasting differences to the lives of those around us who might be in need.

Mary concluded: “The project will also see us launch a collection of downloadable guides featuring top tips on how to reach out and help along with a #FriendshipDays so people taking the advice can share on social media and show how much they care.”

Linda Robinson, Chief Executive, Age NI, says of the project;

“Age NI is delighted to be a partner with Macklin in this vital and worthwhile ’Friendship Days’ initiative. Sadly, we all know that loneliness is a very personal battle, and can be triggered by so many different things. Some people have no family to speak of; others are cut off from friends and neighbours through illness, bereavement and other life transitions.

“Every day, Age NI hears from older people, with over 1/3 telling us that they are sometimes are always lonely. We hear how loneliness can affect people in terms of their mental & physical health and well-being.

“We therefore encourage family friends and neighbours to reach out to those closest to them and join in on these on these events. Also, just a reminder to anyone who is concerned about themselves or an older person, please call our Free Phone Advice Line on 0808 808 7575, we are here to help”.

The multi award winning Macklin Care Home Group have been established for over 30 years and own and operate six homes across the province. Mary goes on to say;

“At the very heart of our care homes, are our residents and their families, we view everyone as a member of our Macklin family and feel passionate about extending this to our local community. We want our homes to be a place one can relax and feel at ease and to truly play an important role in the communities within which they exist. We think this project with Age NI is a great opportunity for us to support those in our local communities and to welcome them with open arms into our homes to enjoy fun, laughter and joy.”

If you know someone who may benefit from coming along to a #FriendshipDay or to download our #FriendshipDay Guides and see how you can play an important role in the life of someone who may be lonely please visit www.macklincarehomes.com

For further information on Age NI and the advice, care and support on offer please visit www.ageni.org

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