A big thank you to the Province of Nottinghamshire Freemasons COVID support fund!

Last week, the Province of Nottinghamshire Freemasons awarded Harmless £1,000 from the Covid-19 relief funds.  This money supports us to continue our vital work supporting those at risk of self-harm, suicide crisis and those affected by suicide bereavement.

Trevor Harris met with Katie, our suicide crisis service manager, to hand over the cheque… socially distanced of course!

Could you help us to better support our clients?

If you have been bereaved by suicide, could you please complete this brief survey?

In this survey we are trying to understand how Covid-19 has impacted those bereaved by suicide. 

It is so important that we understand the implication on different groups of people during this difficult time if we are to ensure that services remain responsive to need.

Please click this link to access the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8SD9ZDG

Welcome to Self harm and How to Help week

Self harm does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, age, religion, disability or gender orientation. It is a coping strategy that helps people from all walking of life to manage their hurt and distress.

The truth is we can all help. Sometimes just talking to a family member or friend about your problems might be enough. You need to learn to recognise your feelings before, during and after the self harm. This can help you to identify your triggers and how to cope with them.

Join the team this week as they share there wisdom on Self harm and how to help.

Connecting with Older Adults – Inter-generational friendships

Growing up I was very close to my grandparents in a way that was different to my attachment with parents. I adored them and I knew they adored me. I also had older neighbours at a few of the houses I lived in and I would wave to them from my window or go and visit them and talk to them often. It never occurred to me that this was unusual in any way but this week’s theme has made me realise that perhaps it was. They were my friends. My father was a priest and so being around older adults in the church environment was perhaps a source of my relatedness with the older generation. When two people at polar ends of the life cycle come together, they have many fascinating dissimilarities to explore but also some shared experiences which bring them together.

There’s something about that distance of decades which reminds us more starkly of our shared humanity.  Spending time with young people reminds older adults of their youth, perhaps even helping them to emotionally connect to the experience of their youth and to be more childlike in the moment. And for the younger person, they have an opportunity to understand old age and appreciate the privileges and difficulties of that time of life that they will one day experience themselves.

I remember enjoying looking at old photographs and being mesmerised by the wonder of how people change and travel through life. It never made me feel apprehensive about old age, rather, more accepting of it. When I looked at my grandparents faces, I saw the child or the young adult that they had once been somewhere within their lines and grey hair. The connection between older adults and younger people is a magical and precious thing which unfortunately we have been without for some time. We can find ways to connect safely so that this important connection which is beneficial to so many, can continue to be enjoyed.

This is a picture of me and my family with my wonderful grandfather who sadly died a couple of months ago. My children adored spending time with him and he got so much joy from our visits.

Tell us about your opinions on text messaging support services!

Harmless are currently carrying out some research about what the general public expects from text messaging support services. We’ve created an online survey, and we would really appreciate it if you could fill it in! It takes no more than 10 minutes, and all answers are completely anonymous.

Here’s the link:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TP_text_services

Your opinions are important to us, and all answers will be contributing to life-saving work. Thank you in advance if you fill it in!

Laura and Katie
The Tomorrow Project

Podcast: Music & Mental Health

This weeks theme is Older Adults and Isolation, loneliness affects us all, with almost one in four of us feeling lonely during lockdown. Whether you need some company in the middle of the night, or to know you’re not alone, why not listen to one of our podcasts?

Join today’s podcast hosted by the wonderful Sarah Kessling Training Team Manager (Contracts) & Specialist Trainer as she discusses the benefits music can have on our mental health with local Musician Joey Collins.

Enjoy!

The Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation For The Elderly

  • Slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are progressive illnesses prevalent among the elderly. It’s estimated that up to 50% of all people over 85 have some form of dementia. However, the National Institute on Aging reminds us that “it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.”

Dementia destroys memory, disrupts crucial mental functions and can wreak havoc with emotions. However, a recent study showed that a combination of meditation and breathing exercises can help slow down the development of dementia-related diseases. Other studies suggest that mindfulness meditation helps people cope better with the anxiety, stress and depression that often accompany memory loss.

  • Enhancing digestion

Our digestive functions can be affected by a variety of factors, including diet and age. Luckily, it seems that meditation can improve digestion. The deep breathing that occurs naturally during meditation improves circulation and increases oxygen levels in the blood. For the elderly, regular meditation may afford relief from digestive issues that aren’t caused by other ailments.

  • Developing a sharp, focused mind

One of the great benefits of mindfulness is its ability to sharpen mental alertness and ward off decline. Regular meditation causes the brain’s physical structure to change. For example, the amygdala region that’s associated with processing negative emotions such as stress, worry and anxiety often shrinks, while the areas responsible for self-awareness, personality development and planning (such as the prefrontal cortex) increase. As a result, meditators experience improved focus, creativity and cognitive function: a great boon for seniors.

  • Managing moods and emotions

Managing moods and emotions is a challenge for most of us, regardless of our age. As we grow older, physiological changes may impact mood stability and make it even more difficult to control our emotional reactions. Add to that the difficulty of adjusting to the loss of independence and, often, the passing of people and pets who are near and dear to us, and it’s no wonder that experiences of loneliness, sadness, and even despair are prevalent among the elderly. Meditation, with its focus on non-judgmental presence, teaches us that we can observe our emotions without being compelled to react to them. There is also evidence that meditation enhances positive emotions of well-being and empathy for young and old alike.

  • Improving memory

Meditation stimulates the memory centers within the brain. And since memory loss is one of the undesired “side effects” of aging, improved memory and cognitive function are precious allies as we grow older. Preliminary evidence indicates that mindfulness helps maintain both long- and short-term memory functions.

  • Promoting relaxation and calmness

Ultimately, we all need to take a break and just breathe. Putting aside time to simply smell the roses, take a walk or connect with loved ones does wonders for everyone, regardless of age. Mindfulness for seniors has a calming effect that can’t be achieved by prescription drugs. Meditation helps the elderly relax, organize thoughts more efficiently, and maintain a clear perspective.

Aja,

Trainer

Befriending

Nearly one third of older adults experience loneliness and/or social isolation (Berg_Weger & Morley, 2020). This figure will be exacerbated due to the COVID-19, with over-70’s self-isolating and being particularly vulnerable to the virus. Social isolation can negatively affect the elderly in numerous different ways, including elevated feelings of stress, anger sadness, depression, emptiness, worthlessness, and pessimism (Griffin, 2010). Physical health can also be affected by loneliness, such as elevated cortisol levels, weakened immune system, poorer sleep quality, and doubled risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (Age UK, 2015).

Befriending has been shown to help loneliness in the elderly. Befriending is “an intervention that introduces the client to one or more individuals, whose main aim is to provide the client with additional social support through the development of an affirming, emotion-focused relationship over time” (Mead et al., 2010). Befriending often consists of regular visits to an older person’s house, and telephone calls by either a paid worker or volunteer. Befriending has been shown to:

  • Reduce depression, loneliness, and feelings of being a burden.
  • Improve confidence and anxiousness
  • Improvements in physical health as well as emotional health
  • Improve general well-being and quality of life

Older people who use the Age UK telephone befriending service reported that they valued the ability to talk, listen, and share information with another person who they could trust and rely on. Additionally, it’s not just the elderly who experience the benefits of befriending; volunteers for the Age UK befriending scheme showed increased self-confidence, improved interpersonal skills, and feelings of satisfaction as a result from volunteering (Age UK, 2015).

Here is a list of local and national befriending services, for you to volunteer at if you would like, or for you to suggest to any elderly friends or relatives who are experiencing loneliness.

Age UK Notts – regular companionship, listening ear, and friendship.
Website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/notts/our-services/visiting-and-befriending/

Telephone Friendship – a national telephone friendship service run by Age UK and The Silver Line.
Website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/sign-up-for-telephone-befriending/

Good Companions – reducing loneliness and isolation for older people in Clifton, Wilford, and Silverdale.
Phone: 0115 878 6182
Email: info@goodcompanions.org

East Leake Community Care Association – the Community Care Association run a Befriending Group for the elderly people of East Leake.
Website: https://east-leake.co.uk/befriending-group/

The Silver Line Helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90 (free, confidential, open 24/7, 365 days a year. Provides information, friendship, and advice to older people aged 60+).

Kaths Letter

Hi All

I asked my neighbour Kath, who always seems to be busy despite the fact that she has been sheiling since the beginning of lockdown her response is uplifting, I think….

On 04/06/2020 17:21, Kathryn Daw wrote:

Hello to anybody and everybody who might be listening.
My name is Kath, I am over the magic number 70, so have been locked down for many weeks now, and am very cautious about starting to go out and about now. I live on my own, and am very much missing my family, and my lovely partner, who lives in London, we are normally together at the weekends, but sadly not at the moment, in these strange times.

I’m sure we’ve all heard enough of the sad things on the News and in the papers, so I thought I’d just list the things that I have enjoyed and that have kept me going. As they say on the tele, in no particular order!

  • Skype sessions every day with my partner, we have a lovely chat, have a laugh, and   usually do a couple of quizzes.
  • Skype, phone chats and texts with family and friends. I have even mastered Zoom!I am normally a complete technophobe, so am quite proud of myself! But I seem to be setting a record for coming last in most of the quizzes.
  • Sunny days, coffee and lunch in the garden, even enjoying actual gardening, most unlike me! A brilliant neighbour has got me some plants, so we’ll wait and see whether they actually grow this year, I haven’t really got green fingers.
  • The 8 O’clock clap on Thursdays, it’s been really nice to chat to the neighbours and wave to the people up the hill who I’ve never seen before. We’ve even had some great music from the upstairs window of one of the neighbours. Not to mention the orchestra of wooden spoons and saucepan lids, but sadly no bagpipes!
  • Exercise, no not Joe Wicks, that’s far too difficult apart from the warm up, and I don’t think that counts! Don’t laugh, but I’ve been doing “10 today” exercises for older people, on a BBC podcast, not too demanding, but better than nothing!
  • Reading, again nothing too demanding, this is not the right time to tackle “ War and Peace”! I have particularly enjoyed “Eleanor Oliphant”, and can’t wait to get started on my back catalogue of Jilly Coopers. Our Book Group is having weekly Zoom meetings, but we spend more time moaning about our hair than actually talking about books!
  • Craft stuff, I have dragged down my old card making box from the loft, cut out words and pictures from old magazines, and have been quite pleased with my amateur efforts at making birthday cards for friends. I have written on the back “hand made by Lockdown Cards, it’s the thought that counts”
  • I have also raided the loft for old sewing stuff, and made some masks, not at all clinical standard of course, but better than nothing, and they have given me an excuse for using up old flowery curtain material!
  • Dancing round the kitchen to some old 60’s music, that’s the sort of thing you can do when you live on your own! As well as talking to yourself, of course!
  • Tv, though of course there’s not that much I actually want to watch, there’s only so many old Midsummer Murders you can sit through…. But I have really loved watching Pride and Prejudice again, and I have particularly enjoyed “ the village” series about Portmerion, also the Chelsea Flower Show programmes. I have also found a lot of comfort from watching the ” Sunday Worship” and “Songs of Praise”.
  • I really enjoyed our V E Day, a sort of street party, what a lovely day, with cake and prosecco and bunting, and lovely catch up with neighbours, while socially distancing of course!
  • Getting terribly excited at getting a Morrison’s delivery slot at only the 100th attempt.
  • You will notice that I haven’t made much mention of cleaning, or useful jobs around the house – I know we’ve all got lots of time now, but even so, I can usually find something more interesting to do…. though I did at one point cleaned out some kitchen cupboards, but unfortunately dropped a full bottle of Jamie Oliver’s best balsamic vinegar on the kitchen floor, it took me ages to clean up all the sticky liquids mess and broken glass.
  • CHOCOLATE!!!

    Take care, everybody.