Cocktails in Care Homes is run by Magic Me, an arts charity that specialises in bringing older and younger people together and has worked with people living in care homes for over 25 years.
Care home residents told us that evenings are the loneliest part of the day, as there are very few visitors or activities. So in 2010 we began hosting cocktail parties in care homes.
Due to ill health and frailty, most care home residents can’t pop down the pub or go out to socialise with friends. Those whose families live far away might not have any visitors or even see anyone from outside the home for days at a time. Now, thanks to our growing team of volunteers, we run monthly parties at ten homes across London, providing social occasions for over 250 older people a year.
Cocktails in Care Homes is funded primarily by donations from individuals and corporate partners and grants from trusts and foundations.
What I love about the parties is they make me feel that people think about you. They come to you. You don’t feel low.
We aim for each party to be a fabulous social event that just happens to be held in a care home, which anyone, regardless of age, would like to attend. Our parties are attended by residents, their relatives and care staff.
Each party needs a team of around 10 volunteers whose role is to socialise, serve drinks and chat with residents. Parties are on a Wednesday or Thursday evening from 6pm – 7.30pm and volunteers simply choose the party dates and locations that suit them.
For family members, care homes can be stressful places to visit especially if your relative has dementia, so a party provides a relaxed way to spend time together. And staff tell us that after a party the mood and atmosphere in homes is brighter and lighter for days afterwards.
The project is currently running in 6 London boroughs – Tower Hamlets, Islington, Camden, Southwark, Waltham Forest and Westminster. Click here to see a map of care home locations. However, demand continues to grow and so we are looking for new volunteers, partnerships and supporters to get involved and enable us to increase our reach across London and beyond.
For one resident the change has been amazing. He wasn’t interested in anything, he would just stay in his room in bed most of the day.
But now the minute you tell him there is a cocktail party he’s up and getting ready. He’s really come out of his shell, he is a changed man!
Marian, Care Home Manager