Kelly Lindsay, 40, has always had a strong connection with older people. From as young as nine years old, Kelly, the founder of Norfolk intergenerational charity Friend in Deed, would visit the care home near her school because she loved chatting to the residents, and her involvement with the older generation flourished after university when she volunteered for Age Concern. But the real turning point came when her beloved nan, Marga, started to become unwell with Alzheimer’s disease. Eventually Marga had to go into a home. Kelly admits it was an excellently run place with staff who were genuinely kind and caring, but she was aware that there was no interaction with people from the outside world.
‘I feel that care homes were viewed as separate from everyday life and there was no contact with the local community,’ says Kelly. ‘It has been proven that in such an environment, however amazing the staff are, general ageing and dementia just increase unchecked.’
Kelly became a teacher in 2014 and, through her job, came to understand that some younger people were not given the opportunity to learn how to be kind and empathetic to others. Having seen the situation from both sides and realising that there were no projects bringing children and older people together, her mind was made up.
‘I took on the role of Dementia Champion for Alzheimer’s Society and understood that attitudes towards the disease needed to change,’ she says. ‘Barriers to overcoming the loneliness and isolation that many in the care-home system experience also needed to be broken down.’
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