Category Archives: Activities

The Campaign to End Loneliness

Are you passionate about reducing loneliness in later life?

Do you enjoy informing and educating others, meeting new people and making new contacts?

If so, why not become an Ambassador for the Campaign to End Loneliness?

They are looking for people from across the UK to help us raise awareness about loneliness and what can be done about it. All you need is to be passionate about the issue and happy to speak in public.

The Campaign to End Loneliness is a network of national, regional and local organisations and people working together through community action, good practice, research and policy to create the right conditions to reduce loneliness in later life. They were launched in 2011, are led by five partner organisations and work alongside 2,000 supporters, all tackling loneliness in older age.

Find out more about becoming an ambassador here.

What The Campaign to End Loneliness want to change

The Campaign to End Loneliness aims to reduce loneliness in older age by creating the right policy and funding conditions for groups and individuals working to address the issue. They work with a wide range of organisations to seek the following change:

1. Higher quality, and more effective, services and activities

2. Better use of existing support, especially by the most lonely

3. More commissioning and/or development of services and activities targeting loneliness

What they do

Evidence-based campaigning to commissioners: Much of their time is spent campaigning: communicating with, convincing and persuading those who make choices about health and care spending to tackle and prevent loneliness. They provide a strong voice to commissioners of services and activities at a local and national level. They invite their supporter network of 2000+ organisations and people to campaign with them.

Facilitate learning on the front line: The Campaign to End Loneliness offers organisations who want to tackle loneliness a chance to learn from each other. They provide the latest research, opportunities to meet through events, and regular information to share the motivation and momentum behind this issue.

Building the research base:They gather together and offer to policy makers and practitioners the latest evidence on loneliness and isolation. They draw on research through our Research Hub which engages academics and specialists from across the world. With these academic partners, they work to make new research as relevant and practical as possible for organisations that are working directly to support older people, or making commissioning decisions.


Accessible and fun days out in London

By on 04 27, 2015 in ActivitiesAdventure

With Spring officially sprung, the sun shining (somewhere!) and the desire to perhaps venture outside….  you might be wondering where you can go for a fun day out. If you have a wheelchair user with you, or are a wheelchair yourself, use a guide dog or have restricted mobility, it is helpful to know in advance how accessible some of the tourist attractions are. Here are some ideas for accessible days out in London.

1. The London Eye, one of the most popular tourist attractions in London is fully wheelchair accessible. It is the tallest observation wheel in the world.


2. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are fully accessible and disabled toilets are located at the entrance. Guide dogs are allowed in every part of the gardens and if you need to hire a wheelchair it can be booked in advance.

3. At the London Zoo, many exhibits are displayed at a height which is suitable for people in wheelchairs and most of the zoo will be accessible. Disabled toilets are available. Admission is free for the companion traveller of wheelchair users, but those with guide dogs should know that guide dogs cannot be admitted.  You can make arrangements to have a guide dog looked after while a zoo volunteer guides you around the zoo. ZSL London Zoo seeks to provide equal opportunity for all to enjoy the animal exhibits and visitor facilities. The Zoo is more than 170 years old and contains many old buildings, 12 of which are listed. Nevertheless, most of the Zoo is accessible for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility.

4. The Cabinet War Rooms, used as headquarters by Winston Churchill in World War II have 21 underground rooms and are a real must-see for any history buff. All rooms are wheelchair accessible, disabled toilets are available and guide dogs are permitted in the museum. There are also some visual and hearing impaired aids available.

5. The Gothic architecture and exquisite craftsmanship of Westminster Abbey should not be missed. Steeped in history with the weddings and funerals of famous Monarchs and the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the Abbey has excellent wheelchair access.  Guide dogs are allowed in all parts of the building and visual and hearing resources are also available. Kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains – the Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history. Despite being a protected Gothic building reasonable adjustments have been made throughout the Abbey for people that have extra mobility requirements, whilst a fixed hearing loop and touch tours are available for those with sensory impairments.


6. At St. Paul’s Cathedral only one part is inaccessible to wheelchair users – the American Chapel. Disabled access is via an elevator and assistance is available should it be required. Guide dogs are welcome and touch and audio provisions are in place for the visual and hearing impaired. “Enter St Paul’s and enjoy the cathedral’s awe-inspiring interior. Take advantage of a new touch-screen multimedia guide or join a guided tour to explore this iconic building, both now included with the sightseeing admission charge.” You can’t fail to be captivated by the grandeur and triumphant architecture of St Paul’s Cathedral. With ramp access to the south entrance and hearing loops throughout it’s a haven of tranquility in the heart of the City.

7. If you want to see some famous but waxy faces at Madame Tussauds it is strongly recommended that you book in advance as the museum has strict health and safety rules and only three wheelchairs are permitted into the museum at one time. Priority admission will be given to wheelchair users who have pre-booked their visit. Entry is free for everyone who holds a valid disability registration card.

8. The world-famous British Museum exhibits the works of man from across the globe, dating from prehistoric to modern times. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection. Entry is free but special exhibitions require tickets. With free parking for blue badge holders, audio described exhibits and lifts throughout you can be sure of a great day out at the British Museum.

9. Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today.”Walk in the footsteps of our reigning Monarch with a visit to Buckingham Palace. With level access, lifts, hearing loops and free of charge wheelchairs, the palace is a “must see” in the Capital. Wheelchair users are requested to pre-book so the palace can make arrangements for you.

10. Hundreds of exciting, interactive exhibits in one of London’s most beautiful landmark buildings. Despite being over 130 years old, the Natural History Museum has a whole range of access facilities including lifts and ramps throughout most exhibits and all stuff receive disability awareness and equality training, all perfect for making your journey through the ages as hassle free as possible.

With thanks to, and to find out more, visit

The Written Word

By on 03 30, 2015 in Activitiescommunication

The art of communication has changed over the years and now a lot of it is done electronically, but is there anything better than receiving a handwritten card or letter in the post? There was a recent article in the press about a teacher who got his students, at the age of 14, to write letters to their future selves. These letters included predictions and dreams for their future. Twenty years later, he posted these letters back to all of the students that he was able to track down.

Can you remember what your dreams were for your older self? Have you changed? Did you reach your goals, or create brand new ones you never would have been able to think of when you were young?

Writing to your future self can be a fun exercise, and when you read the letter however many years down the line, it can bring back wonderful memories. If you were writing at a time when things were tough, reading the letter in the future can help you to realise the better place you have arrived at.

We have to be realistic as well. None of us knows what the years ahead have in store. The written word can live on for us, and help us to be remembered. It can also give our loved ones strength after we are gone. One example of how the written word can live on is in this lovely story of a woman who left a written message for her husband to receive after she had died. See more here, with many more stories online.

If you write a diary,  that can be a great way to check in with your present self, and you can compare different stages in your life. Even if you just note appointments, or make brief comments about what you have been doing, or places you have been to, it can be worth doing. The important thing to remember is that we can continue to go forward in one way or another, and goals can continue to be set, no matter how small.

So, go for it, get writing today!


Beat the Blues

There are many negative consequences of loneliness and isolation and one of these can be deterioration in our mental health and mental processes. A lack of social interaction and activity, and not taking an interest in our diet, can mean a decline in mood and mental wellness. Sometimes it can be the things we think will pick us up, which actually bring us down!

Foods which negatively affect mood and can increase feelings of anxiety include sugar, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate, while drinking water, eating vegetables, fruit and oil-rich fish can reduce stressful feelings and increase positive mood. I get it, we enjoy some of the things that aren’t good for us, but for how long? Alcohol is a depressant and the morning after we feel it, chocolate is great for the first hit, but how often do you wish you hadn’t finished the whole bar, layer, box? Getting more of the good stuff in your diet makes you feel good.

In addition to eating the right things, there is more and more research showing how exercise improves mental health and cognition. Exercise makes you feel better; you get a sense of achievement over getting started and proving you have the will power. And for most people exercise releases some nice helpful hormones which make you happy. It also increases blood flow to the brain, helping mental functioning. With some types of exercise you can also get to meet others and build relationships. Physical exercise has been found to ease depression, slow age-related memory loss and prevent Parkinson-like symptoms.

Anyone can do some form of exercise and feel the benefits. Actor Christopher Reeve made sure he exercised whenever he could even though he was a paraplegic. Twelve years after his fight with Chris Eubank resulting in six brain operations, boxer Michael Watson completed the London Marathon in 6 days, 2 hours, 27 minutes and 17 seconds. No one thought he would walk, write or talk again but he defied those expectations.

You don’t need to run a marathon to feel the benefits – there are plenty of at home, chair activities to get started: 


Too much tech?

We here at Visbuzz love technology, and advocate for digital inclusion. We provide an extremely simple way for people who don’t use computers to make and receive video calls to and from their family, friends and health care professionals. Visbuzz can make a huge difference to the lives of people who use it, particularly if they feel lonely or isolated.

In contrast to those individuals who don’t use computers or smart phones, are those of us who may use technology using it too much?

For Lent, I decided to give up playing games on my phone. I thought that it would be a good idea, and I had been noticing that the amount of time spent on various different versions of bubble this and candy that could be better used, and it would give my hands and eyes a bit of a break from the small screen. In giving up the games,  I have realised that I used the them as a distraction much more than I thought. This has led to many moments of ‘well, what do I do now?’.

In search of other more peaceful, creative and in the moment activities, I have found a number of different ways to fill this time and would like to suggest some, either for you to move away from that hand held technology, or simply as nice things to do with your time.

Colouring in: A brilliant way to spend some time.. You can use pencils, pens, paints, crayons, chalks and charcoal. You can use books for children, books for adults or print some templates from the internet (if you don’t have a printer at home your local library should be able to help).  There are also ‘mandalas’ which are used to accomplish relaxation and focus your mind. They are simple geometric shapes with no beginning or end.


An example of a mandala.

Getting close to nature: Going for walks and taking in the surroundings can be very therapeutic and calming. Looking at trees, and up to the sky can give you a very different perspective on life. Why not try being more hands on – even the most un-green fingered individual can achieve a wonderful feeling growing some cress on the windowsill and then adding to an egg sandwich! If you feel you are up for even more of a challenge, you could get yourself a window box or  clear a part of the garden to create your own growing piece of art.

So, switch off those electronic games, and go and do something different instead.

Keeping Active

Keeping active into older age is the key to staying fit, mobile, healthy and independent. Being active does not necessary mean getting down to the gym or attending your local keep fit class, although for some this is ideal. Being active can increase well-being and reduce social isolation.

Here are some ideas for keeping active:

Social Clubs – these can include lunch clubs, computer clubs and book clubs. People with a similar interest can get together and spend time on that shared interest. It could be as specific as dominoes or Scrabble, or as wide as tea and cake!

Art and Craft – learning a new skill, or continuing with a craft you already enjoy is a great way to keep active. There are art and craft groups ranging from knitting to drawing or card making. Arts and crafts are a  great way to spend time with people or just to enjoy in your own home. The joy of making things is that you can give them to others as presents and keep sakes, which boosts feelings of well-being.

Crosswords and Quizzes – these can be enjoyed as part of a group, or by yourself. It is always beneficial to keep challenging yourself intellectually, and  it’s fun to have a bit of a competition with those you know. Challenge yourself to see how many answers can you get without resorting to the dictionary or encyclopaedia!

Singing – there is nothing better than a good sing along. Music can help to motivate you, reduce stress and stimulate memories. There is also the benefit of being able to enjoy music when you are alone, making you feel less lonely. Why not put on the radio or a favourite song and have a sing along in the front room?

Some useful links in relation to keeping active:

And for those who want to get physically active for the first time, the NHS offers a useful guide to getting started for older people:

If you want to build up slowly, or are anxious about getting active, why not start by involving the help of others.

In Copenhagen, being 97 is no barrier to enjoying cycling with people being pedalled around by volunteers! Find out more here.



The benefits of owning a pet

By on 02 23, 2015 in ActivitiesDogs

Owning a pet can be a great way to reduce loneliness and increase wellbeing. Pets make you feel loved and provide friendship. They can not only improve a person’s quality of life, but improve their health too. They have been shown to reduce the feelings of isolation and anxiety, and can lead to increased socialisation. If you have a dog, there is also the increase in activity of course.

When you walk your dog, people stop to talk to you and to your companion, you meet other dog owners, you get outside more and you generally feel better – even owning a goldfish or a hamster can be beneficial. Having a pet means that you have something to talk to, to share your thoughts and decisions with, something to come home to and to make you feel needed, appreciated and depended upon. For some people their pet is their sense of purpose and pride.

Pets are used in various forms of therapy, including helping people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to re-enter society. There is no need to explain to your pet what you’ve been through and there is no judgment of you, simply acceptance and company. Pets in residential homes have been shown to improve both patient and staff morale, and they can also provide a great source of entertainment and distraction. The national charity Pets As Therapy has volunteers who provide therapeutic visits (mainly with dogs, but there are a few cats too) to hospitals, hospices, care homes, nursing homes and special needs schools.  These visits bring comfort and companionship to thousands of people, reduce their feelings of isolation and speed up their recovery from illness.

Owning a pet can decrease depression, stress and anxiety and have medical benefits which include lowering blood pressure, improving your immunity to disease and even decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. There are many benefits of owning a pet, whatever the make or model you choose.

Do remember though, that sometimes they may eat your shoes!

dogs like to eat shoes

The Age of No Retirement: Update

Barclays signs up as The Age of No Retirement’s first core member

Barclays Bank is the first Core Corporate Partner of ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ movement. Next week they will begin working with Barclays to rethink, rework and act upon the one of the biggest social challenges facing Britain today. They will deliver impactful projects and create incredible stories that clearly illustrate the benefits of age equality and intergenerational working & living.

These stories will be further amplified by drawing from the capabilities, learnings and inspiration from across ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ network. Details of the Barclays projects will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Manchester Event

‘The Age of No Retirement?’ movement for positive social change continues to develop, innovate and expand. The second design-led participatory event will build on the enormous success of the Bargehouse event in London held in October, and extend the exploration of this important social issue to the people and organisations in Northern England.

  • 27-29 April 2015 at the People’s History Museum, Manchester. The People’s History Museum retells the socio-political history of the working people of England and, as such, is the perfect venue for the next ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ event.
  • 2 days of impassioned discussions and design-led exploration PLUS a third day of learnings & storytelling from across ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ projects.
  • 6 themes, 24 debates, 300 organisations, 600 people, 1000′s of insights & ideas.
  • THE must-attend event of the social movement calendar.
  • Put it in your diaries. Booking via Eventbrite opens in 2 weeks.
  • For organisations: £20pp per half-day session. For the public: £5pp per half-day session.
  • Sponsored by Barclays and Calouste Gulbenkian & Joseph Rowntree foundations.
  • Sponsorship packages still available.

Want to be a debater or sponsor? Email ‘The Age of No Retirement?’:

In the NEWS

‘The Age of No Retirement?’ has had a busy time in the media of late. On 19th December they were interviewed by both Sky News Radio (on the hidden value of older workers) and The Independent (as part of their coverage of Selfridges’ “Bright Old Things” exhibition). And, last Friday (16th January) they were on BBC Breakfast LIVE TV! The Friday show was the culmination of their week-long series on #Living Longer.

Word is spreading, interest is building. ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ is beginning to drive a fresh new way of thinking in the ageing sector – exploring opportunities (not the problems) is a society where people live longer – with hope and optimism.



The January Blues: How to lift your mood.

The festive season is over, it’s back to work for some and it is still dark outside – no wonder January feels like the gloomiest month of the year. Add to that freezing weather, feelings of loneliness and failed resolutions, and it’s no surprise that lots of us are feeling out of sorts and low. The good news is that it takes less effort than you think to lift your mood. Here are the three reasons from why you might have those January blues and ways to beat them.

1) Weight gain over Christmas Studies have shown we can gain as much as five to seven pounds over the Christmas week alone. How to turn it around: Festive weight gain doesn’t have to be permanent, according to Karl Simpson, Fitness Manager at the Virgin Active Health Club in Broadgate.

‘Following a sensible healthy eating plan with exercise, most people can lose approximately 2lb per week – that’s nearly all your Christmas weight gain in three weeks. Cut back to three smaller meals a day and two snacks equalling around 1500 calories per day (2000 calories if you’re a man).’

If you’re desperate to lose the weight at a faster rate, try the following:

• cut out treats such as your morning coffee and muffin

• reduce sweet snacks to once a week

• limit alcohol because it restricts the number of calories that can be burned off.

2) New Year over-analysis Self-reflection at this time of year can make us all focus on what’s wrong with our life, leading us to set unrealistic goals to become our ‘ideal’ person. Small wonder, then, that a third of us lose our resolve to keep our resolutions within a week. How to turn it around: Although self-improvement is important, going overboard can backfire. To lift your morale and gain perspective, life coach Fiona Harrold suggests making a list of everything that is already great with your life, taking stock of all that you feel grateful for right now.

‘It’s healthy to feel motivated to make changes at the beginning of a New Year,’ says Fiona, ‘but avoid the mistake of only focusing on what’s missing in your life. Balance your drive for change with an appreciation of the here-and-now and your sense of disillusionment will go.

3) It’s cold and dark outside Seasonal affective disorder, or the winter blues, is thought to affect up to two million people in the UK as the lack of natural sunlight leads us to feel depressed and lethargic. How to turn it around: There is hope: the days are already getting longer, and January averages less rain and more hours of sunshine than December. Boost your mood by making a lunchtime walk a daily habit. Just 30 minutes of natural light, even weak winter sunlight, can be enough to make you feel happier and energised. Don’t let the wintry weather put you off your exercise routine either.

‘When it’s cold and dark outside, it is much more tempting to curl up on the sofa than to put on your tracksuit and brave the elements,’ says fitness coach Kristoph Thompson. ‘But exercise leaves you happier and more motivated. ‘Always have a backup plan so if your outside exercise is impossible due to weather conditions, you know what to do instead. Swimming makes a good plan B if it’s too rainy to run. ‘Where possible, aim to exercise during daylight hours, whether it’s before work, in your lunch break or at the weekend.’

Age Action Alliance: Ageing and growing old are not the same thing

Old Age creeps up on you oh so stealthily then suddenly WHAM! – it hits you like a steam train.

At first, we just notice we groan a bit as we get up (or down) from the chair – so tend to sit for longer; then we might huff and puff walking up the stairs – so we take the escalator instead; carrying the shopping is hard work – so we wheel a trolley and park as close as we can to the supermarket door. Basically, we do less and try to make life easier.

Denial is a strong human trait, none of us likes to think we are getting older or admit to any decline in our abilities or levels of activity. Yet nature deals us a cruel triple whammy as every year our muscles waste, bone density reduces and our joints become stiffer.  Sounds gloomy, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

We have all seen photographs of centenarian marathon runners or body builders in their 90s – they are exceptional – but we don’t have to give into the ‘pipe and slippers’ just because the clock is ticking. Research has produced an overwhelming amount of evidence to show just how important it is to exercise – at any age. But just the word, exercise, is enough to put us off. So the new mantra should be to just MOVE MORE!

I have listened to, worked with and taught thousands of people who thought they were “past it” or “shouldn’t” or “couldn’t” – but they are not and they should and they can! With encouragement, persistence and a little knowledge, it is amazing what can be achieved. Once you start, just 10 minutes will suffice, the desire to do a little more comes naturally. The benefits can seem minor but they make a huge difference to our quality of life and are self-perpetuating.


The question I get asked most often is, “What should I do…?”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but we do know that to stop the clock we should do a combination of strengthening, aerobic and flexibility exercises. These form the basis of everything else and leads to better health, balance and quality of life. This is why I have put together a library of free exercises, guides and videos. They’re all simple, fun and easy-to-follow. Just 20 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise can help you to stay stronger and more mobile. Just go to for advice on how to get started.

Professor Janet Lord, expert in active ageing, explains, “…it is never too late to start. Even if you are already beginning to struggle with daily tasks, these exercises will allow you to take control and turn back the clock!”

Click here for the full article

10 tips to make your New Year’s resolution a success from NHS Choices

By on 01 05, 2015 in ActivitiesResolution

Most of us will make a New Year’s resolution – maybe to lose weight, quit smoking or drink less – but only one in 10 of us will achieve our goal.

Psychologists have found we’re more likely to succeed if we break our resolution into smaller goals that are specific, measurable and time-based.

Professor Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, tracked 5,000 people as they attempted to achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

His team found that those who failed tended not to have a plan, which made their resolution soon feel like a mountain to climb.

Some focused too much on the downside of not achieveing their goal, adopted role models, fantasised about their goal or relied on will power alone.

“Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts but our results suggest that they simply don’t work,” says Prof Wiseman.

“If you are trying to lose weight, it’s not enough to stick a picture of a model on your fridge or fantasise about being slimmer.”

He said the 10% of participants in the study who had achieved their target broke their goal into smaller goals and felt a sense of achievement when they achieved these.

“Many of the most successful techniques involve making a plan and helping yourself stick to it,” says Prof Wiseman.

Top 10 goal-setting tips

Prof Wiseman’s top 10 tips to achieving your New Year’s resolution:

1. Make only one resolution. Your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.

2. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your resolution and instead take some time out a few days before and reflect upon what you really want to achieve.

3. Avoid previous resolutions. Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.

4. Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.

5. Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable and time-based.

6. Tell your friends and family about your goals. You’re more likely to get support and want to avoid failure.

7. Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim.

8. Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, thus maintaining motivation and a sense of progress.

9. Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.

10. Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether.

Getting started

Below are some of the most common New Year health resolutions, with links to help you get started and achieve your goal.

Lose Weight
Get practical tips to lose excess weight, including getting started, healthy food swaps, and see our 12-week weight loss plan.

Quit Smoking
We’ve got all you need to help you achieve your goal to stop smoking, including ordering a free Quit Kit, getting support and tracking your progress.

Get active
Boost your fitness with fun and practical ideas to help you get into shape, including Couch to 5K, Strength and Flex and our 12-week fitness plan.

Drink less alcohol
Calculate your units, get tips on cutting down, track your drinking and find out where to get help and support.

Eat more fruit and veg
Whether you’re cooking for a family or eating on the go, our tips and recipes can help you get your 5 A DAY.

See the full article here provides us with 10 fun tips for grandparents at Christmas

Christmas is a great time for families getting together and different generations bonding over wonderful traditions. However, for the generations with the biggest age gap it can be difficult to find common ground and for them to find an activity that they will both enjoy. Here’s a few ideas for when the dinner has been eaten, the presents opened and the Queen’s speech watched on Christmas day or any of the surrounding dates.

Gifts they can both enjoy

If you are picking the present from your child to their grandparents try and choose something that they both might enjoy such as some of the ideas below. A simple game, or toy like a yo-yo, may be fun or sweets are likely to go down well!

Introduce each other to their childhood games

As with the yo-yo, there are likely to be games played by the grandparents in their youth that today’s children will enjoy. On the other side of the coin, Grandma may enjoy having a go on a game app on the tablet, or joining in with a game you play at home.

Do some of the Christmas cooking together

Maybe this could be the start of a new tradition, so while mum or dad take care of the main bits of the Christmas meals, Granddad and grandchild can prepare the dessert or one element of the main course. Just make sure the main cook is not too inconvenienced!

Put on a performance

For the more musical or theatrical perhaps Grandma can direct or star in a play or musical display with the grandchildren. A simple play about Christmas, re-enacting a favourite story or singing a few carols will provide some honest entertainment before everyone has their traditional nap.

Make some Christmas crafts

Christmas provides a great opportunity to get the arts and crafts kit out. See if Granddad wants to help to make some decorations or drawing some festive scenes. If it is in the days running up to the main event, they could create some Christmas cards to be exchanged on the day.

Take a favourite DVD

Films such as Frozen or other Disney favourites appeal to all ages. Have a family viewing of the little ones’ favourite film and watch Grandma become the latest fan of the animated classics.

Go for a ride out

This is one which can benefit from the help of care at home services. If there is another person to help out with the domestic tasks, then it is perhaps worth stepping out and seeing a local tourist attraction such as zoo or aquarium.

Complete a jigsaw puzzle

Here is one classic activity enjoyed by young and old. Bring a few puzzles of different levels to the Christmas Day gathering and see what they can achieve when they put their heads together.

Get the photo album out

It will be interesting and educational to show the youngest family members pictures of the family ancestry, especially ones which show the grandparents in their younger year.

Go for a walk

A nice brisk Christmas Day walk can help everyone digest the big dinner and the change of scenery will have benefits to everyone’s mood and health.

See the full article here

Yo Yo

The Royal Voluntary Service: You’re invited for Christmas

Community ChristmasNo older person should spend Christmas Day alone if they don’t want to and that’s why this year The Royal Voluntary Service has joined forces with Community Christmas to help older people who’d otherwise be on their own to find a local event where they can share a celebration.

Community Christmas is a one-stop-shop for older people, their families, friends and carers to search for options to join in on Christmas Day close to home.

Do you or someone you know not have any plans for Christmas Day?

To find a warm Christmas welcome for yourself or a friend, neighbour or loved one, go to or call 0844 4430662.

Just search by town or postcode for events and activities happening up and down the country for Christmas 2014 that have their doors open and welcome older people on Christmas Day. Things to do include social events at local community centres, social clubs and pubs offering a hearty Christmas Day lunch and many can even help you get there by providing transport.

Click here to see The Royal Voluntary Service Website

Do you want to share your Christmas this year?

Do you have an event, activity or able to offer support to older people on Christmas Day? Visit the Community Christmas website to register your details and help to make Christmas happier for an older person near you.

Stay fit and healthy this winter

By on 10 13, 2014 in ActivitiesHealth and Wellbeing

It may be cold (and rainy!) outside but winter needn’t be the unhealthiest time of year for you and those around you.

Here are five ways to make sure that even when your body is telling you to hibernate you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather’s like:

1. Eliminate your sleep debt

“On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours recommended,” says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at the Sleep Council, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing. But in winter, we naturally sleep more, due to the longer nights. “It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold,” says Jessica. “Use the time to catch up.”

2. Keep exercising in the winter months

Make exercise a winter priority to make sure you stay fit and healthy as the weather gets colder. Find a winter buddy to exercise with at least once a week, or someone to be accountable to. You can keep each other motivated during this period. Trick yourself by making your goals more achievable by telling yourselves that you are going to exercise for just, say, 15 minutes per session. Most likely, when you get to that stage, you will want to keep going.

3. Eat more fruit and veg

When it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins.

Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat.

4. Try new activities

Don’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, why not try out a new activity, maybe ice-skating, taking a bracing winter walk on the beach or exploring your local park in the different seasons. Regular exercise helps to control your weight, boost your immune system and is a good way to break the tension and boredom that can result from being constantly cooped up inside the house.

5. Have a hearty breakfast

Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps you to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre, which give you energy and help you to feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals. Avoid adding sugar or salt. Instead add a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana or other fruit for extra flavour and to help you hit the five-a-day target.

With thanks to the NHS and the Telegraph.

Warm in Winter


The Age Of No Retirement? Visbuzz joins the debate.

By on 09 29, 2014 in Activities

This week employers, policy makers, corporations (big and small), designers, artists, academics, inventors and social commentators will come together in a free event to explore the social and economic opportunities of a Britain in which the average person now lives. ‘The Age of No Retirement?‘ is a landmark event, a national debate about the opportunities in a society where we are living longer, which will look to break new ground and imagine new futures.

We are used to hearing about the demographic time bomb, baby boomers and the unsustainable cost of the ever-growing older generation. But, people are now living longer, healthier and more productively than ever before. In other words, we are younger for longer. So we need to start thinking in terms of positives, and what this means for the UK: a fit, educated work force that possesses that most valuable of assets – experience. And we can’t let all this talent go to waste.

The event will use talks from experts, open stakeholder debates, and participatory workshops, plus the involvement of artists to bring the insights to life. At the end of two days of thinking the co-authored insights will be pulled together and recorded in one unique collection of new ways of thinking.

The organisers hope to change thinking on a massive scale and ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ starting on the 1st October is the first step in this process.

‘The Age of No Retirement?’ is about breaking away from the patterns of the past and tuning into new opportunities and possibilities. The two days are about working collectively with openness. They are about asking ‘what kind of world do we want to live in?’, ‘isn’t there a way to change what we have for the better?’, ‘how can we create a better society for our children and our grandchildren?’ Trading Times and Commonland.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014 and Thursday, 2 October 2014. Southbank, United Kingdom. Register for your free tickets here.

No retirement

Staying in Touch

By on 09 08, 2014 in Activities

Last week marked the beginning of new stages of life for lots of children and young adults. New schools, new classes, new teachers, new friends, and with some people getting ready to start college and university, the mix of excitement and trepidation could be felt in the air. Parents watching children grow up faster and faster trying to hang on to them as long as possible, before they grow up too fast.

We all go through different stages in our lives, and after having a bit of a clear out last week, I found some letters in the loft. My memory is not to be relied upon so I find photos and letters really nudge my memory and help me to remember previous events, friends and general happenings. The letters were from people I had been friends with at school, and from friends at college and even a friend from work. As technology has become more advanced, we generally move forward with it, so I had forgotten the amount of letters I used to write. Now it is an occasional card to friends.

We make friends throughout our lives, and we have different friendship groups depending on the activity we are involved in. School friends, neighbourhood friends, work friends, friends we meet through clubs, friends we grow up with. With the advent of social media, children growing up now will have Facebook friends they may never even meet, however these people can still be a valid source of help, support and enjoyment.

I am still friends with some people from school, and university and I cherish those friendships and the history we share. Looking at the pile of letters, some of the people who I wrote to as a child, or as a teenager, I no longer see. I wonder how they are and what their lives have become, however just because I have limited or no contact with them now, it does not diminish the impact we had on each other’s lives. Every friendship, kind word and smile will have made me into the person I am today.

So, here is to all the children with new beginnings, and new friends who will shape them into the amazing people they will become.


Playing in the woods.

Today we share a post from The National Trust and their Outdoor Nation Blog posted on August 15, 2014.

It’s not just children who need play, argues Fiona Harrower, Visitor Experience Manager at Hatfield Forest.

Virtually all of my favourite childhood memories involve playing outdoors.  Even now, when I’m meant to be grown-up, I still can’t resist a puddle or balancing along a fallen tree.

Den building at Hatfield. © Fiona Harrower

For the last couple of years we have celebrated the national Play Day at Hatfield Forest with one goal: to encourage play with no play equipment.  With a thousand acres of woodland and grassy plains to explore this should have been a realistic challenge.

Or at least you would have thought so.

But I’ve noticed that many of our visiting parents are desperate for a trail to follow, a map to highlight where to play, actual trees and logs signposted as okay to play on.  Whereas their children, when allowed to just play freely, are quite happy to find their own spots, make their own games and use their imagination.

So our role is to teach the parents how to play in the outdoors, as the kids are experts at it already.  With a large number of veteran trees, we have an added challenge of balancing the promotion of natural play with the conservation of Hatfield Forest.

The 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 campaign has helped us to promote our no need for play equipment message, by giving us a tool to spark families’ imagination.  The scrapbooks, and even more so the stickers, are a big hit.  Our top play activities at Hatfield Forest are tree climbing, den building, making grass trumpets, exploring inside a tree and making mud pies.  We hold Wild Wednesdays throughout the summer holidays and have over 150 children participating each week.

Pie making during Mud Week! © Fiona Harrower

But play isn’t limited to Wednesdays only; it’s something we promote every day.

Play is one of the simplest ways to get kids outdoors.  The health benefits are clear.  Ask a child if they want to go on a five mile hike and you may get a moan, but spend hours running through long grass, climbing trees and building dens and they won’t notice they’re ‘exercising’.

Play is a universal way of connecting people to the outdoors.  It’s something children intrinsically know what to do.  We just need to give adults the permission to play too.

My 30 days of Adventure.

By on 08 26, 2014 in ActivitiesAdventure

My 30 days of Adventure.

On 25th July, along with Psychologies magazine, I started my 30 days of adventure. As of Saturday 23rd August my 30 days were complete. I must say, it was not easy. Adventure is such a big word. It is powerful and full of expectation and promise. Well, I made it work as best I could.

My 30 days of adventure included a wide range of activities, and these activities conjured up a plethora of emotions. Some activities were peaceful and led me to times of thoughtfulness and contemplation, these included paint by numbers, magnet craft and a walk in the park in the sunshine. In contrast, the result of me saying yes more meant I socialised more often, spoke more to people that I already knew, and got to know those I did not. I got involved in different running clubs and visited new places. These activities made me feel happy and gave me a sense of achievement and fulfilment.

The activities that were particularly adventurous for me were those that were right out of my comfort zone, those that made me think “really, me, oh dear!”. In this group I include driving someone else’s car, joining a new social group, driving to new places and in particular taking a new route which included an extremely small single lane track.

There are still some adventurous activities from the past 30 days to come to fruition, for example on one day I booked tickets to the Invictus Games. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women and the Games are about survival in the face of adversity and the strength of the human spirit. I’ll be going to watch the Games in a couple of weeks.

My adventures will go on, and I will continue to be more open to things which are not part of the routine, and will no doubt drag some unsuspecting individuals with me along my way. I must simply remember to keep saying yes more.

Find out how Psychologies got on here.


My 30 days of Adventure.

By Harriett on 08 26, 2014 in ActivitiesAdventure

My 30 days of Adventure. On 25th July, along with Psychologies magazine, I started my 30 days of adventure. As of Saturday 23rd August my 30 days were complete. I must say, it was not easy. Adventure is such a big word. It is powerful and full of expectation and promise. Well, I made it [...]


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