Trust staff give talks to support the health and wellbeing of older people in local Afro-Caribbean communities

Date: 31/08/2022 | Category: News 2022

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust staff, including nurses and therapists, signed up to run sessions to support older people in the local Afro-Caribbean community, as part of the Wycombe Multicultural Organisation’s six-week health and wellbeing programme.

The programme ran from 15 July to 19 August 2022. Senior Citizens were encouraged to sign up and attend the weekly Friday sessions at Hilltop Community Centre. Participants received a free health talk or took part in light chair exercises and were able to socialise whilst enjoying a freshly prepared meal.

Talks given by Trust staff included Consultant Nurse Jo Birrell who ran a memory clinic and one about urine infections, Clinical Nurse lead in Ophthalmology Stephanie Hartley and Patient Relationship Manager Claire Summerfield on Diabetic Retinopathy/Ophthalmology, as well as Research Sister Nicola Bowers on a Healthy Heart/Cardia Rehab Programme.

Reflecting on one of her sessions, CN Jo Birrell said: “People attending the session knew when to worry about memory but did not know how to get the help. The Memory Clinic talk highlighted that concerns about memory are not a one-off assessment – it is about gathering information over at least six months and then working out what is normal to forget.

“At the end of the talk people said they felt more confident about keeping a history of loved ones they were concerned about, but I also came away in complete awe of how many people are managing without formal support. The group were incredibly welcoming to speakers and keen to learn from us but also to share their own experiences.

Chairman of the WMCO, Brian Lewis, said: “We wanted to organise a 6-week gathering for our senior citizens to test if there was a demand for it and were pleasantly surprised at the fantastic turnout. Each week we arranged for a discussion on common health issues affecting our senior citizens followed by a fitness programme and then finally a traditional Caribbean lunch. The feedback was very positive with 100% rating the health discussions as excellent, useful and insightful. We also want to continue the programme so I would like to encourage people to get in touch with us about how they can volunteer to help.”

Keen volunteers should either call WMCO on 07999 782730 or 07837 664792 or email to get involved.