At a train the trainers event for community workers in Salford, 2007 I asked what sort of new organisations the group would create. A youth worker called Abby Prince suggested a place where older people could be pampered. I loved the idea and, in discussion with my friend Helen Morris, it evolved into a hand massage project for those who are isolated. (One million people over 65 say they are lonely and 5 million say TV is their main companion*). Five years later, I organised a training session in partnership with Haringey Age UK for volunteers on how to do hand massage. There were 25 volunteers and our trainer was the wonderful Clare Maxwell-Hudson. Since then, volunteers have given hand massages to people via Contact the Elderly tea parties and a Spots of Time pamper day in east London care homes and I offered hand massage in memory clinics and assisted living homes in Cambridge, USA. Research shows great benefits including more energy and decreased depression. We hope the project will spread far and wide. Information about the hand massage project in Haringey, London.
*Campaign to End Loneliness, UK 2012
Hand Massage Training at Age UK Haringey, January 2012
‘If we could but recognise our common humanity, that we belong together, that our destinies are bound up with one another’s… we can only survive together.’ (Desmond Tutu)