My name is Kathleen Hammond, I’m 27 and from Stewartstown, Mid Ulster. I’m married to a farmer and a mummy to a 6-month-old baby girl.
I am a private carer, and utilising that experience along with my business studies degree, I have set up my own business called Care by, Kathleen. It is a community where private carers can advertise themselves online for free and a place for private carers to learn, grow and connect with those needing private care. I also mentor carers on how to become a legal, efficient and successful self-employed private carer, with 1:1 sessions.
I’ve been a carer for over 9 years, and I have seen first-hand how loneliness effects so many people in NI, especially the elderly, and I wanted to use my platform to set up something to help combat it, and so, “Adopt A Grandparent” was born! I’m extremely passionate about our older people and their physical care is just as important as looking after their mental care – and this initiative just seemed perfect. The initiative encourages everyone to befriend an elderly person in our local community who is suffering from loneliness by sending them a letter.
The response to ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ was amazing and so unexpected. It is nothing shocking to hear that Covid 19 caused loneliness in older people to spike, and I think peoples own experience of isolation during this time has made people more aware that loneliness is a pandemic in itself.
As we are now starting to get back to normality it’s not as simple or easy for our older generation to do that. So it is so important that we as a community come together and show the older generation that we are here for them. Combating loneliness one letter at a time.
At the moment this campaign will last until the end of July. We are working with charities, local care businesses, community groups and families to dispatcher it the thousands of letters that we will receive. We have already had Adopt A Grandparent NI constituted, which means we will be back bigger better and more prepared next year. Since launching the programme I have been invited to a few events to talk on why it is so important that we combat loneliness in older people and how this campaign has become such a success. I am also delighted to share that Mid Ulster’s Age Friendly Strategy have asked me to get involved and suggest some key action plans on integrating the older generation into our community.
I am really looking forward to the future of Care By, Kathleen and especially the success of our Adopt a Grandparent scheme. We will tackle loneliness in the elderly, together!
Facebook – Care By Kathleen
Instagram – @_kathleenhammond