By June 25, 2014 Read More →

Unusual jobs – literary service for the elderly

Literary service for the elderly - Sophia Moseley
Sophia Moseley is a home working freelance copywriter

whose experience looking after her aging mother

inspired her to set up a literary service for the elderly.

She explains in this guest post what she does

and how it helps.

As the world population continues to age, we are faced with the dilemma of how to look after our parents whose health may deteriorate due to a stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, or extreme frailty.

Of course it is possible that a parent continues with a happy and healthy life that is independent of extra help, but the indicators are that these fortunates are in the minority.

My father was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2010. It is a truly vile disease and after several violent outbursts, he was eventually sectioned in late 2011. It was heart-breaking to watch the disintegration of his once great mind. He died in 2012.

In the meantime my mother’s physical health went into rapid decline and she became house-bound. Unable to fit in with the ‘system’ and desperate to stay in her own home, she had care workers going in four times a day and night and I visited her every week.

But she was excruciatingly lonely and would often phone me 20 times in one day just to find out what I was doing. Unfortunately it all went pear shaped and after displaying the classic symptoms of calling the emergency services and several stays in hospital, she was put into a care home.

It was these events that made me realise there must be many other people in a similar situation. People who want to stay in their own homes but who don’t want to be a tick in the box of a care worker. People who would like to, but for whatever reason cannot, be near their family. And people who enjoy stimulating conversation to make them feel they still have something to offer the world.

That’s why I set up Creative Conversation and Companionship, a bespoke literary service designed specifically for the elderly that I run alongside my other writing services.

It’s a personalised programme that focusses on conversation, reading and writing to try and maintain a manageable level of mental stimulation.

I will draw up a plan that is specific to a person’s enjoyment, whether it’s reading poetry, keeping a journal or doing the crossword. My aim is to enhance the life of an individual who prefers the comfort of their own home but at the same time craves company. I will draw on their past life and experiences to create a bespoke package that suits their needs.

Each session lasts an hour (or longer if required) and the first hour visit is free during which time I will agree a plan including the structure of each session and the number of visits required.

Of course there is no reason why it cannot take the simple form of a friendly chat! Books, newspapers, magazines, pens and other materials can also be supplied.

After sending out a press release I received several calls, some from people who had experienced their own personal challenge with an elderly relative and who were offering to help me with visits, which reassured me I had struck a chord. I also approached several care homes who are very interested in the programme.

But it was the elderly people themselves who contacted me that made me realise there is a growing number of people out there who are no longer as active as they once were. People whose outlook on life has altered without them realising it, and who do not want to appear unable to cope with the insecurity and isolation that can accompany old age.

I also discovered that these people have many fascinating stories to tell about their lives or some great event that they witnessed. At the time it may have seemed unimportant but now it is a wonderful tale to share with others, especially family members.

So many stories to tell but no one to hear them. So many stories to tell that if not written down, will one day be gone for ever. Which is why I have started to keep a diary of one man in particular I visit in the Dorset town of Bridport who I have called ‘Mr B’.

My decision to work from home has meant not only being here for my young sons, but also for my aging mother who, whilst in a care home, needs the reassurance that she is still a person who has value. And with my new literary service for the elderly, I can now visit others in their own home making the work from home philosophy even more valuable.

work from home secrets

Sophia’s Creative Conversation and Companionship literary service for the elderly has a number of different services that can be matched to the individual in both time and content.

My tweets with Sophia inspired the Through the Home Office Keyhole series – have a look at her video of her kitchen table workspace.

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