Simon’s Tower visit.

Simon and Terry

I am 25 years old and I have been working for ACE IT for 4 years, my main role is to teach basic IT to the 50+ age group located in George Street, Edinburgh. Even though I have been part of the team for years I have not once visited one of the Moose in the Hoose care homes. On the 21st Jun 2011 this was about to change.

Before my visit I really did not know what to expect. One vision I did have (worst case scenario) was the residents all sitting round in a circle looking quite gloomy with our Moose in the Hoose volunteers working on the computers dictating everything. I guess most people under the age of 30 look at care homes as being sad, dull places. Now I myself am terrible for always stereotyping individuals or groups, so I wanted to visit a care home and see what it is really like.

Ok back to my visit. I arranged to meet the wonderful Terry Blair who manages the Moose project, she met me at the front door and let me in to the dragons den. My first impressions were it was a bit quiet, but not in a bad way, it was relaxed. The interior was a bit outdated, but on the whole it looked alright, my nerves vanished. Nerves? Yes that’s right for some reason I was nervous.

Simon and Terry
The initial task for any visitors coming in to a care home is sanitizing your hands to stop spreading any germs through contact. After the disinfecting Terry led me in to a decent sized room with chairs all around the walls, the room also had 2 desktop PCs and one laptop. Our first job was to check the inventory, and then test some of the computer hardware to make sure that it is working correctly. While finishing the testing one of the care home workers brought in an elderly gentlemen named Tony, we each introduced ourselves and Terry sat him down in front of one of the Desktop PCs. The Moose Volunteers who usually take the sessions had not turned up yet as it was still early with the sessions not meaning to start for another 10 minutes.

After Tony’s departure I was greeted with friendly faces that I recognised from past ACE IT events, John and Helen, the Moose in the Hoose volunteers. As soon as coming in they were away again rounding up some keen residents. John and Helen came back with two and a few minutes later we were joined by a third. The first resident I met was Beth. Now Beth looked a healthy 70-year-old, but it turned out she was 98 and later informed me that in a fortnight she would be 99. If I live to be that age and look that good I am going to be one happy chap. Beth and I chatted for around 15 minutes, well Beth chatted for around 15 minutes. She told me about the care home workers taking her and some more residents out to the casino and how lovely and thick the carpets were there. She told me about how the care home workers organised a ‘Come Dine With Me’ event with other care homes. She told me about their month long Royal Wedding party. She told me even more and I am thinking these care homes don’t seem too bad at all.

While still talking to Beth, who seems to have a better social life than myself, we were interrupted by Terry who needed my help in the technical department. After doing my bit to help there was now a table that consisted of tea, coffee and beautifully made fairy cakes with fresh cream. John offered to make everyone their hot beverage of choice and I helped myself to one of the cakes, which tasted even better than it looked. I sat down beside the second resident and we were introduced to each other. Her name was Mae. I could tell straight away that she was going to be just as friendly as Beth.

Terry, John, Mae and myself got into the conversation of what she would like to do on the computer today, Mae was easy, she just wanted to hang out and not go on the computer, but when we got talking about listening to singers from the past we had found her wish. Unfortunately we couldn’t use the computers straight away as they were occupied, so I offered the services of my Iphone. She told me that she wanted, Howard Keel of course, I found one of his songs, gave my Iphone over and she started a wee jig in her seat. She looked delighted.

Soon after this it was time up for Terry and myself. I never managed to get a chance to talk to the third resident Alex, but I am sure he would of been just as kind as the other two. My time at the Tower care home was very beneficial, I could see it wasn’t as glum as the vision I had. I would of enjoyed more of a tour and see what other residents got up to, perhaps I can use that as an excuse for another visit. Moose in the Hoose gives these residents another activity to keep themselves active and gives them a chance to see the present technology in action.

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