In a week when the focus has been on the challenges facing carers, it’s timely that a research study will start tomorrow at Lincoln Golf Centre to look at the impact our golf sessions have on the lives of carers.
Sociology students from The University of Lincoln will be conducting a study into the difference our golf sessions make to the lives of carers as well as looking at the wider societal impact of our service.
It’s part of an ongoing partnership with the university that has already provided invaluable evidence on the power of our golf therapy. When discussing the options for future projects we wanted to find an area of our social impact that was still to be fully evaluated. We all agreed “let’s research the impact it’s having on the carers and their families”
Tomorrow will see the research begin with the final report being published later this year.
Without wanting to pre-empt the final report, I’m going to share with you my gut instinct as to what some of the findings will be. You don’t spend four years working with families living with dementia without getting an intimate understanding of the challenges they face and the reasons as to why you have become such an important part of their lives.
So here we go….
- They don’t need to be there
- It’s provided breathing space
- They have made new friends and support networks
- They can now consider doing things they enjoy themselves
- They can keep working
- We involve them
- They know that their loved one is having a good time
- Improved outlook on life
- Chance to share challenges and problems
- Not judgemental
As you can imagine I could continue and go through all the amazing case studies on the deep and meaningful impact of our golf sessions have had on the carers we support – but let’s wait for the findings from the research project.
When we initially started scoping the project I asked the students “how many of your families have been touched by dementia?” Seventy five percent put their hands up.. Say no more.
I was very taken by their passionate desire to get involved with our project and their professionalism in scoping the research.
After all the preparation, I can’t wait for tomorrow when I’ll have the chance to finally introduce the carers to the students.
My gut instinct on how this will go? I think you can guess the answer to this one. xxx
In a week that saw the country come to a halt because of freezing conditions and a sprinkling of snow it was heartening to know that two of our three golf sessions went ahead.
The snow got the better of us in Glasgow but we came back strongly in Harrogate with a bumper turnout of 25 golfers. Considering the frozen greens and icy conditions the quality of play and camaraderie was a joy to behold.
Freezing fog and temperatures of – 8 degrees looked certain to keep our golfers off the course at Lincoln on Thursday – but they were having none of it as they were determined to venture out and play a few holes.
For those of you that have played golf on a frosted course you will know what I mean when I say it’s more like a game of “ping-pong”, especially around the greens. A perfectly hit approach shot bounces twenty feet in the air off the frosted grass and disappears into the bushes never to be seen again. Playing from a bunker becomes more like hitting a shot off a concrete or tarmac surface. Putting becomes tricky as your ball gathers ice and becomes a mini snow ball as it heads (ever slower) towards the hole. Golf is a hard enough game to play at the best of times – let alone frosty conditions.
So some of you will say – why did you bother taking golfers living with dementia & Parkinson’s out in such conditions? The answer is simple.
No matter what the weather the carers need their weekly break. Our golfers look forward to it as they see it as the highlight of their week. So it’s our job to find a way, whenever possible to keep to our commitment of providing weekly sessions for the families we support. Our experience and expertise allows us to adapt to most challenges thrown at us and still deliver an enjoyable and rewarding session.
Keeping this commitment is much easier when you have people really enjoying themselves and overcoming challenges to make sure they get the most from their day out. I remember once on a rainy day suggesting that we might not venture out onto the course – my golfers were having none of it as they pulled on their waterproofs and headed out for their “weekly golfing fix”.
So when you reflect on the fact that despite the icy conditions and low temperatures we’ve still managed to give over 30 golfers the chance to have a great day out, and the carers a priceless break too, you can see why my team have a “Ready Break glow” around them knowing what a difference they’ve made to people’s lives this week.
Golf In Society proved this week how you can take on the big freeze and prevail.