THEATRE COMPANY TAKES CARE HOME DILEMMAS ‘OUT OF THE DARKNESS’

by Kate Foster

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

19 SEP OUT OF DARKNESS ENSEMBLEA theatre company is helping politicians and those working in the housing and care sector understand the dilemmas faced by families when an older person requires care and support.

Elgin-based Out of the Darkness Theatre Company is working with Bield, Scotland’s leading provider of housing and care for older people, to develop a series of short plays that give an insight into the feelings of older people when they need extra support.

The play ‘Next Steps’ tells the story of a son who needs support for his mother. The characters assume the only option is a care home, but realise that there are housing options for older people available. This sits alongside Bield’s vision where older people are free to choose the level of care they need, when they need it, remaining independent for as long as they can.

The audience are encouraged to ask the actors questions about how the characters feel, and the performers answer the questions whilst ‘in character’.

The play was performed at Bield’s AGM in Edinburgh last week. Another play highlighting similar themes will be performed at a fringe event at the SNP conference in Perth on 17 October.

The productions provide a platform for Bield to underline its commitment to providing Scotland’s older people with the level of care and support they want, when they need it.

Brian Logan, Bield’s Chief Executive, said: “The idea behind these performances was to highlight how families feel when faced with the dilemma of looking for extra care and support for older family members.

“The issue here is that the mother needs to be safe and secure, but the family believe the only option is a care home. Then they realise there are other options. This realisation helps to reaffirm Bield’s ‘Free to Be’ philosophy of providing the level of care that our tenants need, when they need it.”

Actress Tina McGeever, from Out of the Darkness, said of ‘Next Steps’: “We created a scenario that focuses on Bield’s strategy of providing housing with care. These characters assume that the only option is a care home, and the mother doesn’t want to do that.

“But there are other options, such as housing with extra support when she needs it, and that is what the family decide to do. We found this play really fascinating to devise, because it is a scenario that many families do face.”

Bield, a registered charity, provides housing and care designed especially for older people. They provide a variety of supported housing options from amenity, retirement and very sheltered housing through to residential care homes.

They have developed from humble beginnings, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness to become a major provider of a wide range of housing and care services for around 20,000 older people across 22 local authority areas.

Moray-based Out of the Darkness Theatre Company is an independent full time professional theatre company with charitable status, committed to combating social exclusion.

Private: Kate Foster

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