Meet the new Scheme Manager for The Dulwich Almshouse

12 February 2021

Barbara Purkiss explains how she works with residents and the importance of the Almshouse to independent living.

What is your role at The Dulwich Almshouse - how do you help residents?

I see my role as a facilitator, enabling the residents of Edward Alleyn house to live happy and fulfilled lives. I support independent living by building and maintaining good relationships with residents and their support network, by acknowledging how they want to live their lives and by ensuring that they have access to all useful and relevant organisations and services that can support them to do this.

I carry out a daily welfare check of residents, help them to resolve day-to-day issues as they arise, promote social activities and give some practical support when required. I also have administrative and practical duties to ensure the safe and efficient management of the Almshouse.

Residents are over 60 years old and our oldest resident is 90. They are of different ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs and interests. They live independent lives, most of them receiving minimal support with daily tasks although sometimes they need extra care through an external care package.

Currently, face-to-face social activities are of course sadly on hold due to COVID-19, but hopefully we will be able to restart these over the next few months.

What is your experience and background in working with older people?

I trained originally as an adult general nurse and worked in a variety of hospitals within central London. I have over 20 years’ experience of working within elderly care and worked for 16 years as Sheltered Scheme Manager. I am passionate about elderly care and always excited by the opportunity to support this client group to live happy and fulfilling lives, as I believe that the later years of life can and should one of the most enjoyable periods of one’s life.

What do you think the value is of the Almshouse in a community like Dulwich?

The Almshouse is invaluable in a community like Dulwich as it provides affordable accommodation with support for elderly people in need. It enables residents, who have often spent many years living in the area, to remain close to their families and networks, and in a position to continue to play an active role in their community.

As a beneficiary of The Dulwich Estate, the Almshouse is also able to work with other beneficiaries and collaborate on a whole range of activities and events that enrich the lives not just of the residents of the Almshouse, but of people of all ages and backgrounds from across the area.