RESIDENTS are being advised to be extra vigilant following two distraction offences in west Surrey yesterday (Thursday, 26 January) in which suspects have claimed to be police officers.
In Lightwater, an 86-year-old woman opened her front door to two men, one of whom said he was a policeman and had two boys in his car who he believed had been in the householder’s garden having stolen money. The resident allowed the uninvited callers inside and went to go upstairs to check if anything was stolen, before realising she had no cash in the house. The intruders left without taking anything. The incident happened sometime between 5.55pm and 6.50pm.
The suspects are described as two white men. The first is described as 5ft 9” tall, in his late thirties and of a medium build, with short dark brown hair. He was wearing a navy blue suite, navy blue duffle style jacket and a shirt and tie.
The second suspect is described as 5ft 6” tall, of a similar age to the first suspect and of a dumpy build. He had dark hair and was wearing similar style clothing to his colleague.
In a second incident in the Sheerwater area of Woking, three men gained entry into a property where the resident had been asleep at around 8.50pm. The householder was disturbed and got up to find one man in the doorway and asked what he was doing there. The suspect said he was a police officer and produced what appeared to be a warrant card.
He told the 56-year-old resident that they had found a homeless boy climbing through the window and the victim was required at the police station for interview. A second man, also impersonating a police officer, pretended to detain a young man.
The victim refused to go with the suspects and said he was going to call the police instead. The offenders then said they had the wrong man and left the property empty handed via the front door.
The first suspect who spoke to the resident is described as being in his mid thirties, around 5ft 8” tall and of a medium build with a big nose. He spoke with what is described as an Albanian accent and was wearing a dark winter jacket with a dark baseball cap.
The second suspect is described as being a man, between 5ft 4” and 5ft 6” tall. The third man is described as being white, 6ft tall, between 18 and 20-years-old and of a slim build. He was clean shaven with a clear fresh complexion. He was wearing a snood style face covering, similar to that worn by a motorcyclist.
Surrey Police is appealing for anyone who may recognise the descriptions of these offenders or who may have seen the suspects acting suspiciously in the vicinity around the time of the incidents, to contact officers as soon a possible.
Surrey Police recommends that if a resident is in any doubt as to the identity of a caller and posing as a police officer that they do not open the door, they ask for the officer’s identity number and that they call 101 to verify that the person is genuine.
Detective Inspector Andy Haslam said: “These are cruel and cowardly crimes which prey on the more vulnerable in our communities and we are advising residents to stay vigilant. Neighbours of elderly homeowners can help by making them aware of the potential pitfalls and keeping an eye out for suspicious people around their properties.
“Under no circumstances should you let an unexpected visitor into your home. Always stop to think whether you are expecting any callers, use the chain if you do decide to answer the door and check for identification before letting anyone in. Don’t be taken in by these con artists, however convincing their story may sound.
“Similarly it is imperative that all residents remain vigilant about home security and ensure that windows and doors are securely locked. If you are in need of crime prevention advice please contact your Safer Neighbourhood Team and speak to the Crime Reduction Advisor.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference Sh/12/337 or WK/12/539.GD/10/2113. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously and free of charge on 0800 555 111.
The following security tips are recommended by Surrey Police:
• Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times. Use spy holes to see the caller and if you do open the door, use a door chain if you have one.
• If you do let somebody in to your home, close the door behind them – distraction burglars often work in teams, where one will distract you whilst others sneak in through the insecure door.
• Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home; put it in the bank where it is safe.
• If you suspect a bogus caller is at your door call the police
http://www.surrey.police.uk/home.asp for further details
Last week I asked the question "Should all care homes provide internet access for residents?"
This post started with a tweet from @David_Hall reporting on research which stated that 60% of college students demand free wi-fi from their schools.bit.ly/Au8kan Obviously higher education in America is a very competitive market but it did make me think about how care homes are responding to the opportunities presented by digital technology.
The excellent Ageing and the use of the internet report from the Nominet Trust @nominettrust suggests that internet use amongst older people is growing. Older people’s reasons for using computers lie in two main areas: social activity and cultural integration. @Chill4usCarers describe internet access as a “window on the world” which I believe is even more important for people in residential care who can become very isolated.
Laing and Buisson list 21,500 care and nursing homes on their database. As I discovered checking theCare Quality Commission site and various online directories there is no easy way of finding out how many care homes provide internet access for residents. A search at FirstStop care homes directory using the keywords “internet access” identified six care homes with computers and internet access. I was particularly interested in access to Skype because it allows older people to keep connected with their family and friends. The Social Care Institute for Excellence @SCIE_socialcare lists the 951 ( SCIE have advised me that the original figure of 286 was incorrect) organisations who were successful in getting a grant from the Get Connected project. [Get Connected was a support programme which enabled providers of care for adults in England to access information and communication technology more effectively. The cost of the programme was £9.1 million.]
It is definitely worth reading the First Survey of Get Connected Grant Recipients from the Institute for Employment Studies (2011). The report gives examples of the ways in which technology is being used to improve the quality of life for residents in care and nursing homes and for individuals receiving domiciliary care services. It also mentions the benefits for staff as the technology has improved access to online training and information.
“ Residents reported being able to look at websites to do with their interests and hobbies, use internet shopping sites and communicate with family members, often overseas. Some had already noted beneficial impact on their carer’s ability to help manage their condition.”
The SCIE report makes a powerful case for the value of technology in care homes and also highlights the issues for staff unfamiliar with purchasing IT equipment. If I was looking for a care home I would want to know if they provided internet access and how they were using digital technology to enhance the lives of their residents.
An interesting comment that “ there is some indication that IT companies had increased their prices once applicants found out they had been successful. ” One of the consequences of government funded programmes?
Somewhat ambitiously I thought it would be interesting to find
out how many care homes and supported housing schemes provided
free wi-fi & Skype access. However @clarkmike helpfully pointed out
the approaches and services offered to a ‘resident’ of a care
home and a ‘tenant’ of extra care are different so at the moment
I am limiting my search to care homes. As you will see from the
Twitter conversation below I have asked various organisations for
help in finding out how many care homes provide wi-fi and Skype
access for residents. I will update this post when more
information is available but at the moment there does seem to be
a real information gap in this area.
This has generated a lot of debate across social media channels with some people expressing surprise that all care homes are not connected and I have been provided with some excellent case studies about the benefits of older people in care homes using the internet. DropBy has so much potential to connect people through technology. At the moment we do not know how many care homes encourage residents to use the internet.
I would be interested in members views.
Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days“.
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations“.
She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day, here’s what I remembered we did have….
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank from a water fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
Address to a Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Gone though you have, I heard your voice today.
Gone since you have, grief too in time will go,
Or share space with old joy; it must be so.
Rest then in peace, but spare us some elation.
Death cannot put down every conversation.
Over and out, as you once used to say?
Not on your life. You're on this line to stay.
A new year always makes us a bit nostalgic. If you are considering re-designing your home in 2012, it may be worth taking a stroll down memory lane for some vintage inspiration; as reliving the past can give you an interior design edge, whichever retro decade you choose.
After the First World War came the roaring Twenties. This prosperous decade saw the invention of the cocktail party and with it the cocktail dress. Interior designers were suddenly in demand to create fantasy rooms for stylish soirees.
Get the look: Replicate ‘Great Gatsby’ glamour by using mirrored surfaces and renaissance inspired shapes. Gilded mirrors a great for bringing this feel instantly to a room and are make it look bigger too.
The 1930s played host to the Great Depression. House prices fell and everyday items were more expensive. However, interior design managed to step up a notch. Minimalist Art Deco was the order of the day, which leant itself nicely to this austere period.
Get the look: Art deco has never really gone out of fashion. Pick up a glass dressing table from a boutique or have a rummage in your local charity shop for a bargain. You might even find a Willima Morris lamp tucked away among the bric-a-brac.
From 1939 to 1945 Britain was gripped by the Second World War. Most homes now featured a radio, or wireless, to keep updated with the war effort. Living rooms had a new purpose as family radio programmes were aired to boost morale. The mindset of Great Britain became very much about ‘make do and mend’, so homes became less about showing off and more about creating an environment to bring family and friends together.
Get the look: Shabby chic a la the 1940s is about mixing textures and muted tones to make a comfy space. You find lovely homely pieces and second hand furniture stores for next to nothing or you could embrace the do-it-yourself attitude and take up knitting or crochet yourself blanket. Your country needs you!
After the Second World War, Britain became more optimistic about the future. However, 1950s new builds were smaller than pre-war houses so people had to adjust to a more compact way of living. Television also made its way into Britain’s living rooms and the whole nation tuned in to watch Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.
Get the look: Add a little 50s kitsch with brightly coloured soft furnishings and knick knacks. For a modern version of the look, go for kitchen gadgets with an air of fun.
The 1960s were famous for their ‘anything goes’ attitude. While other decades were focused on modernism the 1960s interior design took inspiration from history and mixed all these influences together. Pop Art by designers such as Andy Warhol hung on Britain’s walls. Music began to influence design more as Top of the Pops came to our screens.
Get the look: Capture the essence of the 1960s for a look that Betty Draper would be proud of. The 1960s mantra (other than ‘free love’) was ‘all mod cons’, so mix retro styling with today’s gadgets to capture the feel of the decade.
The 1970s was a decade of contrasts. Strikes took up most of the 70s which ended with Margaret Thatcher coming into power in 1979. Conversely, white goods and household convenience products such as washing machines became more common and the first microwave was sold. Homes looked typically ‘retro’ with plastic features and loud wallpaper.
Get the look: If psychedelic styling is what you’re after, the 1970s is the era to draw inspiration from. Bold colours and clashing patterns can work well together in a modern home. Bubble chairs and durable, plastic furniture are practical and 70s chic, just leave the Artex well alone.
Today nearly 100 years since the Second World War we use influences from the past and combine them with today’s clean lines and technology to create a look that is comfortable, practical and liveable. We know that it’s fine to mix a TV bed with a vintage lampshade or contrast a leather sofa with a period fire place. The last century still inspires to create spaces which feel like home.
For more living room inspiration and furniture from sofas to office chairs, visit www.furniturevillage.co.uk.
He often came with me and almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.
He knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since he had passed on.
Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two..
Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how he had loved his steak.
Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blonde, slim and lovely in a soft green suit. I watched as she picked up a large package of T-bones, dropped them in her basket.. hesitated, and then put them back... She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.
She saw me watching her and she smiled. "My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know."
I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes.
"My husband passed away eight days ago," I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. "Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together."
She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.
I turned and pushed my trolley across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A pint, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone.
I placed the ice cream in my trolley and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blonde hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.
As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. "These are for you," she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. "When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for." She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again. I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision.
I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know?
Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn't alone.
Oh, you haven't forgotten me, have you? I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.
Every day be thankful for what you have and who you are.
Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings..
Thank you, Lord, that I can hear.
There are many who are deaf.
Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible.
Thank you, Lord, That I can see.
Many are blind.
Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising.
Thank you, Lord, that I have strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.
Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, tempers are short, and my children are so loud.
Thank you, Lord, for my family.
There are many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the picture in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced.
Thank you, Lord, for the food we have.
There are many who are hungry.
Even though the routine of my job often is monotonous.
Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.
Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest.
Thank you, Lord, for life.
And thank you for my friends.
A friend is someone we turn to when our spirits need a lift. A friend is someone to treasure.
For friendship is a gift. A friend is someone who fills our lives with Beauty, Joy and Grace and makes the world we live in a better and happier place.
You are my friend!
God bless you and yours.
The Health Lottery draw for 19 November, 2011. With so many good causes out there, it's good to know you're doing your part. The Health Lottery is a lottery game designed to help support local health causes. Visit http://www.healthlottery.co.uk/ for more information and to play online.