24 April 2015
Enabling Care Home Residents to Vote
Every individual has a right to vote this General Election and it’s important as a care provider that we encourage this right.
Statistics from the Institute for Public Policy Research show an impressive, “76% of over 65 year-olds voted in the last General Election,” but this figure dramatically reduces when it comes to older people living in residential care – a group described as one of the most-significant sections of our community.
Here at Hallmark, as part of our centred relationship approach, we inform and support any individual who can and wants to have their say in the democratic process and who may or may not lack access to registration facilities and polling places.
This short guide is tailored to helping residents in our care homes. It will explain ways that team members and relatives can stimulate interest in political matters and engage with residents who wish to vote.
How Hallmark Team Members Can Help
Each of our homes team members work very hard to ensure our residents feel valued and that they don’t feel isolated in the local community.
Here is a list of some of things we are doing in the lead up to the Elections to help combat this feeling.
Care Home Polling Station
We will be hosting a polling station into our home Ty Enfys in Cardiff this year. This will be a great opportunity for our residents to interact with members of the local community and vote in the traditional way that many of them are used to.
The reception of the home will admit the polling staff at 6:30 am on 7th May and will be vacated by 10.15 pm on polling day. For details of the home address and if you wish to attend please click here for further information.
Political Discussion Groups
Bucklesham Grange, our care home in Ipswich is holding a political discussion group for our residents in the lead up to the General Elections. Party representatives will also be attending. This will enable residents at the home to vote to have their voice heard and make an informed choice on May 7th.
This will be taking place this Saturday 25th April at 2:30pm.
We always encourage local MPs to visit the homes and meet our residents. This gives them an opportunity to chat with their local party leader about their policies but also feel like a valued member of the local community.
We have had several visits at our homes in the lead up to the General Elections.
Other visits scheduled to take place prior to the Elections includes John Redwood, Tory MP for Wokingham who will visiting Alexandra Grange our care home in Reading next Wednesday 29th April.
Help Residents to Register
Many residents who cannot attend a polling station on Election Day will have already requested a postal vote or to vote by proxy but they may need reminding of this as the day draws closer.
The cut-off date for voter registration for May General Election is 20th April and If your relative is not registered to vote please refer the home’s General Manager to fill out a form on behalf of the resident at – www.gov.uk/register-to-vote-
Once You Have Registered
Once the resident is registered they can vote:
- In person at a polling station on 7th May 2015
- By post
It is important that we ask each resident how they would prefer to vote. Some residents like visiting the polling station for the sense of occasion, while others may prefer a postal vote or even the chance to vote online for the first time.
Supporting the residents throughout this process can be time-consuming. It is important the care home team members work together and engage volunteers and family members who would like to help their loved ones join in with the democratic process.
It is important that care home team members and relatives speak to the electoral office in advance about accessibility in the local polling station and plan transportation well ahead.
How to Find Out More
For further information about voting please visit www.gov.uk/browse/citizenship/voting and www.electoralcommission.org.uk. You can also contact your local authority if you have any specific questions.