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Make a difference: Older support

16th February 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

 

The New Year may be in full swing, but it is never too late to take up a new resolution or pledge to help others. Supporting older people in our society is one of the most rewarding acts there is as nothing compares to giving something back to a generation that have given us so much.

From helping those in your local community to see immediate benefits to people’s lives to volunteering for one of the many great organisations that actively help older people around the UK and the world, can you spare some time to better support older people in our society?

Go local

Offering support to older people who may not necessarily ask for help doesn’t have to mean giving up hours out of your day, it can be as simple as helping an elderly neighbour. For those who rely on mobility aids and stairlifts to get around their home, just the kind act of offering to take down their bins and recycling on the appropriate days not only helps them out, but also shows them that community spirit is still very much alive.

Not sure where to start? Then try searching for your local Age UK to see how you can help older people in your area specifically. Age UK run a whole range of projects that work towards helping support older people. By searching for your local branch you can find out what activities they run locally and how you can help; each local page has information on what they do and how you can help locally, from volunteering to just helping out.

Another great way to start helping locally is through the fantastic Casserole Club scheme. The project connects those who like to cook and are happy to share a portion of food with older neighbours living nearby who may struggle to cook themselves. The project is a great way of uniting people in their own communities and a way of ensuring older neighbours are getting a genuine hot home cooked meal that, for some who may live alone, might be the only one they get.

Start local and you could make a huge difference to people’s lives.

Volunteer

If you are looking for further ways that you can help make a difference to older people in the UK, volunteering is a great way to not only help and support such people, but it also gives a huge sense of gratification.

Age UK’s befriending services are a fantastic way to help combat loneliness in older people across the country. Many of the local Age UK establishments offer a befriending service that you can get involved in, where volunteers can either help over the phone, through their Call in Time telephone befriending service, or in person. Their website has a great ‘Find your local Age UK’ feature so that you can easily find out if you can help in your area.

Volunteering doesn’t even have to mean leaving your house; through becoming a Silver Line Friend you can help older people across the country without having to move an inch. The Silver Line is a charity that looks to put an end to loneliness in older people through providing a free telephone service where they can chat with volunteers and find out about services across the country that might be of help to them. All you need to be a Silver Line Friend is access to a phone, as all calls are managed through a ‘virtual call centre’ and are paid for by the charity, to be DBS (formerly CRB) checked and to be a UK resident. The charity will then put you through the relevant training to make a real difference to people’s lives.

 

Donate

Next to volunteering your time, donating even just a small amount of money to age-related charities can make a huge difference to so many lives. For a sum that you would hardly notice going out of your bank account a charity like Age UK can help support older people with financial difficulty, health and care worries, wellbeing and in many other ways. There are also so many ways you can donate to Age UK; through your salary, over the phone, by post, in memory of a loved one and through donating items to a local Age UK shop. It all goes towards helping better support older people both near and far.

These are just a few of the ways you can help make a difference and help to fight loneliness and the difficulties that come with aging. Through simply sitting and chatting with someone or helping them carry their food shop, although there are aids such as motorised riser recliner chairs and walking aids that can make live more comfortable and mobile, nothing replaces human interaction and assistance.

Image Credit: Craigfinlay, Personal Creations (flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.