YMCA Wirral calls on everyone to be a Good Neighbour and help lonely older people combat isolation.
Here at YMCA Wirral we run a number of initiatives throughout the year to help older people ranging from our hugely successful narrowboating days and afternoon tea cruises to pensioners luncheon clubs, volunteering, home helpers and garden tidy days.
We all know how distressing it is to feel lonely, so imagine being lonely every day?
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Loneliness is known to cause depression and is as big a risk to health, it can also lead to a poorer quality of life and a higher rate of mortality.
Loneliness has a devastating impact on the lives of older people it affects and sadly it is on the rise. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are lonely and cut off from society in this country, especially those over the age of 75 and many of these people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or a member of their family.
Over five million older people are affected by loneliness, more than one million say they are often lonely, and this number is predicted to increase 40 per cent by 2030.
Having everyday interactions with other people has been proven to breakdown loneliness, which is why YMCA Wirral is urging everyone in our local communities on Wirral this winter, to help an older neighbour in a number of simple but very positive ways – by doing just one of them, you will help them overcome much of their loneliness and isolation.
Being a good neighbour lies at the heart of this appeal and tries to get local people to connect with older neighbours and members of their community. It’s simply getting to know the people that live around you and looking out for each other where you can. It’s a simple but effective way of getting back to some good old fashioned community values.
There are many ways you can help, from having a chat with an older neighbour as you come and go from your home or a friendly wave and a smile can be enough, there are so many simple ways you can stay connected. If you’re going shopping, why not call on an older neighbour and ask if they need anything or better still ask them if they would like to join you.
With a little bit of thought your actions can make a huge difference to someone and help make them feel less alone and ensure everyone can lead a happy and fulfilled life, whatever their age.
Afternoon tea on board the YMCA narrowboat Potential, for a group of local older people.
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Some ways you can help:
- Be a good neighbour yourself by getting to know your older neighbours.
- Running an errand for an older person
- Helping an older person to do their shopping
- From time to time keep an older person company and help them if they need help.
- Look for signs they may not be well or coping.
- Carrying out small household tasks for an older person – moving their wheelie bin or bringing it in for them.
- Watching out for signs that appear unusual – curtains remaining drawn, not seen someone as you normally do?
- Be thoughtful in cold and bad weather – knock and check someone is OK.
YMCA Wirral have received funding from the Westhill Endowment Trust and are running basic skill courses for eight hours a week for those in our community who are rough sleeping.
These short sessions will be delivered on a one to one basis or to small groups and will include subjects such as making effective phone calls, email communication, how to set clear daily aims and prioritise, personal administration, staying healthy in the summer and winter, who can help and how to connect with them – and much more.
A central aim of this training is to equip people with basic practical and useful skills that will help them to move toward security and away from the problems of rough sleeping.