Help needed to lift iso­la­tion

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your Views -

For the first time in the UK, the num­ber of older peo­ple has over­taken the num­ber of chil­dren so it comes as no sur­prise that The Sal­va­tion Army’s Good Neigh­bours scheme is re­ceiv­ing more and mor­ere­fer­rals for sup­port for el­derly and iso­lated peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

To con­stantly meet this de­mand vol­un­teers are ur gen­tly needed.

To­day, older peo­ple live longer and are also en­cour­aged to live in­de­pen­dently in their own homes. Our vol­un­teers sup­port the el­derly to live life in all its full­ness by pro­mot­ing in­de­pen­dent liv­ing, tack­ling iso­la­tion, pro- mot­ing a heath­ier life­style, giv­ing a voice in things that af­fect them and help­ing to build con­fi­dence.

Be­ing lonely is one of the worst things an older per­son can ex­pe­ri­ence.

For most of us, hav­ing friends to talk to and share ex­pe­ri­ences with is of­ten taken for granted.

So­cial iso­la­tion in old ageis notriv­ial mat­ter. Re­centstud­ies in­di­cate that lack of so­cial in­ter­ac­tion is aslikely to cause early death as smok­ing 15 cig­a­rettes a day.

Fifty-one per cent of all peo­ple over the age of 75 live alone and five mil­lion el­derly say thetele­vi­sion is their main form of com­pany.

The Sal­va­tion Army be­lieve the im­pulse to take care of oth­ers is still there–we just need to nur­ture it. Af­ter all, one day it might be you. The Good Neigh­bours Scheme of­fer sup­port with vol­un­teers vis­it­ing the el­derly ‘ser­vice users’ in their own homes, be­friend­ing, pro­vid­ing com­pan­ion­ship and help­ing to bring a bit of the out­side world into their homes.

A quote from one of our ser­vice users: “I spent­months at a time barely leav­ing the house, let alone speak­ing to any­one else. I have never felt so iso­lated in my life”, she re­called.

“I would cry a lot. I was just watch­ing the tele­vi­sion, lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio and sleep­ing. I was des­per­ate for com­pany. It just went on and on. My life has now changed for the bet­ter as I have abefriend er vis­its me once a week. Wak­ing up and know­ing I’m go­ing to see some­one each week has changed my life. I’m so happy now.”

Vol­un­teers Op­por­tu­ni­ties: Vol­un­teers gain by know­ing that giv­ing their time is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to other peo­ple, so they them­selves can feel needed and val­ued. Vol­un­teer­ing helps to make new friends and contacts. Vol­un­teer­ing in­creases so­cial and re­la­tion­ship skills. Vol­un­teer­ing in­creases self-con­fi­dence, com­bats de­pres­sion and helps to stay phys­i­cally healthy. Vol­un­teer­ing can pro­vide valu­able work ex­pe­ri­ence, and bring fun and ful­fil­ment to life. Vol­un­teer­ing can be chal­leng­ing, re­ward­ing and var­ied

If you are 18 or over, com­mit­ted to the well-be­ing of older peo­ple and­able to spare an hour or two (day­time or evening) each week, we’d love to hear from you. Vol­un­teers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.