We can all do more to help elderly

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By MO­HAMMED ALI Trustee of #WeS­tandTo­gether

AS many of us spend the hol­i­day sea­son in the warmth of our homes with the fam­ily, sit­ting in front of the fire, watch­ing the fes­tive pro­grammes on the box and eat­ing a lovely meal, many peo­ple will not be as priv­i­leged.

Age UK re­ports 3.6m older peo­ple live in the UK alone, of whom more than 2m are aged over 75. Their days will be like any other day, wait­ing in hope for a loved one to visit, maybe the re­turn of a child who is work­ing away or a neigh­bour to bring them a meal.

Ac­cord­ing to Age Con­cern, the fac­tors that gen­er­ally lead to so­cial iso­la­tion for the dis­abled or elderly in­clude sev­ered so­cial net­works, poor health and neigh­bour­hood char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The last decade has been es­pe­cially hard for lo­cal gov­ern­ment with over­all spend­ing for lo­cal ser­vices de­creas­ing by 21 per cent.

The Cen­tre for Age­ing Bet­ter’s re­port, ‘The State of Age­ing in 2019: Ad­ding life to our years,’ showed that the num­ber of peo­ple over 64 is ex­pected to in­crease by 44pc within the next 20 years and suggested that, with­out fun­da­men­tal changes to so­ci­ety, the chal­lenges faced by in­creas­ing numbers of older peo­ple will put a strain on the NHS, care ser­vices and for public spend­ing as a whole. It par­tic­u­larly called upon the char­ity sec­tor to help tackle the is­sues by cre­at­ing more sup­port in the com­mu­nity.

Char­i­ta­ble com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions al­ready of­fer vast amount of ser­vices; how­ever, this is still not enough. It raises the ques­tion, what can we do to sup­port the char­i­ties and the com­mu­nity as the num­ber of peo­ple so­cially iso­lated con­tin­ues to soar?

As we ap­proach the new year, we need to pon­der on a res­o­lu­tion that would ben­e­fit so­ci­ety so we con­trib­ute to help­ing others as much as we care for our own loved ones. While it may be dif­fi­cult to ef­fect change in poli­cies, there are many sim­ple things we can do such as set­ting aside some time to vol­un­teer, shar­ing a meal or check­ing up on a vul­ner­a­ble neigh­bour.

Part of the ethos of #WeS­tandTo­gether is build­ing safer, stronger com­mu­ni­ties and we can all con­trib­ute. This quote from the leg­endary Muham­mad Ali may hope­fully in­spire at least some of us to do more: “The ser­vice you do for others, is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

#WeS­tandTo­gether’s next dif­fi­cult di­a­logue event is ‘How We Treat Our Emer­gency Ser­vices!’ on Jan­uary 16. You can book at www.Emer­gen­cyDia­logue. eventbrite.co.uk.

Mo­ham­mad Ali, right, at the Welling­ton Lodge care home in Manch­ester

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