We can all do more to help elderly
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