In keeping with the season of goodwill, people in Worcestershire are being asked to lookout for elderly friends and neighbours.
Loneliness affects more than 1 million older people nationally and around 35,000 in Worcestershire. Many older people may find themselves on their own for the first time this year after the loss of a loved one or they may have families who do not live nearby.
Winter can be a difficult time for people who may have reduced mobility or are socially isolated. With the colder weather setting in, there are a couple of ways to help friends, neighbours or family.
Knowing how to help isn't always easy, but there are a few ways to offer your support.
Reconnections is a free service that may be able to help someone you know connect to other people, places or activities near them. Reconnections is accepting referrals for people over the age of 50 up until New Year’s Eve 2019.
You can also make a difference yourself.
Stop and chat – a friendly hello and chat can go a long way. Let vulnerable people know that you would be available to help if they need you.
Keep an eye out for winter illness – with temperatures lowering, the risk of illnesses in older people rises. If a friend or neighbour shows signs of being unwell, ask if there is a relative you could call or offer to call their doctor.
Heating – checking that someone's heating supply is working properly can be invaluable and help prevent serious illnesses. Check they close their bedroom window at night, as breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
Councillor John Smith, cabinet member with responsibility for Health and Wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council said, “We can all play a role in helping those around us. This is important throughout the year, but over Christmas and New Year many elderly people in our community will have an increased risk of illness and may feel isolated.
"Spending just a little time supporting elderly and vulnerable people in your life and making them feel valued can make all the difference."
Reconnections will continue to work with people aged over 55 years until March 2020. A new all age adult service will be commencing in April 2020.
You can contact Reconnections on 01905 740954 or visit their website www.reconnectionsservice.org.uk