Good deeds close to home make a huge difference to all around you – especially older people who might be on their own and need a little extra help with some of the everyday things in life. The Looking After Each Other campaign is encouraging people to do a little bit more to help others.
Did you know…
- Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone
- A third (36%) of people aged 65 and over in the UK feel out of touch with the pace of modern life and one in 10 (9%) say they feel cut off from society and trapped in their own homes
- 9% of people who are lonely no longer eat properly
- Loneliness is as bad for an older person’s health as lifelong smoking and alcoholism
- It is worse for an older person’s health than obesity and inactivity.
- It can increase the likelihood of degenerative illness such as Dementia.
- Loneliness is believed to increase the onset of Alzheimer’s by 50%, which costs the NHS £20 billion per year.
How you can help older people…
Make time for your neighbours
Getting to know the people who live near you helps create a sense of belonging and shared identity in our local area. It also helps to strengthen connections and trust and contributes to a happier neighbourhood for everyone. Our lives are often so busy we don’t get to connect with the people who live close to us. This is especially true in big cities, where everyone comes and goes at different times and new neighbours move in and out a lot. Don’t know how to start? There are some great tips here: http://www.actionforhappiness.org/take-action/get-to-know-your-neighbours-better
Invite a neighbour round for dinner
Older, isolated people often need a hand cooking for themselves so why not invite them round or take them an extra plate of hot home-cooked food, or a frozen portion they can heat up? As well as being practical this is a nice way to share your time with a neighbour. Try to provide the meal in a container that you don’t need back; it’s hard work for both of you to keep track of serving bowls. Here are some quick and easy recipes you could try: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/healthy-recipes/Pages/Healthy-recipes.aspx
Help with an older neighbour with their shopping
Do you know an older person who lives alone, rarely leaves the house, is in poor health or doesn’t seem to have close family living nearby? Ask them if they need any help with tasks such as shopping, posting letters, picking up prescriptions and medicines or dog-walking. Offer to accompany them or give them a lift to activities or doctors’ and hospital appointments the library, hairdressers or faith services.
Help your neighbours with their bins
This is so simple but it can make the world of difference to someone who might struggle with a heavy wheelie bin. If you’re new to your neighbourhood you can find out when your bin days are here: http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/bin-and-rubbish-collections/check-my-bin-collection-day/
Offer to help with gardening and tidying
Another simple one, that just requires a bit of thought. If you know someone who struggles to get out and about then why not lend a hand in their garden? When you mow your lawn maybe you could pop round and do a neighbour’s too? Maybe do a spot of weeding or tidy up fallen leaves in the autumn? Age UK has more helpful advice here: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/travel-lifestyle/gardening/