If you are an older person who is feeling isolated and alone and/or finding it difficult to cope I hope the Useful Agencies at the end of this section will be helpful to you as a means of finding appropriate advice, support, friendship. (see also sections on Loneliness and Disability if appropriate)
If you are feeling lonely there are agencies which can help by providing home visits, outings, days out, and companionship with other people.
Many older people also find that doing voluntary work is an excellent way of keeping busy and active and at the same time meeting others. Local Age Concern branches would welcome older volunteers as would many other agencies such as local hospitals for help with visiting patients, helping in the hospital shop, charity shops are often glad of help from older volunteers and your local volunteer bureau will also have local vacancies for volunteers.
If you are struggling to make ends meet and in need of essential appliances or items for your home or need repairs/adaptations but cannot afford them there are agencies listed here who may be able to help. Also contact your local Council for the possibility of obtaining a grant.
Keep your home secure.
Contact your local Police Station and ask for a visit from the Crime Prevention Officer who will be able to give you advice about security. They may also be able to help with the funding for any work needed and Help the Aged also provide a HandyVan scheme which can provide locks, spy holes, door chains etc. often free of charge as well as doing small jobs such as changing light bulbs.
Never let anyone including officials into the home without asking for their identification. If anyone comes to your door who you don’t know keep the chain on. Gas and Electric companies can help by setting up a password which has to be used by anyone coming to read your meter.
Be aware that unfortunately there are people out there who take advantage of older people who they see as being particularly vulnerable. They may knock pretending to be the gasman, may say they are from the waterboard and you have a leak, etc. It is best to shut the door and ring the agency concerned to see if this is a genuine caller. Leave the chain on if you don’t know who is calling.
Some rogue tradesmen also prey on vulnerable people and will knock telling you that you need urgent work done like the tiles on the roof – never let these people in or have any dealings with them. Your local council should be able to give you a list of approved tradesmen should you need any work done.
Never leave large amounts of money in your house.
If you have difficulty in filling out or understanding forms ask for help from your local Citizen Advice Bureau, Age Concern, or Help the Aged organisations.
Try and keep as healthy and active as you can. Some Age Concern groups run classes specifically for older people to do some gentle exercise.
Eat healthily as possible, drink water, and eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
If you are worried about your health contact your GP as soon as possible.
Try to keep as involved with life as you can. Local libraries should be able to give you details of classes at community/adult education centres, Age Concern in your area may run internet and computer classes. Local churches often have an over 60’s club which is a great way of increasing your social life.
The Ramblers Association is also a good way of meeting other people while keeping active at the same time.
If you find yourself worrying about something and have nobody around to talk to – don’t keep it to yourself – ring one of the Helplines which offer advice and information.
If you are unwell and/or need a stay in hospital and need someone to take care of your pet, take the dog out for a walk etc. contact the Cinnamon Trust listed below. They can provide a volunteer who will help.
If you need to move into sheltered accommodation, nursing home etc. there are places which accept pets – contact the Cinnamon Trust listed below.
If you feel particularly vulnerable in your home Help the Aged provide alarms for older people where you can summon instant help – your local council may also run a similar scheme called Lifeline or Careline.
If you need help with anything don’t be afraid to ask – people will be only too pleased to help you – if the first agency/person you ask cannot help – don’t give up – keep contacting other agencies until you get the help and support you need.
NB If you or a loved one needs help and support around the home, information here as to how to get a Needs Assessment
Agencies which can provide help and support
Able Community Care:
Arrange live-in carers for an elderly or disabled person in the UK.
Action for Elders
030 330 30132
A registered charity that aims to make older peoples' lives better. They aim to end loneliness by offering local support with physical, mental and social problems. the charity works throughout the UK to help older people remain mobile and give them the opportunity to socialise.
Age UK Advice Line
to 0800 678 1602
Information and advice for older people
Dementia Connect Helpline: 0333 150 3456
Information, support, advice and referrals to appropriate organisations.
British Red Cross Home Care Services
If you're being discharged from hospital, the British Red Cross can bring you home and make sure you have everything you need for your first few days. If you still need assistance after that, they can provide up to 12 weeks of support depending on what level of help you need. Your local service can be found through the link above. You can also hire wheelchairs and toilet aids - see the link above.
The Cinnamon Trust:
National charity for elderly or terminally ill people and their pets. Network of volunteers who can visit homebound owners to take dogs for daily walks, foster pet as one of their family when owners face time in hospital, take pets to the vet, by pet food, clean budgie cage, have national register of nursing homes and residential homes and sheltered housing for elderly that will accept residents and their pets. Can arrange care of pets when owners die.
Civil Service Retirement Fellowship
020 8691 7411
The Civil Service Retirement Fellowship is a national charity dedicated to helping former civil servants and their dependants make the most of their retirement. Services include befriending, local community and leisure groups, advice and information
0800 888 6678
Telephone or email advice and support for family carers, people with dementia and professionals provided by experienced Admiral nurses.
01282 420 678
Depher provides help and support to people over the age of 65, customers registered disabled or families/individuals on a low income. Depher understands that emergencies and situations arise that you may not be prepared for. They treat each funding application on a need by need basis.
Depher may be able to help with boiler breakdowns and repairs, help if struggling to buy food for yourself or your family, help customers who struggle to heat up their homes
0345 130 7172
Registered charity providing unique free services to younger stroke survivors throughout the UK. Helps stroke survivors of working age to optimize their recovery, take control of their own lives and regain as much independence as possible by offering rehabilitative services, information and advice. Network of different stroke exercise groups, telephone helpline, counselling network.
Elderly Accommodation Counsel:
First Stop Advice for Older People
Helpline for older people, families and agencies. Guidance, advice and information to help callers choose and fund the accommodation most suited to their needs. Maintain a national database of all forms of accommodation for older people.
Friends of the Elderly:
020 7730 8263 Head Office Reception
03305 550 378 Care Home Enquiry
To support older people, often frail, confused or with dementia, to maintain a level of independence and choice by providing a complete range of services for them, provides home visiting services, run day centre facilities.
Grandparents Apart - Self Help Group Scotland:
0141 882 5658
Support for grandparents apart from their grandchildren.
Guideposts is a UK-based charity working with people in local communities to help them access the support, opportunities and skills they need to overcome social challenges, improve their wellbeing and change their lives.Many of the people they support come from the most disadvantaged groups in our society, including children and adults with additional needs and disabilities, people with mental health problems, older people with dementia and other neuro-degenerative conditions, and the families or carers of all these groups.
0151 227 3499
Homeshare enables two people to share a home for mutual benefit. Typically, an older person living in their own home with a room to spare will be carefully matched with a younger person who will provide an agreed amount of support in exchange for good quality, affordable accommodation.
0808 808 8141
UK's only charity focusing on the abuse and neglect of older people
IndependentAge (new brand name of the Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association (RUKBA)
0800 319 6789
Charity that champions independence for older people. Aims to help older people on low incomes to live independently with dignity and peace of mind by providing a regular extra income, grants for emergencies, equipment to aid independence, support and friendship of volunteers, nursing and residential care and help with fees.
0300 123 7015
Kinship - the leading kinship care charity in England and Wales. We’re here for all kinship carers – the grandparents and siblings, the aunts, uncles, and family friends who step up to raise children when their parents can’t.
National Federation of Women’s Institutes:
020 7371 9300
Arrange monthly meetings with speakers, demonstrations, activities, learning experiences for women.
NHS Volunteer Responders: Check In and Chat
0808 196 3646
Short term telephone support to people in need of a friendly phone call and encouragement to improve their mental health and well being.
Work with family care-givers, people nearing the end of life, bereaved, socially isolated individuals, frail and the elderly. Information and support and The Chatterbox telephone befriending service.
0203 488 2912
Trusted volunteers are matched to older adults who need help at home, shopping, tech lessons, gardening, small jobs, cup of tea etc. A free national service
Supporting independent advocacy services for older people. Website includes list of advocacy services across the country.
Pets As Therapy:
Provide therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools, and a variety of other venues by volunteers with their own friendly temperament tested cats and dogs.
0203 961 3300 – Ring for details of local group.
Reconnections by Independent Age
With the help of their friendly local volunteers they provide companionship, encouragement and ideas to help over 65s rediscover old interests and make new friends. Currently working in Barking & Dagenham and Havering, Guildford & Waverley
0800 716 543
To enable very elderly people living alone to enjoy social contact, bringing companionship into their lives. Independent self run groups of volunteers and elderly housebound people are formed in a particular area. Once a month on a Sunday afternoon, each group (of some 6 volunteers and 8-10 elderly people) meets in the home of a volunteer host.
Royal Voluntary Service:
0330 555 0310
RVS has more than 35,000 volunteers who help support older people stay independent at home and active in their communities. It's that practical little bit of help that makes all the difference, whether at home, getting them where they want to go, bringing people together through social activities or supporting them in hospital. Their aim is to provide the support that enables older people to live independent and fulfilled lives. (Find details of your local RVS through the website)
The Silver Line:
0800 4 70 80 90
Free confidential helpline providing information, friendship, advice to people aged 55 and over. Open 24hrs a day every day of the year. Can link callers to local groups and services, offer regular befriending calls, protect and support those who are suffering abuse and neglect.
The Stroke Association:
0303 3033 100
Information, advice, latest research, Talkstroke discussion forum.
Stroke Support Group
For all types of stroke online community and information
St. Vincent de Paul Society:
020 7703 3030
To support the needy and marginalized by person to person contact. Activities include helping the elderly, sick, unemployed, lonely, bereaved.
0118 988 5688
Thrive is a small national charity that uses gardening to change the lives of disabled and older people. Thrive has two gardening projects, one near Reading in Berkshire and one in Battersea Park, South London. Thrive also supports around 900 gardening projects in England and the Irish Republic and can put people in touch with a project in their local area
01708 621 101
159a High Street, Hornchurch, Essex RM11 3YB
Provides radio and television facilities for the housebound and the aged unable to afford them.
Gransnet is the busiest social networking site for the over 50s. At its heart is a buzzing forum where users debate the hot topics of the day, support each other through tough times and share a laugh. Brimming with useful content covering everything from fashion to food, travel to technology, as well as competitions and an incredibly popular book club, there is something on the site for everyone. An offshoot of the very brilliant Mumsnet, the leading parents’ website, Gransnet offers a sense of community, which can often be a lifeline, alongside essential lifestyle advice. So whether you're seeking impartial advice from our users, looking for daily dinner ideas, or want to find that perfect gift for a partner or friend, Gransnet is the place for you.
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