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.
Agencies which can provide help and support
Able Community Care:
Arrange live-in carers for an elderly or disabled person in the UK.
Age UK Advice Line
to 0800 169 2081
Information and advice for older people
Aid for the Aged in Distress:
0870 803 1950
Makes emergency grants to enable elderly people to cope with living alone. Grants for essentials such as heating, bedding, cookers, carpets, curtains, furniture, repairs, telephones, alarm connections, clothing.
Helpline 0300 222 1122
Information, support, advice and referrals to appropriate organisations.
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.
Contact the Elderly:
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.
0345 130 7172 / 01908 317618
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.
Elder Abuse Response:
0808 808 8141
Helpline offering information and support for anyone concerned about the abuse of an older person.
Elderly Accommodation Counsel:
First Stop Advice for Older People 0800 377 7070
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.
0800 888 6678
Telephone or email advice and support for family carers, people with dementia and professionals provided by experienced Admiral nurses.
Friends of the Elderly:
020 7730 8263
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.
Grandparents Helpline 0300 033 7015
Helpline and other advice and support services for all grandparents, particularly those denied contact with their grandchildren or responsible for their upbringing. Support Groups.
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.
National Federation of Women’s Institutes:
020 7371 9300
Arrange monthly meetings with speakers, demonstrations, activities, learning experiences for women.
Wales Office: 02920 221712
0845 259 3163
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.
PAPAS - People & Pets Advocates
0300 666 3999
A Not-For-Profit-Organisation who are establishing an infrastructure of volunteers to support people by sharing the care of their pets during a health crisis and difficult times. Through a network of volunteers, PAPAS offers free practical help such as dog walking, respite petcare, fostering, dog and cat grooming, transporting pets to the vets and basic medical pet care.
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.
020 7339 8500 – Ring for details of local group.
Relatives and Residents Association:
020 7359 8136
Telephone advice and support services for older people living in nursing and residential homes, and for their families and friends. Referrals to 25 local volunteer run groups across the UK. Local groups provide information and enable people to share experiences.
Royal Voluntary Service:
0845 608 0122
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 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.
The Silver Line:
0800 4 70 80 90
Free confidential helpline providing information, friendship, advice to older people. 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.
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.
www.caredirections.co.uk - Information relating to care and rights of older people including information on funding different care options
www.laterlife.com - Information for over 50s includes features, travel, health, leisure, retirement courses, jobs and working in later life.
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