With the UK government announcing our second lockdown starting today, it leaves the elderly more anxious than ever.
The people of Wrenthorpe are working hard to ensure the elderly people in their community don’t feel isolated this lockdown.
Councillor Nic Stansby and the volunteers of the Wrenthorpe/Kirkhamgate Assist group work hard all year round to ensure the elderly feel like they are not on their own. Cllr Stansby said: “
a scheme called the Well Call. This allows
Cristian Gale, Pastor of the Well Church in Wrenthorpe, said
Charlotte Heptinstall, a Befriender for Age UK, said: “Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the way the Befriending Scheme works and we have adapted our services accordingly.
I initially used to meet my client at their home. This entailed having a chat and cuppa, which is a simple way to reduce an elderly person’s feelings of isolation and loneliness. Whilst it is no longer possible for me to visit my client, we have regular phone calls at least once a week.”
Why is Age UK important?
Ms Heptinstall also said: “Age UK provides a vitally important service nationwide and closer to home across the Wakefield District. The core aim of the charity is to offer friendship and support to older people. We have several volunteers in Wakefield alone who support isolated older people and give up their time to provide companionship and a listening ear.
“The volunteers, like myself, and clients are matched on the basis of similar interests and hobbies so there is always something to talk about. It truly is a life-changing initiative and it ensures that some of our most vulnerable citizens are being supported.”
What impact did the first lockdown have on the elderly?
As we are all well aware, it is an incredibly difficult time at the moment. Unfortunately even prior to the first lockdown there were several elderly people waiting to be befriended. Those who already feel isolated and lonely are now completely lacking social interaction and a sense of community. It is more difficult still that as an organisation we have had to stop home visits. Whilst phone calls are great for maintaining that relationship with your client and giving them the chance to have a chat, it isn’t quite the same as human interaction and social contact. As such, the first lockdown has meant that not only are there more vulnerable elderly people, but also that we can’t do as much to support our clients.
There are many simple ways in which we can make a difference. A smile costs nothing, nor does a hello in the street. These are two things that maintain social interaction and a sense of community. We can also keep in regular contact with our family and neighbours over the phone or on social media. Think about writing a note to neighbours asking if there is anything you can do for them or let them know if there is a serve you think would be of help to them. Of course, it would be amazing if people were willing to give up their time to volunteer in their area as a Befriender, however we understand this may not always be possible. Think about who you can help and what you can do over this difficult period.
Throughout Christmas, Nic Stansby and the Wrenthorpe/Kirkhamgate Assist Group