There are 10.8 million people over 65 in the UK, 3.8 million older people live alone and 5 million say TV is their main form of company. In this article we discover activities for the elderly this winter to counter loneliness, depression and isolation.
Social Isolation refers to a complete or near complete lack of contact with people and society. A recent study showed being cut off from friends, family and support networks increases death risk in older people.
Michelle Mitchell, director general at Age UK, said: “This study shows more clearly than before that being lonely and isolated is not only miserable, it is a real health risk, increasing the risk of early death.”
We take a look at the options available for elderly people to combat these symptoms:
TalkTime Phone Club
Independent Age offers services to reduce isolation among older people. Talktime phone club provides elderly people to join a telephone conversation and discuss books, films and things of interest. This is a great way for older people to interact with one another from the comfort of their own home. Every couple of week’s groups can discuss a film or book they have all agreed to watch.
For further information visit www.independentage.org or speak to somebody directly on 0207 605 4257.
The University of Third Age:
The University of the Third Age offers locally run courses, both practical and academic. No qualifications are needed, no diplomas are awarded and many of the teachers are retired people. Courses range from cooking to craft. Members of the Third Age share their skills and life experiences: the learners teach and the teachers learn, and there is no distinction between them.
For more information visit: www.u3a.org.uk
Lunch clubs give older people the opportunity to meet in small groups and discuss common interests such as gardening, sport or cooking. Lunch clubs typically meet once a month and members enjoy a hot nutritious meal followed by social activities. Lunch clubs also encourage healthy eating and provide inexperienced cooks with new skills such as preparing inexpensive meals.
The Royal Voluntary Service bring older people together and run 450 lunch clubs and community centres across England, Scotland and Wales.
For more information visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk to find your local service.
Local Social Centres and Community Clubs:
Local social centres and community clubs can often provide a social hub for older people to enjoy activities and meets. With many events and activities taking place throughout the day and evening, community centres can be a great place to meet like-minded people who live locally. Activities may include dancing, bingo and crafts. They can also provide help and guidance in dealing with pensions, benefits, health advice and adult education classes. Visit www.gov.uk to find your local centre.