We all know how hard New Year’s resolutions are to keep. More often than not, you don’t really want to do it, and you end up letting them slip by the end of the first week. But here at Silver, we want to encourage you to take up a different kind of resolution; getting involved in our mission to alleviate loneliness in the older generation, and making a real difference in people’s lives.
Giving to a charity or even coming along and volunteering at a Silver Event are all things you can do. But if you want to make a real, personal difference in your community – here are some things you can commit to, to making the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens that much better.
- Strike up a conversation
The best way to beat loneliness? Starting the conversation. If you see your elderly neighbour as they pop to the shops, or put out their bins, just stop for a quick chat. If they live on their own, this can be one of the only points of meaningful interaction that they get in their day, and it can lead to popping round for coffee, or lending a hand. Just having a new, real face to interact with can help them get through the day.
- Offer them a hand.
Often, what causes an elderly person to become lonely is their inability to get out and about and go about their normal routine. Popping round to offer a hand with their shopping, household cleaning or nipping out to pick up their prescriptions can not only give them some much needed help with their daily tasks, but it can give them the knowledge that someone is there to look out for them.
- Cooking a meal.
One of the real concerns that arise with lonely elderly people is ensuring that they’re eating and feeding themselves well. Often the use of their own kitchens can become a struggle, and they can often forget to cook for themselves as the days become increasingly similar. If you’re a keen cook and you’re able to whip up a quick plate of home-cooked food, or put aside a frozen portion of your leftovers, it’s a great way to look after your neighbours, and give them someone to have dinner with. Organisations such as Casserole Club can help you get involved if you want to be a cook for someone in your local area.
- Keep an eye on their health and wellbeing
Elderly people on their own are at risk of falling ill, or deteriorating in their health and not being able to do much about it. By having regular contact with an elderly person you can notice things such as when their hearing begins to go, or if they’re starting to get a cold, or reminding them to get their flu jabs in the winter. Ensuring that someone is keeping tabs on this, you can guide them to getting help, or provide transport to doctors appointments or operations.
- Setting up a coffee morning.
One step better than being an individual point of contact for someone, is bringing together like-minded individuals in similar situations to support each other and enjoy each other’s company. Setting up a Coffee Morning at your home, or a local community centre (if there isn’t already one!) can bring vulnerable people into a comfortable, neutral space where they can enjoy a nice hot drink, some biscuits and meet some new friends.