Avoiding isolation in the elderly years

August 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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lonely ladyI read about the health of elderly people frequently and always come across the same problem, isolation. That terrible feeling of loneliness, abandonment and seclusion which rarely seems to fade.

The problem is becoming increasingly highlighted with the quality of social care been constantly questioned. The simple fact is that isolation needs addressing as the effects of little social interaction with vulnerable and elderly people are shocking.

This was made clear when Friends of the Elderly recently carried out a week long experiment ‘Isolation Week’. Working with a group of socially active ‘young’ people (ranging from 20’s to 50’s) each participant was to live alone without any contact from friends or family. Instead television became their companion, with the occasional allowance of using the internet, however not for social networking purposes- Changing their lifestyle for that of an elderly isolated person.

I was astonished with how quickly living in isolation started to change the mind set of those involved. Depression became the most prominent problem as many quickly became miserable and unable to perk themselves up, which sounds far too familiar.

Rather than glumly look at the negatives, which of course needed addressing. I’ve started to keep a keen eye on ways that elderly people can avoid living in isolation.

old ladies

A previous blog included the fantastic services of Southwark Circle, a social care organisation operating in London. The scheme is brilliant and work on socially improving the lives of elderly people in the community. I think that this style of social care is extremely refreshing and one which could see success elsewhere.

I recently read about a singing group in south Wales cheekily titled the ‘Golden Oldies’, who offer their services to elderly people who get joy from singing great pop music. The group holds weekly sessions which get people together for a good sing song and has a simple aim of giving elderly people something to look forward too.

The weekly session system seems a good route for the elderly to go down. Whether that is a singing group, a knitting group or light exercise class for the elderly (there are plenty out there- search online with your local council). As these sessions are great places go and make friends as well as providing a little routine to day to day life.

golden olides

Of course, recent news that many local authorities will soon be cutting funds to bus routes, which are used predominantly by the elderly, will have a big impact. Such news is devastating and frustrating. However, getting online could be the answer. If you can’t get to your friends why not Skype them or become friends on Facebook. Send each other Tweets about what you’re currently reading or when you’re next going to play bowls. Online options are endless and with so much help available it really is a realistic away to avoid feeling isolated.

Of course nothing compares to living in a family home with loved ones but these options can help make life much happier and ease loneliness whilst getting older.

Websites of the Week 25th-29th July 2011

July 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Slimming WorldIn an attempt to get a little healthier I’ve joined Slimming World and what a fabulous success I have had.

Over the past three weeks I’ve worked on the ‘Extra Easy Plan’- by far Slimming World’s easiest and most effective yet- and managed to lose 10 pound, which I am really happy with.

The Slimming World website is a great place for members to visit, or potential recruits to find out where their nearest club is. I really like the online recipes for inspiration on what to make for dinner and the online advice is a great to keep the plan on track in between meetings.

If you’re looking to find a healthier approach to eating, or just in search of  delicious and healthy meal ideas it worthwhile paying www.slimmingworld.com a visit.

Earlier this week I blogged about the Southwark Circle, a social care scheme which helps members socialise and get practical help whilst growing older.

I’m really taken with the schemes credentials as so many people appear to be benefiting from the simplicity and effectiveness of the organisation.

southwark  circle

With a simple design, easy navigation and plenty of ways to inform potential members on how to get involved the websites does its job very well.

My favourite aspect is the monthly social calendar. Mainly because it includes so many fantastic opportunities for its members; with everything from social events, sporting events, teaching sessions providing the opportunity to learn a new skill and a variety of Q & A sessions.

In my opinion a website (and organisation) which really is worth looking into.

john_lewis_logoI was thrilled earlier to discover that John Lewis online stock so many great names from Bath-Knight’s local town Stoke-On-Trent with collections from Emma Bridgewater, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton featured.  

The latest to join John Lewis is the BTC Teapot Pendant, which was featured on The Apprentice and is manufactured here in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s a great boost to know that local products are such a hit with huge retailer.

Of course, there is more to www.johnlewis.com than ceramics from the potteries, as the site offers a huge selection with ranges of clothing and home ware, electrical goods and beauty products. A one stop site for everything you need. Perfect!

Southwark Circle- A new approach to social care.

July 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Having worked in the mobility industry for many years I have come across a variety of concepts which aim to make the lives of elderly people better. However, it is rare to discover something different. Having read about Southwark Circle in The Telegraph online yesterday I got an instance sense of ‘wow, what a great idea’.

Southwark Circle is a simple concept with two main aims; simply to get people together and provide practical help on an accessible basis.

Founded in 2009 Southwark Circle is exclusive to the community of Southwark borough in London. Two years later it has a sturdy membership of 860 and provides genuine, forward thinking social care for the community.

southwark  circle

With such a huge following it’s hard not to question what the Circle’s magic ingredient is. Why do over 50’s (this is their target audience) want to become apart for Southwark Circle and what makes it different from any other social community group?

I pondered these questions and the truth is the answers are really simple. For a start the social calendar for member is fantastic. In July alone members could visit The Imperial War Museum, watch a cricket match, visit the theatre to see The Railway Children, enjoy an Indian meal and that’s only naming a handful of activities.

Secondly the Southwark Circle works on a ‘token’ basis; members purchase tokens valued at £10 which can be exchanged for a social event. Alternatively members who may need the help from Southwark helpers can pay for an hours labour with their tokens. Helpers can do anything from change a light bulb to help your send a text.

Basically, members fund their involvement and needs on a token basis- making taking part and receiving help easy and hassle free.

southwark circle members

What makes Southwark Circle more successful is its outlook. Brilliantly they never mention age or remind their members that the average age of a member is 69. The concept realises that people don’t want to be reminded about growing older, however, they do desire the social care which comes naturally with aging.

Additionally, Southwark Circle encourages members put on their own social events with people they have met through the Circle. Celebrating the fact that members can find genuine friendships from the scheme. A true triumph as the average member falls into the shocking statistic which says ‘3.1 million over-65s have no contact with a friend, neighbour or family member in any one week.’

Described as ‘a pioneering scheme that improves old people’s lives socially as well as practically’, Southwark Circle tackles aging and the system of social care head on. I think that it is a much needed modern approach, with simple aims and fantastic outcomes. The Circle concept is set to be spread out across the country, and I can’t think of anything better for an aging and often isolated population.

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