Winter is always difficult for many older people, not everyone has family or friends, and for many, long dark nights are a struggle. Many older people say they feel intensely lonely and Covid-19 has only increased feelings of fear and isolation.
Age UK Hertfordshire want to help older people who might be finding this winter tough. ‘We’re concerned about the mental and physical well-being of our clients,’ says Mark Hanna, Director of Operations, ‘Our InTouch Service which provides emotional support, is receiving a high number of calls from people reporting feelings of anxiety and hopelessness, we urgently want to help as many people as we can.’
The charity which supports over 10,000 people a year provides a number of services for older people, from a free and confidential Information and Advice service to a number of befriending schemes aimed at reducing isolation and loneliness as well as helping older people with benefits and finances.
’We’ve been running all our services on-line or over the phone,’ Mark continues, ‘We’ve delivered food parcels, comfort packs and taken tech to people who had never used a tablet before. Over the summer our volunteers were able to start visiting (at social distance) – but now with the lockdown and the colder weather many of our clients may go weeks without having face to face contact. Our clients often put on a brave face and tell us they are coping, but this has been a challenging year and many have not seen their family or friends for months.’
Age UK Hertfordshire are asking people to support them by taking part in their 12 Days of Winter Campaign. Roz Wyllie, Head of Engagement, explains the idea behind the campaign.
‘There are over 12 million people aged over 65 in the UK, and one in every 12 older people say they feel lonely, and one third of over 75’s who live alone spend more than 12 hours a day by themselves – our 12 days of winter campaign aims to raise awareness of the issues facing older people as well as giving people in Hertfordshire the opportunity to help us and have some fun while they do! We’re asking people to choose 12 challenges, big or small, over 12 days in winter. So, on Day 1 you might write a letter to a friend, on Day 2 you could walk two miles, on Day 3 you might take 3 selfies …and you can post it up on social media, share the challenges with friends, and set yourself a fundraising goal, knowing that the money raised will go to helping older people in Hertfordshire.
For more information, contact Age UK Hertfordshire on via email at
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