My name is Cornelius McAfee, I’m 69, I have lived in north Islington for 45 years. I worked as a teacher for most of that time in schools, adult education and even taught in Pentonville Prison. History was my main subject and it’s always been a major interest. In what seems like a previous life I was a road sweeper in North London and of course one had to get to know the local lavatory facilities. Those were the days of maintained lavatories, with several stalls, polished brasses, mops swishing dettol about and the famous Izal ‘medicated toilet paper’. When […]
This weekend, 24-26 June, marks The Great Get Together, an initiative inspired by the late Jo Cox that encourages people to come together to celebrate what they have in common, make new connections, bridge divides, and reduce loneliness and social isolation. Jo’s words “we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us” are even more pertinent today than they were seven years ago when she made her maiden speech in Parliament. Share this post: Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Print for later Tell a friend
“Terrence’s story is a heartwarming tale and it was so wonderful to see how happy the BBC Breakfast team made him on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, Terrence’s story is the exception that proves a very worrying rule – far too many older people will spend Christmas alone this year.”
You may have seen a heartwarming story on BBC Breakfast this week, in which 78 year-old Terrence described how volunteering at Age UK Oldham helped to reconnect him with his local community – having spent the last 20 Christmases alone. Sadly almost 85,000 older Londoners will be eating Christmas dinner alone this year. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways for you to help an older Londoner this Christmas! Read on to find out how!
One of the 8 main themes of a WHO Age-friendly City is “Social & Community Participation”. There are many activities and campaigns that fall under this heading, but they all have a common goal: ensuring that older citizens are able to actively participate in their society.
Lyn Ambrose, Founder of Pets Against Loneliness, tells us how canine companionship is helping to reduce social isolation in North London and how you can get involved.
“Silver Sunday exists to help tackle loneliness, but the day itself is all about celebrating older people and their vast contribution to society – so don’t forget to have fun, enjoy making new friends, and take lots of photos! Videos and photographs are wonderful memories to look back on, and we love sharing them on social media (use our hashtag #SilverSundayUK). This really encourages others to take part and make Silver Sunday even bigger next year!”
The countdown to Silver Sunday – the national day to celebrate older people & tackle loneliness – has begun and 2019 is set to be the biggest celebration yet! Lucinda Hurrey explains how you can get involved…
“The UK has an ageing population. By 2030, one in five people in the UK (21.8%) will be aged 65 or over, 6.8% will be aged 75+ and 3.2% will be aged 85+. As many as 49% of older people (equivalent to over 5 million individuals) say their television or pets are their main form of company. Televison’s importance really can’t be exaggerated, especially for these people who, as they age, are increasingly likely to suffer loneliness, bereavement, illness and disability. TV doesn’t cure these struggles, but it can make them easier to live with.”
With the debate over the free TV licence for over-75s continuing to rage, we hear from Jolie Goodman about the importance of television for our mental health – especially as we age.
“When mobility issues mean you struggle to get out and about, the TV helps you stay connected. When money is a constant worry, it’s a way to escape. And when you spend your days alone, it gives you something to rely on, something to look forward to. For over a million of the oldest people in our society, TV is their main form of company. It’s not just ‘the box in the corner’, it’s a window to the world, and a human voice when they’ve not spoken to another person in days.”
Following the news that the BBC plans to means test the TV licence for the over 75s, we explain why the free TV licence is such a valuable resource and why means testing isn’t as fair as you might think.
“So what does this look like in practice? There isn’t one template for what makes a healthy street but common approaches now being taken across London include reducing traffic speeds, installing pedestrian crossings, widening pavements and, increasingly, closing residential streets to motor traffic. On larger roads and at dangerous junctions it also means segregating cyclists from traffic with protected lanes and facilities.”
Will Norman, Walking & Cycling Commissioner at the Greater London Authority explains how the Healthy Streets initiative will help make London safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike.
“The stories of those without family in hospital are rarely heard, rarely actively sought out. In almost all cases complaints about treatment are raised by family members, if you don’t have a family, there is no one to raise complaints. An older person, ill, isolated and worried in hospital with little or no external visitors is not likely to “make a fuss”. As far as we know there has been no research targeted at finding out about the experiences of people ageing without children in hospital.”
We accept without question that if an older person requires treatment, it is undeniably better for them and for the hospital, that they have their family with them. But what about those who are ageing without children? Kirsty Woodard explains all:
“Informing yourself about hearing loss, and what help is out there, can be truly transformational. Unaddressed hearing loss can leave people feeling isolated, and affect their mental health. Speaking to people who understand what you’re going through, and can tell you what support is available makes all the difference. Many of those who have used our services have now gone on to take action and get the treatment they need.”
This week’s blog comes from Sinead Armitage, Regional Information Manager at Action on Hearing Loss, the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK. Sinead informs us about the UK Hear to Inform and Connect project, which has seen an increase in face-to-face information services across London.