People are dying because they have no-one to talk to.
Ashfield Voluntary Action(AVA) has been providing social activity groups for older people over many years. Sadly, this year our budgets have been cut and we are facing having to close our groups. We can't abandon the people who attend our groups!
According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, around 10 per cent of people over 65 report feeling lonely “all or most of the time”.Studies representing over 3000,000 people found that greater social connection meant a 50 per cent reduction in the risk of an early death.
We have designed a new programme to tackle loneliness in older people based on three actions:
* A range of social activity clubs for people able to get out
* A befriending programme for people who cannot get out
* Internet Access training for older people to learn how to use digital technology safely, to improve their lives.
Social Activity Clubs
A programme of social activities and information sessions will extend AVA’s small, effective current delivery which will lead to greater inclusion within our diverse community.
A pilot group set up by Ashfield Voluntary Action for older people who were isolated has proven that social activity reduces isolation and breaks down barriers. One of the groups currently enjoys meeting every week for a variety of activities which have so far included quizzes, games, crafts, an indoor bonfire party, a trip along the River Trent, garden centre visits and an abundance of tea, biscuits, chat and laughs. Everyone in the group has made new friends and no longer feel the loneliness they did before joining.
The people who attend the activities set up by Ashfield’s Live Well Hub will benefit from improved health and wellbeing, better quality of life, experiencing new activities, reduction in isolation, new friendship groups and improved mobility. The benefits of social inclusion to both mental and physical health reach into all aspects of a person’s life leading to them developing greater self-esteem, confidence and a more positive outlook.
Men are far less likely to attend a social group than women. By developing a range of social activities to meet the needs of local people, men in the area will be able to access support, information and events in which they feel included and relaxed. "This group is a lifeline to belonging and making new friends" Mrs D W (75)
"I was so lonely I didn't see the point in carrying on". S**** (85) S**** was suicidal. Now she has a group of friends, enjoys the group activities and having a laugh. Every week she looks forward to attending the group and has a new zest for life.
The Befriending Programme
Isolated people benefitting from regular visits will have greatly improved general health and wellbeing, focus and friendship. Active befriending will help people to rebuild confidence through social inclusion and regain their independence. Being socially engaged encourages people to be more mobile, increasing movement and activity resulting in a major reduction in the risk of falls and improvement in various health conditions including arthritis, diabetes, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
Befrienders will improve their self-esteem due to the positive impact they will make on the life of an isolated person, increasing their own motivation, wellbeing and engagement, going on to encourage others in the community to become involved in the project.
Internet Access Training
"I have been attending the PC club from when it started, I had a basic knowledge of the PC , I feel I have come along way, adding a one note account so I can put information into it. I am interested in military history so have found it very useful. I can send emails and attachments. The club is very friendly and welcoming and has a good feel about it. " Keith Nuttal (60+)
Lots of older people are at a disadvantage, as modern society is increasingly conducted through digital facilities: banking; health care; shopping; information sources; social networking. People will be able to use our fully accessible drop-in centre to learn how IT skills can improve their life. Learning the skills to use Skype, WhatsApp or Face Time will mean that older people will feel less isolated from friends and family improving their wellbeing. People with mobility issues will be able to access online shopping and other online services enabling them to be more independent, improve self-confidence and retain their sense of identity.
Isolation is wrong and unnecessary. As a charity working in the heart of Ashfield for a number of years, we want to continue supporting our community to help our more vulnerable members to have a better life.
Loneliness is something we may all face but you can help us put a stop to it in Ashfield.
No donation is too small or too large!
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together" Vincent Van Gogh