Longer days, lighter evenings and warmer weather mean that summer is the perfect time to get to know older people who might be prone to loneliness, especially if they live on their own following bereavement.
Here's how you can take advantage of the summer months to reach out to older people to beat isolation and loneliness.
1. Start a conversation
We all lead increasingly busy lives but summer days see us spending more time outside, whether it’s barbecuing or enjoying hobbies. It might seem obvious but the better weather brings more opportunities to stop and have a chat to your neighbours, whether it’s in the garden, on the street or at a local shop.
The late Jo Cox MP put it perfectly, “young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate...it is something many of us could easily help with. Looking in on a neighbour, visiting an elderly relative or making that call or visit we’ve been promising to a friend we haven’t seen in a long time.”
Be part of the solution by pledging to start a conversation today.
2. Stay cool!
In very hot weather, do look out for older neighbours, particularly if they are not terribly well and/or living alone.
The importance of staying cool and keeping well in hot weather cannot be over-estimated, because older people are often particularly susceptible to heat-related illness.
Tips for looking after yourself in hot weather
3. Accompany your neighbour to a local summer event
There are usually more events going on over the summer months in local communities such as fetes, festivals or county shows.
It could be a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone in your street to see if they’d like to go too. If this goes well you could arrange a regular time to pop in and have a cuppa with them in the winter months as well as the summer.
4. Offer to help with a bit of gardening
Gardening is a great way to get outside and exercise at the same time! It’s also a really sociable activity.
Do you know an older person on your street or in your local area who could do with a bit of help with their garden? To get to know them, why not offer to help out with a bit of lawn-mowing, weeding or planting?
If you notice that they also need help with tasks like getting to the doctors or going shopping, give them information about their local Age UK which may have services to help.
5. Hold a street party or summer get-together
Street parties and summer lunches are surprisingly simple to set up, and a great way to get to know your neighbours. Provided the street is closed to traffic (speak to your council about how to do this), you and your neighbours can hold a community event on your doorstep! You just need to borrow tables and chairs, and encourage people to bring out a dish or two that could be shared with the group.
As a seated event, they are also a good way for older members of your community to join in. While meeting new people can be intimidating for anyone, with appropriate support to enable everyone to join in, this type of event can be a great way to share experiences with neighbours.
How you can support Age UK in other ways
Support local groups
Support Age UK or other voluntary or community groups that help older people to have fun, make new friends and enjoy the company of others.
There are lots of activities and groups you can get involved with in your community which help connect people from different generations together. Why not join a choir or learn a new craft such as knitting with a local group and encourage neighbours to do the same?
Your gift will ensure that we can continue to provide companionship, advice and support to older people and their loved ones.
Volunteer for your local Age UK
The Age UK network has various volunteering opportunities, whether people want to make new friends, develop new skills or give something back to their local area. Volunteering opportunities range from becoming a befriender to helping out at lunch clubs.
Donate unwanted items to your local Age UK shop
Age UK has over 430 shops across the country that generate much-needed funds for the charity’s work with older people, as well as encouraging everyone to recycle unwanted goods. Each of the shops is reliant on donations from the local community to keep the shelves stocked.
Fundraise for Age UK
Get involved with Age UK’s programme of fundraising events or organise your own to help raise money for lonely older people.