Life has not always been easy for Gordon Blaxell. In his 87 years he has had more than his fair share of heartache and although he tells us that he is 'satisfied with his lot', he finds himself undeniably lonely and can 'go for an entire week without seeing a soul'. Thankfully, Gordon now has support from Age UK Norfolk in the form of two volunteers who Gordon says are 'good men, who call and visit me and they always have time to listen to me'.
Gordon says, 'I often feel lonely, especially on Sundays. Sometimes I’ll go to bed as I can’t do anything or see anyone. I do look forward to the calls from Age UK Norfolk. My volunteer is marvellous and I feel much happier after the call.'
This is the story of just one of the older people that Age UK Norfolk has given life-changing support to. We provide all sorts of services to older people and their families, from helping to fill out complicated forms, running dementia cafes, helping to set up dementia friendly communities and of course, our Telephone Befriending scheme.
Hilary Macdonald, Chief Executive of Age UK Norfolk said, 'We are dedicated to supporting older people like Gordon in Norfolk. It’s shocking that millions of older people in the UK feel they don’t have anyone to turn to and can go days without speaking to another human being. Yet loneliness isn’t inevitable as you get older and with the right help and support older people who have been suffering in silence and thinking that’s all life has to offer them can find a new lease of life and make new friends.'
Recent research by Age UK, the national charity, revealed that a shocking 1.2 million older people in England are chronically lonely and have been living with loneliness for years. With more people living longer, this figure is set to increase unless urgent action is taken. Loneliness not only makes life miserable for older people, but research shows it is also damaging to their health. Lonely and isolated people are more vulnerable to dementia, high blood pressure and premature death.
Help Age UK become Morrisons' next charity partner
Age UK is honoured to be one of the charities shortlisted for Morrisons’ Raise a Smile Charity Partnership Programme. If Age UK is picked it means that it can do even more for thousands of older people and offer vital companionship and advice, things like befriending calls which may be the only conversation that someone will have all week. To find out more visit www.ageuk.org.uk/morrisons
Hilary Macdonald, Chief Executive of Age UK Norfolk, continues, 'For many older people a chat at the supermarket checkout is the only conversation they have all day, so we are thrilled to be shortlisted for this amazing opportunity with Morrisons. If we can become their charity of the year we could do so much more to help older people like Gordon, and help make life worth living for them again.'