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Local Age UK re-connecting older people after isolation takes its toll

Published on 05 October 2021 04:25 PM

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove (WSBH) has spent the last week re-connecting older people by holding events for Older People’s Day (Oct 1), Silver Sunday (Oct 3) and the Brighton Ageing Well Festival. The events were an opportunity to get together after an Age UK report[i] earlier this year found 43% of older people felt less motivated to do the things they enjoy since the start of the pandemic.

Events included cream teas, exercise tasters, a dementia support family day, picnics, music, entertainment and an art installation. They took place across Sussex, from Crawley, down to Bognor and across to Brighton. People were also able to get a Bag of Support full of goodies, general information and advice on a range of issues associated with later life and technology support from the charity’s Techno Team. Staff took the opportunity to ask visitors what kinds of activities and groups they would like Age UK WSBH to provide in the coming months to help guide the charity’s work going forward.

Helen Rice, Chief Executive at Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove said “Covid has hit many older people incredibly hard, affecting mental and physical health. The period around Older People’s Day is usually one of celebration and we wanted to use the opportunity to re-connect with our clients and bring people together to enjoy themselves, catch up and share their ideas. One of our straplines is Love Later Life. While that might have been a challenge these last 18 months we’re now working to try and inject some fun into people’s lives again. It’s been lovely to notice a sense of hope and see people with big smiles this last week. Long may it continue!”

As well as seeking views on new groups and activities, Age UK WSBH is keen to hear about the support people need at home. The charity currently offers doorstep visits, meal deliveries, information and advice and help at home. The Age UK report found that 18% of older people feel less confident leaving the house by themselves since the start of the pandemic, so the team are keen to be there for those individuals while they build their confidence to attend social events in the community. Many are facing ill health, frailty or bereavement and might feel they have no one to turn to.  The charity is urging people to get in touch for support, or a better social life!

[i] Impact of Covid-19 on older people’s physical and mental health: one year on, Age UK, 2021