14th April 2020

Support for older people

Coping with isolation can be particularly challenging for those who are not internet-savvy. Not everyone has access to a computer, and elderly people who can’t connect with the virtual wider world may be finding it difficult to work out what they can and can’t do in these challenging and worrying times.

Here’s how you can help if you have elderly neighbours:

  • If you have your neighbour’s phone number, give them a call. It’s very reassuring to hear a friendly voice.
  • If you don’t know their phone number*, drop a card through the door, with the Town Council’s number (01225 864240), a reminder of who you are and where you live, and an assurance that there are plenty of people in town who can help in all kinds of ways.
  • If you know them, offer to do some shopping or pick up a prescription – some people are anxious about leaving their home and may be running low on supplies.
  • Wave, and say hello, when you’re passing – a friendly face can make all the difference to someone who is home alone and a bit scared!
  • Encourage them to get some exercise every day if possible. If they have a garden, just being outside in the fresh air will really help. Even a short walk around the block – observing the 6ft (2m) rule, of course – can boost physical and mental well-being.
  • Connect them up with the Town Council’s volunteer network, which is providing invaluable support to vulnerable people in the community. The leaflet below can be downloaded and printed on our COVID-19 Resources Page HERE or if you know them, you could complete our online request for help on their behalf: https://bradfordonavontowncouncil.gov.uk/covid19-volunteer-help/
  • And if you are able to, please consider volunteering to help through the Town Council’s scheme. Find out more at: https://bradfordonavontowncouncil.gov.uk/covid19-connecting-our-community/

Cllr Jennie Parker, who has a key interest in elderly isolation and volunteers for Dementia Action Alliance, adds:

“It is so important to talk to our neighbours, to let them know we are here for them and that we care. This can be done by sharing the little things of life like a smile, a few words and giving support when needed. Older people may have no immediate or close family, have lost their friends and feel life is not worth living. A smile can show them that it is.”

Further information about support for older people experiencing loneliness/fear during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be found at www.ageuk.org.uk

* Please be aware that there are unfortunately scammers about, so if your older neighbour doesn’t know you, you should always offer the Town Council’s telephone number as contact. If you join our Community Volunteer Network, we can then put them in touch.