Connecting People Counts
This isn’t just fluffy talk. Community connections really count. There is a direct link between isolation, community life and health. How can you help to support older people in your communities?
Start a conversation
It's not always easy to know who or how to help. A good start is simply to stop and talk to an elderly neighbour if you pass them on the street. If you think an older person may have trouble hearing or has memory problems make sure to speak clearly (but don't shout!). Pause between sentences and questions to give them chance to digest the information. And allow a little extra time for them to respond - don't hurry them.
Offer practical help
Do you know an older person who lives alone, rarely leaves the house, has recently suffered a bereavement, is in poor health, disabled, has sight or hearing loss, or doesn't seem to have close family living nearby? Ask them if they need any help with tasks such as shopping, posting letters, picking up prescriptions and medicines or dog-walking. Offer to accompany them or give them a lift to, activities or doctors' and hospital appointments, the library, hairdressers or faith services.
Share your time
Volunteer for a local Salvation Army Church or a community organisation that support older people. These often offer "befriending" schemes for isolated elderly people, and rely on volunteers for one-to-one contact as a telephone "buddy", visitor or driver, or hosting social events for groups.
Your contribution could be as simple as a weekly telephone call to an isolated older person, or extend to regular home visits for a chat and to help with shopping and so on, driving an elderly person to a social event, or even hosting coffee mornings for groups of elderly people.
You can find more information if you contact a local Salvation Army church and find out more information on supporting or befriending an older person.
To find out how you can help care for older people and what the needs are in your community, please contact your local Salvation Army church or centre by going to our map page.