I asked my neighbour Kath, who always seems to be busy despite the fact that she has been sheiling since the beginning of lockdown her response is uplifting, I think….
On 04/06/2020 17:21, Kathryn Daw wrote:
Hello to anybody and everybody who might be listening.
My name is Kath, I am over the magic number 70, so have been locked down for many weeks now, and am very cautious about starting to go out and about now. I live on my own, and am very much missing my family, and my lovely partner, who lives in London, we are normally together at the weekends, but sadly not at the moment, in these strange times.
I’m sure we’ve all heard enough of the sad things on the News and in the papers, so I thought I’d just list the things that I have enjoyed and that have kept me going. As they say on the tele, in no particular order!
- Skype sessions every day with my partner, we have a lovely chat, have a laugh, and usually do a couple of quizzes.
- Skype, phone chats and texts with family and friends. I have even mastered Zoom!I am normally a complete technophobe, so am quite proud of myself! But I seem to be setting a record for coming last in most of the quizzes.
- Sunny days, coffee and lunch in the garden, even enjoying actual gardening, most unlike me! A brilliant neighbour has got me some plants, so we’ll wait and see whether they actually grow this year, I haven’t really got green fingers.
- The 8 O’clock clap on Thursdays, it’s been really nice to chat to the neighbours and wave to the people up the hill who I’ve never seen before. We’ve even had some great music from the upstairs window of one of the neighbours. Not to mention the orchestra of wooden spoons and saucepan lids, but sadly no bagpipes!
- Exercise, no not Joe Wicks, that’s far too difficult apart from the warm up, and I don’t think that counts! Don’t laugh, but I’ve been doing “10 today” exercises for older people, on a BBC podcast, not too demanding, but better than nothing!
- Reading, again nothing too demanding, this is not the right time to tackle “ War and Peace”! I have particularly enjoyed “Eleanor Oliphant”, and can’t wait to get started on my back catalogue of Jilly Coopers. Our Book Group is having weekly Zoom meetings, but we spend more time moaning about our hair than actually talking about books!
- Craft stuff, I have dragged down my old card making box from the loft, cut out words and pictures from old magazines, and have been quite pleased with my amateur efforts at making birthday cards for friends. I have written on the back “hand made by Lockdown Cards, it’s the thought that counts”
- I have also raided the loft for old sewing stuff, and made some masks, not at all clinical standard of course, but better than nothing, and they have given me an excuse for using up old flowery curtain material!
- Dancing round the kitchen to some old 60’s music, that’s the sort of thing you can do when you live on your own! As well as talking to yourself, of course!
- Tv, though of course there’s not that much I actually want to watch, there’s only so many old Midsummer Murders you can sit through…. But I have really loved watching Pride and Prejudice again, and I have particularly enjoyed “ the village” series about Portmerion, also the Chelsea Flower Show programmes. I have also found a lot of comfort from watching the ” Sunday Worship” and “Songs of Praise”.
- I really enjoyed our V E Day, a sort of street party, what a lovely day, with cake and prosecco and bunting, and lovely catch up with neighbours, while socially distancing of course!
- Getting terribly excited at getting a Morrison’s delivery slot at only the 100th attempt.
- You will notice that I haven’t made much mention of cleaning, or useful jobs around the house – I know we’ve all got lots of time now, but even so, I can usually find something more interesting to do…. though I did at one point cleaned out some kitchen cupboards, but unfortunately dropped a full bottle of Jamie Oliver’s best balsamic vinegar on the kitchen floor, it took me ages to clean up all the sticky liquids mess and broken glass.
Take care, everybody.
There are many many different ways that we can all help socially isolated elderly people in our community. It all starts with giving, there’s a wealth off evidence that suggests giving to others has amazing benefits to our mental health too, so remember its not just the elderly isolated person you’re helping that will reap health benefits.
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. Start a conversation and offer them a cup of tea!
I always make an effort to start a conversation with people and it makes me enjoy my day so much more. Whether your waiting at the bus stop or in a long queue for the supermarket there are plenty of opportunity to have a conversation with those around you.
Offer practical help
Do you know an older person who lives alone? Maybe ask them if they need any help? maybe with shopping, picking up prescriptions or dog walking. You can offer to accompany them and/or give them a lift. An elderly lady that lives close by to me jumps in the car with me to Aldi each Sunday, saves me going on my own too.
Share a meal
I live on my own and i am always cooking to much food (especially if it has rice in it). Older, isolated people often need a hand cooking for themselves, so why not take round an extra plate of hot home-cooked food, or a frozen portion they can heat up or microwave?
My lovely neighbour Lauren is a Carer. Instead of spending her hours lunch break eating alone. She always eats with one of her elderly clients to save them both from being alone.
If you want to volunteer, you can find more information on befriending an older person from these organisations:
- Age UK has a network of local Age UK groups across the country that have opportunities for you to become either an Active Buddy, who helps someone become more physically active, a Befriender, who visits someone who lives alone, or a day centre helper.
- Contact the Elderly holds monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for over-75s and needs volunteer drivers and hosts.
- Independent Age will match you to an older person who you can then drop in on regularly for a coffee and a chat.
- Royal Voluntary Service wants volunteers who can help an older person with little tasks, such as doing their shopping and taking their dog for a walk, or delivering meals.
- The Silver Line needs people to help man this new helpline for older people.
Older Adults, like the wider population, may well experience thoughts of death and suicide and/or mental health conditions, these may be long standing acknowledged mental health conditions or more recent development such as; depression or anxiety disorders that may be related to a number of different factors.
Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are lonely, isolated and cut off from society in this country, especially those over the age of 75. Many of our older adults have been shielding for many many weeks during Lockdown, some with limited access to connect with others through technology. People can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, such as getting older or weaker, no longer being the hub of their family, leaving the workplace, the deaths of spouses and friends, or through disability or illness.
Look out for our daily blog posts this week as we discuss isolation and older adults and things that we can all do to help the elderly population in the UK to feel more connected.
FREE places are available for frontline third sector staff in Nottinghamshire county (excluding city) only, these places are funded by Nottinghamshire County Council.
If you do not meet criteria we’d still love for you to join us. Tickets cost just £45, with all income going towards our free therapeutic support services.
Nottinghamshire County Council have commissioned Harmless to deliver a range of Mental Health awareness and Suicide prevention accredited courses. Training is targeted to specific audiences, rather than knowledge levels so you will not need to attend ALL modules.
Please note in order to qualify for this funded training opportunity, you must be:
- A resident or supporting people who reside in Nottinghamshire
- Working with adults (18+)
- A frontline staff member who is part of a third sector organisation
- Adults with medium level mental health support needs
- Who may have one or more coexisting conditions
For more information or advice on the courses being delivered please speak to a member of the training team:
- 0115 880 0281
Growing up as part of a minority heritage group, I understood from an early age how many societies struggle with ‘difference’. This can often begin with a lack of knowledge or a response to fear bourne from a perceived threat to traditionally held values and beliefs which provide psychological comfort and security. Often, the result is prejudice and discrimination.
Looking beyond these deeply ingrained values and beliefs to incorporate a more inclusive perspective of society can be a complex thing to achieve for some people. It is a constant fight to subvert these barriers. It shouldn’t still be this way. How sad it is that we still have to fight to love who we want and be who we want without facing discrimination or barriers.
Sexuality, gender, colour or heritage should not be the primary focus of association in any social interaction but many of us feel that our ‘difference’ defines us. We are as a result either forced to or choose to wear our ‘difference’ as a badge of honour. I have always been drawn to people from the LGBTQ+ community because I understand that their fight is still real and difficult and they, like my minority group need support and love and help with this fight against prejudice and discrimination.
Teaching my children about healthy relationships, gender identity and sexuality has never been an issue for me. I taught them from an early age that they could marry anyone they wanted to, male or female or not marry or be in a relationship at all. I encourage open conversations about gender identity and who we are drawn to be close to in life. I hope that when or if that journey of exploration and self-identity becomes difficult, that they will come to me in the knowledge that I will love, accept and stand their corner for them always.
Despite the valiant efforts we’ve made towards LGBTQ+ equality in recent years, many LGBTQ+ people still face significant barriers to leading
healthy, happy and fulfilling lives in the UK today.
Stonewall commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey asking more than
5,000 lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people across England, Scotland and
Wales about their life in Britain today.
Here are the key findings from the study
- Half of LGBT people (52 per cent) said they’ve experienced depression in the last year.
- One in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13 per cent) said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year.
- Almost half of trans people (46 per cent) have thought about taking their own life in the last year, 31 per cent of LGB people who aren’t trans said the same.
- Forty-one per cent of non-binary people said they harmed themselves in the last year compared to 20 per cent of LGBT women and 12 per cent of GBT men.
- One in six LGBT people (16 per cent) said they drank alcohol almost every day over the last year.
- One in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13 per cent) took drugs at least once a month.
- One in eight LGBT people (13 per cent) have experienced some form of unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they’re LGBT.
- Almost one in four LGBT people (23 per cent) have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT people by healthcare staff. In the last year alone, six per cent of LGBT people – including 20 per cent of trans people – have witnessed these remarks.
- One in twenty LGBT people (five per cent) have been pressured to access services to question or change their sexual orientation when accessing healthcare services.
- One in five LGBT people (19 per cent) aren’t out to any healthcare professional about their sexual orientation when seeking general medical care. This number rises to 40 per cent of bi men and 29 per cent of bi women.
- One in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination because they’re LGBT.
If you would like to read more, you can download the report using the following link – https://www.stonewall.org.uk/system/files/lgbt_in_britain_health.pdf