As medical advances are helping us to live for longer than ever, it means that the elderly are getting to enjoy more of their retirement as they continue to live independently. Whilst independent living is great for older people, there are those who can’t quite manage on their own. This has led to a number of fantastic schemes starting up that encourage the wider community to help each other out, and also aim to help older people with their day-to-day lives.
Here we’ve highlighted some just some of the best schemes which you may be able to get involved with in your community.
One of the biggest issues for the elderly community is cooking; should they have restricted mobility, poor sight or even rely on a modern hearing aid, cooking can sometime cause problems. It might not be a case of poor mobility, whether it’s the worry of having multiple things cooking at the same time, or simply being able to carry the essential groceries home from the supermarket.
The Casserole Club has been designed to take the stress and strain out of cooking, an initiative where people share extra portions of home-cooked food with other people in the area who find it difficult to cook for themselves. Getting involved with the project couldn’t be simpler, all you have to do is register as a cook, arrange a date for your meal and then deliver your meal.
When we got in touch with Casserole Club, here’s what they had to say about their project:
“Casserole Club is like a local, community-led takeaway, where members serve up meals to their neighbours, getting more people cooking fresh food while strengthening local neighbourhood relationships with every bite.
“The service is now live in Barnet, Surrey, Staffordshire, Tameside, Cheshire West & Chester and is also live in three councils in Victoria, Australia. Casserole Club has now shared over 2000 meals in the UK and continues to reach their goal of tackling social isolation and isolation in local communities.”
- Casserole Club
Here’s a few words from Jeanette, a Casserole Club diner, where it’s obvious that the service offers much more than a tasty meal.
‘This is a really nice project and I'm so glad I signed up to it. I don't see as many people as I used to and my daughter lives out of the area so I only see her once a week. I always look forward to my visit from Kate, who's really lovely, and obviously the dinner is great.’
- Jeanette, Casserole Club diner
While When They Get Older is a very different service in comparison to the Casserole Club, the fact that its full of practical advice means that it’s a vital service for those affected by the issues of old age. The service has a very simple aim: to help older people maintain a quality of life and address the challenges which old age often proposes. With more than 200 articles on the site that relate to all aspects of elderly living, there’s plenty of help on offer.
We were able to contact When They Get Older, who offered plenty more information about what they can offer:
“We look specifically at the issues around the family. If time and distance are stopping family being there as much as they would like, what can they do well? How can they help older relatives to avoid loneliness, eat well or keep healthy? How do they deal with their own guilt while struggling to balance family care and work? Should they all move in together or is that a recipe for disaster? We look at these questions and many more in the areas of health, wealth, care, legal issues and positive ageing.
We like to think our web site can help families understand each other's needs a little more and take practical steps to making life better for everyone.”
- When They Get Older
While digital hearing devices from Siemens and other brands can help make life more comfortable for the elderly, loneliness and isolation remain a constant problem, and as so many have family members who live away or even lost contact with them, it can mean that some people can’t enjoy the company of another person for days on end.
Contact the Elderly, a leading national charity, looks to change this with a dedicated effort into tackling the problem at its source by organising social situations for people affected by the lack of regular company. To find out more about this fantastic service, here’s a short quote from Contact the Elderly:
“With the support of thousands of volunteers all across the UK, Contact the Elderly organises monthly tea parties for small groups of older people, aged 75 and above, who live alone and would like some company on a Sunday afternoon. Each guest is collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a volunteer host’s home, where they meet with a small group for tea, chat and friendship. The group is welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same, which means that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.”
- Contact the Elderly
If you know anyone who is interested in joining a group aged 75 and above who live alone without the support of family and friends, you can get them involved with Contact the Elderly by calling 0800 716 543.