The cold winter months are an extremely dangerous time for older people in the UK, especially those who live alone. The Kent Community Foundation Surviving Winter Campaign aims to tackle social isolation and make winter less lonely for older people, as well as helping them stay well, healthy and independent
As autumn draws to a close and the evenings get longer and colder in the UK, older people are particularly vulnerable, as cold weather increases their risk of illnesses and social isolation.
Projections indicate that there will be a far greater percentage of people living alone in later life than there has ever been in the past, and it is particularly important for people living alone to be involved in the local community. There is plenty of evidence to show that social isolation leads to poor mental health, physical deterioration and generally a poorer quality of life and prognosis for the future.
Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation comments: “We want to make winter less lonely for older people as well as helping them stay well, healthy and independent and we are asking that those living abroad where the climate is much kinder might like to help life easier for the elderly in the UK. Kent Community Foundation already supports projects throughout Kent and Medway that address the everyday challenges faced by elderly people and we hope that donations to the Surviving Winter Campaign will allow us to support even more good causes.”
“If just 10% of everyone, in receipt of the Winter Fuel Payment, were to donate £100 to the Surviving Winter Campaign, we would have a Fund of more than £3 million to help vulnerable elderly people in the county. Therefore, we are asking those who receive the payment, but don’t rely on it, to donate it to others. But you don’t have to receive the payment to give to this campaign, anyone who wants to give, even a small amount, will be making a significant difference to vulnerable, elderly people in the county.”
Josephine McCartney continues: “Loneliness is often accompanied by depression, and cold wet weather, and shorter days can make it more difficult for older people to leave the house, particularly those with mobility issues. This can mean that people opt to stay indoors, all alone, day after day, and the longer they are isolated, the harder it becomes to leave.”
Money donated to the Surviving Winter Campaign will contribute to projects that support elderly and isolated people including; lunch clubs and social events to help people stay in touch and keep active, workshops and advice, transport, befriending services and schemes helping elderly residents with tasks such as shopping or gardening.
Donations can be made online at www.kentcf.org.uk/give/surviving-winter