Age UK Hertfordshire are helping to support local older people facing the challenges of later life alone. The charity launched its No one should have no one to turn to campaign recently, as new YouGov research for the national charity found that 2.65 million older people in the UK feel they have no one to turn to for help and support. Their survey found that a fifth of older people in the East of England had no one to turn to, and reported feeling lonely (20 percent), isolated (21 percent) or depressed (19 percent).
Some of later life’s challenges are that much harder to bear if you are facing them alone such as isolation, coping with bereavement, getting the social care you need, and managing health problems like dementia.
Jana Kycinova, Information and Advice Service Manager for Age UK Hertfordshire, spoke to us about how older people in Hertfordshire can find the support they need:
How many calls does the Information and Advice service receive each week?
‘We take between 300-500 calls a week; approximately 25,000 calls a year.’
What are the most common reasons that people call?
‘We get many enquiries about benefits, social care, and housing, but each phone call is different. We always try to take a holistic approach and help clients as much as we can, addressing any concerns to the best of our ability. We advise on benefits and help with benefit applications, we help with the Blue Badge scheme, and we check what support our clients have, for example whether they need help with shopping or transport, and whether they have family or friends to support them.
‘We can refer them to other services offered by Age UK Hertfordshire, whether they would like to join a club, meet a befriending volunteer or find support with a health condition such as dementia. We also provide information on other organisations and charities, both national and local, from whose services our clients could benefit.’
What are your biggest challenges?
‘Very simply – a lack of funding. We have an extremely passionate and caring team who work extra hours each week, but we still lack the resources needed to meet demand.
‘Home visits are such a vital part of our service. During a phone conversation, we can help with the few enquiries a client tells us about, but during a home visit we can do so much more. A visit presents a better understanding of their day to day environment and a chance for a more in-depth chat, giving us the opportunity to identify any further support the client may need.’
How much money have you raised for older people in Hertfordshire?
‘In the last financial year, we raised £6,319,000.’
How can people help?
‘We urgently need more volunteers, and we’re always fundraising, so if you’d like to help us (or if you’d like our help!) please call us on 0300 345 3446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in volunteering, email email@example.com‘