Growing older brings a kind of release. We are wiser, we know more about ourselves and we’re less bothered by the smaller things in life. We also tend to be more emotionally stable and content.
But, as with any age, there are specific challenges we face too. Physical changes spring to mind: achy joints, trouble hearing or seeing, and a greater susceptibility to illness. As a result, we may be unable to do certain things – a favourite sport perhaps – which can be frustrating.
Many of us experience mental and emotional changes, too. Loneliness is often the culprit, with Age UK warning that the number of “lonely” over 50’s is set to hit two million within 7 years. The Government has already committed £11.5 million to support efforts to foster social connections in local communities.
It can be hard to adapt to these physical and emotional changes, which is why organisations across the UK provide a safe space for older people and their families to find and receive support. Here are some of the best.
Running for 150 years, Independent Age provides free information and advice to older people about the issues that matter most: care and support, money and benefits, and health and mobility. It also offers a friendship service to those who are lonely.
As its name implies, the organisation exists to help older people preserve their independence for as long as possible. So, with cuts to council budgets meaning those who struggle to wash, dress and cook on their own are missing out on vital support, it also uses its frontline insight to campaign for the voices of older people to be heard.
Royal Voluntary Society (RVS)
The Royal Voluntary Society (RVS) mobilises over 20,000 volunteers across the UK to support those in need, both in hospital and in the community.
Volunteers relieve some of the pressure on over-stretched public services, freeing up NHS staff so they can dedicate more time to patient care, while also working within communities to provide practical help to people as they age.
A volunteer might keep a patient company during a hospital stay, for example, or deliver reading materials to someone who can’t make it to the library.
Mind supports mental health sufferers at any age. Its strap-line is: “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”
As well as campaigning to raise awareness and improve public services, the organisation provides information and support to individuals about available drugs and treatments, legal rights, and tips on everyday living.
Over half a million people have already used the service via 135 local Minds across England and Wales. Your local Mind or the Blue Light Infoline will be able to tell you what’s available in your area.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Every day 250 people begin losing their sight, research shows. Older people are particularly at risk.
Formed in 1868, RNIB is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people. The organisation’s mission is to change the public’s perception of blindness, helping everyone understand the experience and spectrum of sight loss.
Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (Opaal UK)
Opaal promotes and develops independent advocacy services for new and existing providers across the UK. These providers enable older people who have difficulty representing their interests to exercise their rights, express their views, and explore and make informed choices.
This may be at the point of discharge from hospital or when they’re being assessed for community care services. It is Opaal’s belief that every individual has the right to support.
If you or an elderly friend or relative needs a helping hand, contact the appropriate organisation to discover more about the kind of support they provide. It’s important to feel that your voice and your concerns matter, because independence, and therefore confidence, should survive as we age.
Our team at Premier Care In Bathing are very supportive and will be able to meet your bathing needs and requirements in a dignified manner. We’ll assess how we can make your routine a much more comfortable experience – and talk you through the process step by step.