Loneliness is a real problem that many of us are facing during lockdown. This is especially true for elderly people who may be living alone, struggling to stay mobile and waiting for their Covid-19 vaccines.

‘There are 1.4m chronically lonely older people in England, and many more across the rest of the UK’ (Age UK).

Age UK is a charity which works to combat loneliness by influencing, campaigning and implementing service provision. It is important to note that not everyone who is socially isolated feels lonely, but that for the people who do this can not only affect their mental health but their physical health too.

According to Age UK, ‘loneliness amongst older people is associated with experiencing depression, and older people with a high degree of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those with a low degree of loneliness’.

But, you can make a difference!

Winchester Hub has reintroduced LinkAges: a volunteering programme which aims to tackle elderly isolation by supporting students to connect with older people in Winchester. This programme runs in partnership with care homes, community centres and the local Winchester council. During term time, student volunteers can get involved in weekly activities; from having a cuppa with our lovely groups in town, helping with some great activities at our care homes, getting involved in sport, teaching someone how to use their PC and much more.

How can I get involved?

  • Apply on our website.
  • Attend an information session.
  • In your own time, complete your DBS check and safeguarding training.
  • Tell us where you want to go!
  • You may have to complete a second training session to cover more detailed information on your placement.
  • Start volunteering!
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.” – Oscar Wilde

There are other ways you can help elderly people who feel lonely too:

  • Engage with them- sometimes the best way to know how to help is by simply asking. Even talking to someone who is feeling isolated will benefit them, especially if they are living on their own.
  • Help them practically- if you know of an older person who stays in the house regularly, is a widow, or has a disability then why not offer to pick up their grocery shopping or medicines?

To find out more about loneliness and how to help yourself and others click this link: About loneliness | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems

Do you want to help tackle elderly isolation through volunteer work?

Then this could be the role for you!

Winchester Hub are looking for a LinkAges Coordinator. You can gain skills in leadership, volunteer management and communication and no experience is necessary.

Apply for the role by following this link: click here.

Remember to check in on your elderly relatives and anyone you know who is socially isolated. They will really appreciate it! The Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness created this helpful poster to remind you of the ways you can stay connected to others whilst socially distancing.