With shorter days and colder temperatures beginning to creep in, many east Londoners are getting ready to swap their craft beers for mulled wine, iced coffees for hot chocolates, and dig out those winter layers to keep warm while out and about. For all of us, keeping active and socially connected in the cold (and often, with a cold) can take a little more effort and discipline, but is worth it in the end.
However, for many older people in east London, the coming colder months can mark the start of a difficult period of heightened loneliness, worries around keeping warm in their homes, and sometimes even choosing between going cold or going hungry with winter bills suddenly rocketing.
We know that older people feeling lonely is already a huge issue in the UK. Two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) in the UK say the television is their main source of company. This isolation can become even more pronounced during winter: things like icy roads and darker evenings can make going out and staying connected more challenging.
That’s why at East London Cares we are kicking off our first Winter Wellbeing project, a proactive outreach initiative which connects us with older people living in Tower Hamlets and Hackney to ensure they are able to stay warm, active and connected even on the colder days. We will be chatting with people aged over 65 at GP surgeries, flu jab clinics, supermarkets, chemists, pharmacies. We will also be door-knocking on streets, estates and sheltered housing units to find people who, for whatever reason, are less able to get out and about. This will help us build meaningful and genuine relationships with older east Londoners so we can best support them.
Some of the ways we can help our older neighbours in Tower Hamlets and Hackney to stay warm, active and connected include:
If you are a community organisation in Tower Hamlets or Hackney and know an older person who could do with any support over the coming winter months, please do get in touch by calling 0793 691 5430, emailing [email protected], or by completing an online referral form.
Likewise, if you know an older person who could benefit by anything we are offering here at East London Cares, please do let them know about us, and together we can help make winter a little warmer for our older neighbours.
Posted by Sasha Khan on Thursday 3rd October 2019
Sasha is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at East London Cares, reaching older and younger neighbours and connecting them to our Social Clubs, Love Your Neighbour programme and Winter Wellbeing project. Previously Sasha has worked at Age UK and Coram, and volunteered at our sibling charity North London Cares.