Letter: Don’t forget your elderly Seaford neighbours

THE charity Contact the Elderly is urging residents of Seaford to not forgot their lonely, elderly neighbours – who feel the effects of social isolation 12 months of the year.

A recent letter in the Daily Telegraph (January 3) calling on David Cameron to urgently reform care and home help services in England, states that ‘an estimated 800,000 older people are being left without basic care – lonely, isolated and at risk’.

In addition, and adding to the scale of the challenge, Contact the Elderly knows from almost 50 years of experience that there are many more lonely and socially isolated, older people out there, although not necessarily in need of care.

Regardless of current budget constraints, we can all do something about loneliness among older people. Contact the Elderly offers respite to frail older people in Seaford – who have become virtually trapped in their own homes – by organising free monthly tea parties for small groups of older people, with the support of volunteers.

These social gatherings help the elderly to form new friendships and to develop support networks, which are vital to maintaining an independent life.

Currently we don’t have a group in Seaford and we plan to launch one this year but to do this we need more volunteer drivers and hosts.

Volunteer drivers collect the older guests from their homes and accompany them to the social gatherings one Sunday afternoon a month, while volunteer hosts hold the tea parties in their own homes once or twice a year.

Our volunteers genuinely gain as much enjoyment as the older guests and it is not a huge time commitment. Anyone inspired to get involved in alleviating loneliness among older people during 2012 and beyond, should please get in touch on either 01273 401569 or julia.rivas@contact-the-elderly.org.uk and help start changing the lives of the elderly right now.

Julia Rivas,

Contact the Elderly,