Age UK calls on Harrogate residents to help thousands of elderly people self-isolating across district

The charity Age UK is calling on the general public to support over-70s in Harrogate as social distancing measures mean thousands in our district could be cut off from society.

Friday, 20th March 2020, 2:32 pm
Updated Friday, 20th March 2020, 2:32 pm

The Government has urged people over 70 and those with underlying health conditions to shield themselves from social contact for 12 weeks from this weekend (March 21/22) in a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

The Harrogate district has more than 27,500 over-70s, which is 17% of its overall population, the 82nd highest percentage of local authorities in England.

Age UK is asking people to support those over 70 who are self-isolating.

Age UK said it can only support older people with help from the public.

There are currently 8.7 million people aged 70 or older across the UK, representing about one in eight people.

There have already been a number of community aid groups set up across the country to help vulnerable people, including a number across our district.

“During this time of great uncertainty and anxiety, it’s been so heart-warming to see the groundswell of support for older people and other at-risk groups,” said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK.

“In the weeks and months ahead older people are going to rely on local Age UKs up and down the country more than ever before.

“We are determined to be there for older people, but the reality is that we can only do this with your help.”

Caroline has shared her top five ways to help the elderly in your local area:

Donate now: “Demand for our vital services has increased rapidly. Help local Age UKs in your area provide practical help such as food parcels and help us keep our Information & Advice and friendship services running by donating at www.ageuk.org.uk/coronaappeal.”

Keep in touch: phone your older relatives and friends to ask what they need – set up a rota with family and friends to make sure someone is regularly checking on them.

Lend a hand: if you’re feeling well, offer to pick up shopping for an older neighbour. Remember that when you offer to go to the shops and when you drop off any shopping, you need to knock on the door and step two metres back first. Leave any bags on the doorstep making sure they safely receive them. www.ageuk.org.uk/neighbourly has further tips and advice on being a good neighbour at this time

Share these numbers: for practical information and advice, Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65. For a cheerful chat, day or night, The Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90

Show you care: make homemade cards (a great project for kids), send postcards, write letters or even post small gifts to keep people’s spirits up.

With millions potentially shut off from society, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier this week that the draconian measures would help slow the spread of Covid-19, especially to at-risk groups.

In a speech on Monday, he said: “I know that many people – including millions of fit and active people over 70 – may feel, listening to what I have just said, that there is something excessive about these measures.

“But I have to say, I believe that they are overwhelmingly worth it to slow the spread of the disease, to reduce the peak, to save life, minimise suffering and to give our NHS the chance to cope.”