New service set up to help isolated elderly people

Age UK's Care Assist co-ordinator Clare Murray.
Age UK's Care Assist co-ordinator Clare Murray.
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A new service has been set up to reach isolated elderly people in need.

Care Assist is a new Age UK Sunderland service, which was set up in October this year to link Age UK services with its partner agencies, to help meet the needs of elderly people in the city.

The Sunderland Echo is teaming up with Age UK’s office in the city to launch our No One Should Have No One campaign – urging people to help the charity, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.

Project co-ordinator Clare Murray said the service hopes to tackle a multitude of problems facing the city’s elderly residents, and in particular loneliness, by offering Age UK and partnering services.

She said: “Care Assist is a new innovative service which depends on our collaboration between ourselves, Sunderland Age UK, along with partners Sunderland Care and Support and part of the council service, Sunderland Carers Service.

“It is a city-wide service which aims to help individuals and their carers to have access to the support appropriate to their needs.”

An individual needing help can self-refer themselves for the service by ringing in or a third party, such as a GP or social worker, can ring in on their behalf.

The Age UK team conducts an initial assessment of their needs within days of the call, lasting about 40 minutes, and then recommends Age UK or its partner services to solve their problems.

“If someone is isolated in their own home, for example, we can refer them on to one of our Age UK lunch clubs,” Ms Murray added.

“We take a holistic look at their needs

“We can also support them in their own home though services like the Age UK Lifestyle service.”

The service encourages individuals or third parties to ring in and ask for support from the service. It is aimed at helping those who don’t quite meet the criteria for adult service support, but still desperately require help to prevent them from reaching crisis and becoming isolated.

Although volunteers are not needed for this particular service, Ms Murray said volunteers are “crucial” in order to run the other services, which Care Assist uses to meet individual’s needs.

Ms Murray added:“Our volunteers really are fantastic, and without them Age UK would have difficulties delivering services.

“In order to offer these services to people it is vital we have the volunteers to deliver that service.”

Anyone needing the help of Care Assist can call Clare Murray on 0191 514 8324.