A Sunderland grandmother has praised the work of a Wearside charity for helping her get back on her feet.
Margaret Taylor, 83, from Roker, was put in contact with Age UK while she was in Sunderland Royal Hospital recovering from a broken ankle.
The charity put her in contact with their Hospital Discharge Service who were able to assist her on her return home by helping around the house.
Once Margaret got settled they then referred her to the charity’s LIFEstyle Service which sends a member of their team around weekly to help with cleaning and shopping.
Margaret, who lives with her husband Bill, 87, said she is supporting the Age UK ‘No One Should Have No One’ campaign - which is being backed by the Echo- which urges people to help the charity, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.
“A lady from Age UK came to see me when I was in hospital and asked if would I need any help when I got home,” Margaret added. “I said yes, I would need it, because my husband doesn’t drive and I couldn’t drive at that time. They came round straight away and I had help for around six or seven weeks.
“The lady I had was very helpful and friendly and she even took me to the shopping centre and supervised me as I walked around.
After seven weeks they put me on the LIFEstyle Service and still help around the house. It is an excellent service.”
Margaret who has one son and three grandsons, who all live away, said the service has helped her a great deal.
She added: “It is important that people know help is available and I do think it is important for volunteers to help out.”
The LIFEstyle service is run by a team of experienced personal assistants who carry out work including housework; shopping and companionship.
In Sunderland there are 11 LIFEstyle workers who provide 134 hours of support per week to a total of 112 service users.
The Hospital Discharge team based at Sunderland Royal Hospital ensure the transition from home is safe and comfortable to reduce instances of older people being re-admitted.
Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year as we enjoy festive cheer with our families and friends.
But for many elderly folk across Wearside, it can be a very lonely time.
In Sunderland, Age UK estimates there are 42,771 people aged 60 and over who could be classed as lonely or socially isolated. Of those, some 9,982 are over 80.
Age UK says some senior citizens in Sunderland can go for a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.
The Sunderland Echo is teaming up with Age UK’s team 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.
Age UK is also calling for local and national government action to recognise loneliness as a serious health hazard and put policies in place to tackle it.
It is asking the public to sign its loneliness petition to make sure no one has no one.
It wants to see the Government and Sunderland City Council develop strategies to map, prevent and address loneliness; evaluate and improve existing services to combat loneliness; and invest in testing and evaluating innovative solutions to loneliness.
To sign the petition online or donate to Age UK, visit the charity’s website.
Alternatively, click here to get a printable version of the petition to sign and send in – get your friends to sign it too.
To get involved in volunteering, contact Age UK Sunderland volunteer co-ordinator Barry Hall on 0191 5141131