There is no doubt that autumn is gone and the winter months are here. Weather forecasters have predicted that this will be a particularly cold winter, and with rapidly rising fuel bills, there is an even greater risk of many elderly people suffering severely from the cold conditions.
There are several charities and organisations which help the elderly. Last year we took a look at Contact the Elderly, who organise vital social meet-ups for elderly people. This year we shall look at Age UK, which is a new charity created from the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged. Age UK have an Essex arm, Age UK Essex.
Age UK’s Mission in Essex
Age UK’s mission is to improve the lives of older people in Essex. It does this by promoting positive attitudes towards older people, influencing public policies, promoting effective care and supporting independence, choice and opportunity for older people.
Age UK Essex offers a wide range of products and services either directly or through their partners. Many of their services are free at the point of use and funded by fundraising activities, donations, shops, Age UK’s trading arm or by unitary and other bodies. Some services may carry a charge to cover costs. As a charity, Age UK focuses on operating as efficiently as possible to deliver the maximum benefit to as many people who need their services.
Surviving Winter Appeal
The Age UK Essex, British Red Cross and Essex Community Foundation have teamed up for the Surviving Winter Appeal, designed to help the elderly and the most vulnerable cope with the worst of the winter weather. Together they are offering practical help and support including:
- A Warm Pack to ensure you are prepared for severe weather. The pack includes a fleece, a hot water bottle and a flask to keep drinks warm.
- A Food Pack to help you through if severe weather hits and you can’t get out to the shops. The pack will contain essentials such as tea, soup, ready meals and biscuits.
- An Electric Heater to help you keep warm if your heating breaks or you run out of oil.
- Help and Advice is also included to make sure you receive all you are entitled to.
To request your warm pack all you need to do is register with Age UK Essex by calling 01245 245455. Carers can apply on behalf of elderly and vulnerable people. A Food Pack will be delivered to you by the British Red Cross, whatever the weather.
Information and Advice
Age UK have a dedicated team who handle enquires and provide information and advice on a range of topics. Their team is experienced and knowledgeable and provide unbiased advice about welfare benefits, health and social care, housing options, local services and support, and just about anything else. This service is available to anyone in Essex in later life, their friends, family or carer.
“Advocacy is about taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services that they need.” www.actionforadvocacy.org.uk
Age UK’s advocates and advocacy services work in partnership with the people they support and promote social inclusion, equality and social justice for all older people. This service is free and independent.
This service is available for people over 50 living in their own home and who have difficulty doing housework or shopping. The Home Help Service is a weekly paid-for service which includes a one-off registration fee, an hourly cost, and a mileage charge for shopping. However, as a not-for-profit charity, we try to keep these as low as possible.
Home Befriending Service
Age UK are committed to preventing older people in Essex becoming isolated and to help them remain happy and independent by providing friendship and company. This id done through the Home Befriending Service, where trained and vetted volunteer “befrienders” extend a hand of friendship to older people by a weekly visit, or phone call. As well as providing company it is also the perfect way to keep a friendly eye out, and to direct the people we visit to other services offered by Age UK Essex and our partner organisations.
Toenail Cutting Service
Age UK Essex has a team of toenail trimmers who travel throughout the county to help clients remain mobile, active and free from discomfort. Our sessions are held at easily-accessible venues and are by appointment, so you know when you will be seen. Dates and times are available on a pdf downloaded from www.ageuk.org.uk/essex/activities–events.
There is a one-off £5 registration fee and every trims costs £13 if you come to one of our venues, or £20 if we come to your home in the Chelmsford area. If you would like more information or to make an appointment please call: 01245 423 333 or email [email protected].
Silver Surfing in Chelmsford
If you are over 50, live in or near Chelmsford you can join Age UK’s Silver Surfing course which offers a six week beginner course on basic computer skills, Internet, sending and receiving emails, maintaining your PC, backing up pictures and documents and using CD’s, memory sticks and Skype. Courses run over a six week period and cost £60.00.
For more information about our Silver Surfing course and our computer club please call Jeremy Anderson on: 01708 374 537.
Age UK Essex Clubs
There are many clubs across Essex where you can drop in to meet and chat. Some clubs offer specific support too, such as the Pathfinders Blind Group, Arthritis Care, and Stroke Clubs. They are held at various times, often lunch time or early evening.
Full clubs and groups schedule for all of Essex can be found on the Age UK Essex website; www.ageuk.org.uk/essex/activities–events.
Contact Age UK Essex
For more information contact the Age UK information and advice team on: 01245 346 106 or email: [email protected]. Lines are open between: 09:00 and 16:30. Alternately drop in and see us at our Chelmsford Office, 112 Springfield Road.