Campaign aims to end isolation of the elderly

Charity Age Scotland is calling on community groups and schools in Aberdeenshire to join its campaign to end isolation among older people.

In the run up to the council elections on May 3 they are invited to make a map highlighting barriers to older people getting out and about locally, and to use this to sign up local politicians to actions that will make the neighbourhood more age friendly.

Age Scotland’s free pack, titled ‘Walk in our shoes, Act on our issues,’ includes all the materials needed for an attractive and ‘easy to make’ map. Groups can invite candidates to walk with them on map routes to see the issues for themselves, and encourage each candidate to make a pledge to remove barriers to older people’s inclusion in the community.

Local Age Scotland Development Officer Suzy Gentle says: “Problems such as broken pavements, poor disabled access, unreliable bus services, closed public toilets and dim street lighting can discourage older people from leaving home.

Where neighbourhoods are age unfriendly older people can end up under virtual house arrest, living a lonely and isolated life with an associated health risk higher than lifelong smoking. 4 percent of over 50s in Scotland, equivalent to the population of Inverness, never see any family, friends or neighbours.

“We’ll provide the kit, so all that groups need to do is use their local knowledge and make sure their map is based on older residents’ views and experiences.

It’s an opportunity not only to put older people’s needs higher up the local agenda, but also to get to know your older neighbours better – and that in itself helps reduce isolation.”

‘Walk in our shoes, Act on our issues’ packs can be requested from Tel. 0845 833 0200 and by email to: georgia.bell@agescotland.org.uk.

Visit www.agescotland.org.uk/campaign for more information.

The statistic that 4 percent of over 50s in Scotland never see any family, friends or neighbours comes from an Age Scotland commissioned poll of 1000 adults age 50 and over in Scotland that was undertaken by Vision Critical in April 2011.