Tackling the battle with loneliness

Health Trainers service manager Natalie Belt
Health Trainers service manager Natalie Belt

You won’t be able to get away from hearing Lonely This Christmas in the next few weeks, but Bridlington’s Health Trainers have warned that loneliness will affect thousands of local people during the festive season.

They want residents to connect with an older neighbour during the Christmas period, which will hopefully lift their spirits but also reduce the number of slips, trips, falls and preventable hospital admissions at a very busy time of year.

Service manager Natalie Belt said: “In Bridlington we have an ageing population, often living by themselves and seeing no one from one week to the next.

“Christmas time is key to offering that neighbour a friendly helping hand - whether you pop around to ask if they need any help or support, or get a few essentials for them while at the shops .

“If the weather turns wintry you may help clear path for them or take their bins out, you could offer to help pick up any medication they require.

“It’s a time of year where we who live with others take for granted but especially in the coastal area, we unfortunately have a very lonely, isolated and vulnerable population.”

Bridlington has above the national average of people over the age of 45. Around 30 per cent of the population are over 65 and there are almost 5,500 over 75s.

A local project called the Easycare Pathfinder, aimed at getting over 75s to improve their physical and mental health by going to more social groups and meeting new friends, instead of relying on antibiotics and prescriptions, has been shortlisted for national awards.

Natalie added: “We need to ensure we offer as much support and engagement for older people, so they too feel like they have someone to call upon or contact if required, maybe someone to call them weekly just to check in and in return they feel they have contact with someone which offers reassurance and less worry.

“If you know of an older person living on their own or caring for another who you have not spoken to for a while, make this year the opportunity to talk to them.”