Elderly facing lonely lives due to cutbacks

Spalding Age UK general manager Liz Walmsley says budget cuts add up to lonely lives for the old. SG231013-225NG
Spalding Age UK general manager Liz Walmsley says budget cuts add up to lonely lives for the old. SG231013-225NG

Age UK is calling for a “seismic shift” in Government funding for older people as cuts to council budgets mean many spend lonely lives at home because they are too infirm to go out.

Those who have fleeting care visits of ten to 15 minutes are now forced to decide whether to accept help to get dressed in the morning or simply talk to their carer because they won’t see anybody else.

Liz Walmsley, general manager of Spalding Age UK, said: “Some say ‘I will sit in my nightdress all day because I haven’t got anyone else to talk to’.

“If we just sit at home all weekend, we know we can go out – but if you can’t go out for physical infirmity and age, then it does have a different feel about it. You are stuck there, you can’t go out if you want to.”

Some can only afford to go one or two days a week to the charity’s Spalding day centre and then spend endless hours alone at home.

When infirm old folk have lost partners and have families living far away, they also find their friends of the same age are in the same boat and can’t visit.

Spalding stroke sufferer and diabetic Jean Sanderson (83) can’t use her right hand and injects insulin with her left hand. She has ulcers on her legs and uses a wheelchair.

Jean spends £22.40 a day, five days a week to attend Age UK’s day centre.

She said: “Weekends are terrible. My grandson picks me up every Friday night for a meal, but then I don’t see anybody then until the Monday morning when I get picked up.”

Mrs Walmsley says older people’s services have seen huge cuts and the problem of loneliness will be made worse if warden services go.