Age UK Mid Devon is supporting older people as part of a three year programme to help older people feel less lonely and get the most out of later life, funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the freemason’s charity.
The grant of £63,000, awarded on behalf of freemasons from the Province of Devonshire, is part of a £1 million grant from the MCF to Age UK. The MCF is funded by freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Age UK Mid Devon who are based in Tiverton is one of twelve regional Age UKs and one local Age Cymru delivering Later Life Goals. This is a specially designed programme providing tailored, one-to-one support for older people who are experiencing major transitions in their lives, such as bereavement, serious health diagnosis or a partner going to live in a care home and is being co-ordinated here in Tiverton by Amber Johnston.
Age UK research shows that significant life moments like these can be triggers for older people becoming more isolated and experiencing loneliness. Loneliness can have a serious impact on older people’s physical and mental health. Research has shown that being lonely can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day .
The new programme aims to support people through these pivotal life moments to help them plan ahead, stay connected and feel less lonely.
Thanks to Later Life Goals, older people in Mid Devon have been benefiting from tailored support from specialist, trained advisors, be that information, advice or links to services or social activities.
A comment from a recipient of help from Age UK was:-
‘At a very stressful time in my life, I am so grateful for the support that Age UK Mid Devon have been able to give me. It was all very confusing for me, but through the support and guidance that Age UK Mid Devon gives me, I now feel back in control of my life. I must say, I am happier and healthier than I ever expected I could be at this stage in my life, and for that I say a big thank you to you all.’
Molly Holmes Chief Officer at Age UK Mid Devon, said:
“We’re proud to be delivering the Later Life Goals programme and are very grateful to all the freemasons from the Province of Devonshire for their generous support of us here in Tiverton and the Mid Devon area. The programme has already had significant impact, helping us to improve the wellbeing of older people in the local area.
“Changes in circumstances and transitions in life can generate a range of challenges and emotions. However, with loneliness having huge health implications, we want to ensure that local older people get the right support to help them stay connected and overcome feelings of isolation these pivotal life moments may bring.
Ian Kingsbury from the Devonshire freemasons said:
“We’re very pleased to be able to work closely with Age UK to help with one of the most difficult issues affecting older people today. Loneliness not only makes people miserable, but can have a very serious impact on physical health. With the right support there are many older people who can have their lives transformed.”
Older people and their families or friends looking for support in Mid Devon can call Age UK in Tiverton on 01884-255369 and speak to service manager Vanessa Bryant or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/middevon.