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Combatting isolation with Age UK

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Age UK strives to promote independent living for people in later life.

There are more people over the age of sixty than there ever has been before. In fact, this is the fastest growing group in society. Whilst this is great news as it means we can all look forward to longer and more fulfilled lives, old age can have its challenges.

This is where Age UK comes in. Working closely with elderly individuals, the national charity has branches across the UK that provide a wide array of services to their local communities. It is the largest charity in the country dedicated to this kind of work.

Age UK acts as a voice for people who have reached this milestone and who might not have the capability to speak out and stand up for themselves. The charity and its dedicated volunteers aim to inspire and enable older people.

The organisation has its roots in the 1940s. The Second World War had detrimental effects on British society, especially family life. Many had lost their main breadwinners during the conflict and there was no welfare state or provision for the poor at the time. Elderly people were one of the most vulnerable groups and this was often overlooked. 

However, several governmental and voluntary organisations banded together to see if they could improve the situation. They ended up forming The Old People’s Welfare Committee.

Hull’s own branch was set up in 1949 and has been providing quality support for the elderly ever since.

Services range from simple information and advice to help people make the best choices during later life, to conducting research on ways we can make life better for older people in the future. Age UK also works internationally in some of the poorest countries in the world to assist the elderly.

A key focus for Age UK is the wellbeing of the over 60s. Loneliness affects more than 3.6 million people in the UK, of whom 2 million are over the age of 75. Shockingly, 1.9 people frequently feel ignored by or invisible to the rest of society. According to Age UK, although it’s an often disregarded issue, loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.

Age UK tackles this society-wide problem by connecting elderly people with others, supporting them to maintain independence for longer and encouraging them to stay active.

At the Healthy Living Centre in Hull, there is a multi-gym, hydrotherapy facility and sauna rooms, as well as dance and exercise classes to promote health and wellbeing. Open to everyone over the age of 50, the centre is a community of like-minded individuals that want to get the most from their lives.

“With over 16 different activities, including Zumba, tap dancing, walking netball and hula hooping, there’s something for everyone,” says Fitness Manager, Kathryn Beardshall. “Sessions range from just £3.75 to £4.75.”

“We frequently run Pick and Mix days ,where people can come along and try a bit of everything to see which groups they might like to join.”

Age UK Hull is continuously looking for volunteers and fundraisers to help with its offering. With over one hundred people already dedicating their time, the charity provides opportunities for people in every part of the organisation.

Find out more about Age UK Hull.

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