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Godalming plays part in tackling "epidemic" of loneliness

Elderly

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 6:01am 28th February 2017. (Updated at 12:16pm 28th February 2017)

A charity's found a "stark" difference between the way older men and women cope with the loss of a loved one.

A poll just out by Independent Age has found 32 percent of men don't turn to anyone for emotional or practical support- compared with just 18 percent of women.

Its research has discovered that although women are more likely to open up, they still report greater feelings of loneliness.

Meanwhile in Godalming, moves are underway to tackle loneliness among the elderly.

Mark Pateman is Director of Older People's Ministry for Busbridge and Hambledon Church.

He has set up a scheme in Godalming, to reach out to elderly people in isolated or rural areas.

They are currently running a three tier programme to combat loneliness for the elderly.

It offers one-to-one befriending, Prime Time social activities and a Hearing Aid service.

They are a Church-based project  but work in partnership with the Local Authority, doctors, schools and local business.

He says some people wouldn't think it's an issue in this area: "There is a tremendous amount of lonely people. I mean Godalming is quite an affluent area, as it happens, based in Surrey.

"People assume that people have money, so there's no issue with loneliness.

"However, people's families either live away from home, or they're abroad now, the world's a much smaller place of course, and people are quite lonely".

Mark also added that from a marketing perspective, things like the John Lewis advert raise awareness of the problem nationally - but still not enough is being done: "All the top marketing gurus out there have managed to sort of elevate the issues that we've got.

"Where we struggle is on the ground, locally I feel. There's a national campaign, there's big things happening.

" But how does that get transferred down to the average lonely old person on the street?

"And I think that's where we come in. We manage to look at it from a local perspective.

"We look at our area, we understand our demographics, we know through local knowledge where people are likely to be pocketed."

"Where there's no bus links, no interaction, poor internet service, no shop, no pub, no post office. We can identify where those people are."

 

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