OLD AGE: Over the past two weeks, the Rotary Club of Till & Glendale has been informed about some of the most crucial issues surrounding old age in north Northumberland.
First, Catrina Flynn from Age UK spoke about the range of paid-for and free services that are available to older people in the area.
Services vary from home care, day centre provision, lunch clubs and a telephone advice and support line.
Particularly important in this area, Age UK provides a Rural Access Project, reducing social isolation and offering trips to shops, tourist attractions and places of historical interest – with the aim of giving older people the opportunity to get out of their homes for a while.
Catrina informed the meeting that Northumberland has the lowest rate of claims for Attendance Allowance - a non means-tested benefit – extraordinary in an area with such a large proportion of older residents. Worryingly, funding for Age UK services here largely runs out next year, so service continuity will depend on finance being secured.
The second speaker was Linda Sneddon from the Alzheimer’s Society who talked about dementia and the work of the Society in campaigning on behalf of sufferers and their families as well as providing vital services.
Overall the Society provides 2,000 services and spends £6million a year on research.
Rotarians learned that dementia takes many forms and one in 14 people over 65 have one kind or another. It’s a disease of the brain and not a natural part of growing older.
And with appropriate support, people can live well with the disease. Linda offered five top tips for avoiding dementia: eating healthily, eliminating high fats & sugars, getting active, watching blood and cholesterol levels and giving up smoking.
Locally the Alzheimer’s Society offers a range of services including a café, support for sufferers and their carers, a wide variety of social and activity-based services and, planned for the future, there’s to be a courtyard garden.
Home visiting is an integral part of the service which is constantly developing to meet service users’ demands.
The Rotary Club has held its third coffee morning in Wooler and raised nearly £300 in a well-attended Glendale Hall. Thanks to all those who support the Club.
If you would like more information about Rotary and the Till & Glendale Club, then don’t hesitate to contact Secretary Maggie Harker on 01289 388490.