A BEFRIENDING service which reaches out to isolated and vulnerable people is set to expand to Uttoxeter as it urges communities to look out for elderly people this Christmas.
Derbyshire Dales (DD) Careline, which has just received a much-needed boost from Big Lottery, reaches out to the elderly, the isolated and the vulnerable, by offering a telephone befriending service.
The DD Careline, which is based at St Oswald’s Hospital, in Ashbourne, offers year-round support to people living alone and is now set to expand into the Uttoxeter area to help more people in need of their services.
Jane Fulham has stepped into the manager’s role at DD Careline while usual manager Marianne Jacques is on maternity leave.
She said: “The benefits of having some daily contact for elderly people are: having someone else to talk to aside from family; it helps with bereavement, a call or visit breaks up the day, it is enjoyable and helps them to make new friends.
“Our service users also tell us that it helps them to feel less lonely.
“Some of the things that our service users say they appreciate are having a laugh, knowing someone would call, making new friends and finding comfort in the contact.
“We also know that using the service has helped them to feel more confident in living independently in their own homes.
“Comments include that the service has helped them regain confidence after a period of poor health and bereavement and continues to do so in moving forward and trying to regain some independence.”
The vast majority of DD Careline’s users are older than 85 and many of them live in rural or isolated places, meaning those living in the rural areas surrounding Uttoxeter will now be helped.
Some have family who live far away and many rely on the service for their only human contact in a day.
Now, as the service expands to encompass more people who feel alone and isolated, Ms Fulham is appealing for the neighbours of elderly people to check on them at Christmas time.
She added: “Many of Careline’s service users live in a rural setting and are therefore, quite isolated and may not even see family during the festive period if family live away.
“We cannot assume that they are being cared for and are coping.
“We would encourage some contact, just a knock at the door, or bob through a Christmas card with a contact number if they need anything.
“Of course many elderly people do want to live independently, so the subtle observations are very useful, ie has their milk been taken in, are their lights on in the house, does it look like the post is being removed from letter box?
“Christmas time does provide an opportunity to make contact, where maybe introductions haven’t been made before.”
“We’d like to give our thanks and gratitude to all the volunteers and supporters of Careline, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.”