Third sector organisations across Scotland delivered crucial support to older people during the pandemic.
In the past year older people across Scotland have been faced with multiple challenges due to COVID-19. For many, shielding increased isolation and limited their ability to partake in the day to day routines that keep life healthy and balanced. Scotland’s third sector organisations responded to the acute needs that were presented in terms of the support required by older people during lockdowns. Providing crucial input, organisations have been working at the heart of communities and nationally to make a difference.
Faith in Older People (FiOP) supports the spiritual wellbeing of older people and those who care for them. Their response to the pandemic has been to support those who care in their own homes, residential care and through faith communities by establishing a free, online, confidential Listening and Caring Service (this link will take you away from our website) provided by experienced listeners so that carers have an opportunity to off-load their experience, feelings, anxieties in a safe place that is away from work and family. This support was key to helping many through the tough lockdown periods.
The Food Train which supports older people living at home stepped up its food delivery service, essential for those shielding who could not leave home, and checked in with people making 9,000 check in calls in the first months of lockdown. Clocking up 1600 hours overtime in an eight week period, dedicated staff and volunteers showed their commitment and dedication to those they support. This service, always a crucial one in the communities it serves, really came to the fore during lockdowns and most people reported that they would like to receive support from The Food Train on an ongoing basis.
Generations Working Together (GWT) is the nationally recognised centre of excellence supporting the development and integration of intergenerational work across Scotland. GWT, thanks to increased funding, upscaled their work to include online training and a directory of activities as well as one on one support for care home staff. Given the pressures placed on care home staff during the pandemic this was a crucial response that was well received.
Alzheimer Scotland adapted rapidly to COVID-19 conditions, recognising that the majority of those they support fell under the shielding or high risk categories. With changes in routines and life upended families reported a worsening of dementia symptoms in their loved ones. Quickly moving support online, Alzheimer Scotland continued to provide a sense of community even though people were being kept apart. The organisation also offered telephone befriending and where at all possible, one to one support.
These organisations provided lifelines for people facing the most challenging of circumstances during the pandemic and their positive impact on those they support continues as we slowly begin to emerge from lockdowns.