Welfare reforms leaving pensioners isolated and lonely, say North-East charity

Age UK Chief Executive Officer Gillian Peel.

Age UK Chief Executive Officer Gillian Peel.

First published in News by

PENSIONERS are being left lonely and isolated by welfare reform and the situation is set to worsen, according to a North-East charity.

Cuts to the adult social care budget in recent years mean less people are now eligible for help with care and social needs.

Within many local authorities - and in line with central government guidance – only those assessed as having critical or substantial needs are eligible to access adult social care services and related funds.

While those with moderate or low needs can usually access ‘reenablement’ - short term support offered in a bid to help them regain independence – they do not receive direct payments, residential care, short breaks or home care from their local authority.

The chief executive of Age UK Darlington said the reforms meant many pensioners were left struggling and feeling cut off, isolated and lonely.

Gillian Peel said: “There’s a limited budget and fewer people are eligible for council support – that’s nobody’s fault, it’s something happening nationwide.

“People with critical and substantial needs are eligible but many people who are isolated or have other issues no longer qualify.

“They are being left and are becoming even more isolated. Loneliness can lead to depression and depression in older people can lead to the early onset of illnesses like dementia – it also reduces the quality of life and we want to build that back up.

“There could be an even bigger impact when more changes come into being next April and we are always trying to come up with ideas to bridge the gap.

“People who used to access day care and other services on the NHS now come to us and we’re facing an increase in demand just when funding is hardest to get.”

The charity has seen a massive increase in demand for its services since the changes were implemented in 2010.

It now works to bridge the gap left by welfare cuts by offering advice and information, befriending services and a packed calendar of social events, cafes and classes aimed at building up a solid network of support and friendship for the town’s older population.

To help the organisation cope with rising demand, they are appealing for volunteers and donations.

For more information about the support offered by the organisation, for information on volunteering or to donate, visit ageuk.org.uk/darlington or call 01325-362832.

Comments (4)

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9:09pm Wed 13 Aug 14

spragger says...

So sad that so many old folk have no friends & relatives, at all
So sad that so many old folk have no friends & relatives, at all spragger
  • Score: 5

11:10am Thu 14 Aug 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

What a Society we live in where pensioners are feeling lonely and isolated.
We owe a great deal to our pensioners and this is the thanks they get by these Government austerity cuts. Previous Governments have cut the basic levels of care for pensioners but this Coalition Government has shown just how uncaring they are making the cuts the reason for these so called drastic measures. Still blaming the previous Government for the mess but they don't seem to blame the bankers who got us in this mess also.
But they have not suffered at all and the greed of this Government is astounding with their expenses no austerity for them.
People have a choice at the next election who to vote for and while they are all the same in my book this Coalition Government have been one of the worst in my life time alongside Thatcher. At least this Government is consistent it hates just about hates every group out there the unemployed.disabled.
pensioners.single parents the list is endless they only love their own THE RICH.
What a Society we live in where pensioners are feeling lonely and isolated. We owe a great deal to our pensioners and this is the thanks they get by these Government austerity cuts. Previous Governments have cut the basic levels of care for pensioners but this Coalition Government has shown just how uncaring they are making the cuts the reason for these so called drastic measures. Still blaming the previous Government for the mess but they don't seem to blame the bankers who got us in this mess also. But they have not suffered at all and the greed of this Government is astounding with their expenses no austerity for them. People have a choice at the next election who to vote for and while they are all the same in my book this Coalition Government have been one of the worst in my life time alongside Thatcher. At least this Government is consistent it hates just about hates every group out there the unemployed.disabled. pensioners.single parents the list is endless they only love their own THE RICH. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 0

6:34pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Border Terrier says...

The Tories prefer age group 25-55, fit young and healthy working Taxpayers. They are not bothered about any other groups!
The Tories prefer age group 25-55, fit young and healthy working Taxpayers. They are not bothered about any other groups! Border Terrier
  • Score: -1

9:27pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Counterview says...

Border Terrier wrote:
The Tories prefer age group 25-55, fit young and healthy working Taxpayers. They are not bothered about any other groups!
You forgot - Donors!!!
[quote][p][bold]Border Terrier[/bold] wrote: The Tories prefer age group 25-55, fit young and healthy working Taxpayers. They are not bothered about any other groups![/p][/quote]You forgot - Donors!!! Counterview
  • Score: 0

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