Information on helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation has been added to the council’s Safeguarding Adults page guidance section.
Loneliness and social isolation can affect anyone, if people are experiencing social isolation due to poor health, disability, bereavement, retirement or lack of transport, then it can have a negative impact on their wellbeing.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Safeguarding) said: “Not everyone who is alone is lonely and for those who are alone by choice, this is a different matter. However, we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe in the community.”
The Barnsley Safeguarding Adults Board has developed some top tips on how the borough’s residents can join in with the council’s efforts to help with this issue.
- Say hello! We all like to be acknowledged and small gestures often mean the world.
- Say ‘I’m here’ with something delicious – Next time you make dinner and have a spare portion, why not pop it round to gift it to an elderly neighbour or relative?
- Ask if you can help - Ask if they would like anything picking up whilst you are at the supermarket or shop.
- Offer a lift – Many people have had to give up their personal transport due to ill-health or old-age and this can be a key contributing factor towards their social isolation.
- Introduce the internet and get connected - Technology – such as mobile phones – and the internet can be confusing to older people at first but, with the right instruction and the right type of device, they can have a very positive impact on loneliness.
- Know how to get help - Make sure people who live on their own have access to all the phone numbers they may need in an emergency or if they require help or support.
- Check on them – Some people are at risk from being housebound or isolated in the winter months, either due to the weather or illness, so it’s especially important that we take a moment to check-in on them.
- See if you can learn a lesson - Sometimes, because a person is elderly, in poor health or housebound, we forget that they have a wealth of life experience under their belts which we could readily learn from.
- Become a Volunteer or Befriender – Just one hour per week could make a real difference, you could become a volunteer or befriender, for more information on how to do this visit Voluntary Action Barnsley www.vabarnsley.org.uk/volunteering/
If you are concerned about an adult you can report it in the following ways:
In an emergency, call the police on 999 or 01442 202020. If you're worried about an adult, but you don't feel they're in immediate danger, please call Adult Social Services about it as soon as possible on (01226) 773300. To report an urgent concern outside of office hours, call the emergency duty team on 0844 984 1800. They work on weekends and bank holidays and deal with issues that can't wait until usual office opening hours.