Activity packs help older people in Calderdale cope with loneliness and boredom

Audrey ClaytonAudrey Clayton
Audrey Clayton
Older people in Calderdale have been helped to cope with loneliness and boredom during the coronavirus pandemic with special activity packs thanks to Age UK and the Community Foundation for Calderdale.

More than 150 older people in Calderdale have received the packs to help keep them occupied.

Lisa Butland, chief executive of Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees, said: “Since lockdown, a lot of our older residents have been particularly affected by boredom and the feeling of being forgotten.

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“We have been making regular welfare calls and hearing some funny stories.

“One lady said she was keeping herself busy knitting; she wasn’t sure what she was knitting but it was keeping her busy!

“Research shows taking up a hobby and partaking in activities that we enjoy is important for quality of life and wellbeing.

“Our two Client Liaison Officers, Julie Taylor and Teresa Collins, came up with the idea of putting together activity packs.

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“To support this idea we were awarded a grant from the Community Foundation for Calderdale, and The Works in Woolshops helped us to source puzzle books as well as many other activities including windowsill seed boxes, colouring books, jigsaws and sudoku.

“Morrisons also supported the idea and kindly donated chocolates so each pack had some tea-time treats too.

“Julie and Teresa have co-ordinated and have delivered over 150 activity packs so far.”

One of the grateful recipients was 87-year-old Audrey Clayton, who moved in with a family member in lockdown after having her carers stopped due to restrictions.

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“After moving all the way from Oldham to Halifax, she needed to keep busy in her new surroundings so her daughter requested an activity pack from us,” said Lisa.

“We were then happy to receive some lovely feedback from Audrey and the family, saying ‘I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees for delivering the activity pack. My mum is overwhelmed with your kindness and it helped her settle in. She especially enjoyed the biscuits! We are going to do some colouring later and are spoilt for choice with the range of activities. Such a good idea!’

“Often older people are too ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help.

“At the beginning of lockdown a lot of older people were happy to stay at home to stay safe, but as time goes on these people are telling us that they are feeling forgotten but don’t want to be a nuisance.
“At Age UK we are here to help, don’t let an older person feel lonely, please contact us.”

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