Your pledging stories
Louise – I helped an older person do something they love
I got to know an elderly man living near me, whose wife was in a care home, as she had dementia. He got a lift from the Red Cross to see her once a week, but he desperately wanted to see her more often, as he loved her dearly. I offered to take him another two days a week. I was at home looking after my young children, and I soon realised that he loved seeing them too.
He was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. He would tell me lots of interesting things about where we lived (I was new to the area), and give us apples from his garden. I gave him the gift of time with his wife. He died a couple of years later, and I’m so happy I helped make that time easier for him.
Pledge to help an older person do something they love or enjoy a hobby
Jon – We struck up a conversation with someone alone in a cafe
We were having lunch in a café near work and noticed an elderly partially-sighted man on his own, with just a pint of beer for company, so we decided to say hello. It was fascinating to hear about George's early life in a children's home, his 'luck' in getting a job at the abattoir after weeks of trying, and the fun he’d had driving a traction engine around farms in his youth.
He offered us a pinch of snuff from the ebony box he'd been given by a barrister! It made us sneeze, quel surprise, and nicely counteracted the effect of the beer. More than that, it made us glad we’d been so brazen. He goes there regularly, to get out of the sheltered accommodation he lives in, so hopefully we’ll bump into him again soon.
Pledge to smile and say hello
Julie – I call my Grandmother to remind her to take her medicine
My 94 year old widowed grandmother lives on her own two hours away from me, my sister, and our mum. My uncle lives near her but is sometimes away travelling for long periods. We visit as often as we can, especially when he’s not there, but she can still go a few weeks without seeing any family. A couple of neighbours and her cleaner are kind enough to do a few things for her.
She sometimes forgets to take her medication, and she can get quite low and lonely. It makes a real difference when my mum, my sister and I call her to see how’s she’s doing, remind her about the medicine and tell her (loudly!) that we love her. She does not want to move, and we can’t either, so calling is the next best thing.
Pledge to phone an older relative
Ruth – My daughter and I visit a neighbour every week
I asked Age UK if there was someone living near me that my teenage daughter could visit and play music to. They introduced me to Susan, who lives alone and is housebound and loves music and art and talking to young people. Her own children and grandchildren don’t live nearby. My daughter now goes round to visit Susan every week, they enjoy each other’s company.
Susan has lent my daughter CD’s and art books, and is full of praise for her. I’ve helped Susan do small things that her carers don’t do for her. I know without our visits and those of a few other neighbours she’d be very miserable. Just little things like sitting together in her garden on a sunny day, enjoying the flowers that her grandson planted for her, makes a world of difference to someone who can’t get out.
Pledge to have a cup of tea with a friend or neighbour