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Annie Ashby recording MHA's BBC Radio 4 Appeal

Our Live at Home schemes have many great stories about how we have helped older people. Now one of those is to be told as part of a BBC Radio 4 Appeal to help raise funds for this vital service.

Our 57 schemes across England, Scotland and Wales support more than 10,300 older people who live independently in their own home. They help tackle the loneliness and isolation often felt by older people, many of whom live alone.

Members are involved with the type of activities run by their local schemes, and can include anything from exercise activities, day trips, tea dances, craft clubs, short holidays and lunch clubs. All the activities are aimed at improving the health and well being of members,

But the best way of describing the difference Live at Home makes to its members is through their stories. 

Annie’s story

When Annie Ashby first discovered Live at Home, she needed help and support. 

Having previously worked in fashion, construction and international politics, she found herself in Northwood for work purposes, knowing almost nobody. Her only family – her daughter and granddaughter – live in the States.

Annie recalls, “I frequently experienced loneliness, with so many hours of thinking, one thing after another. I was dealing with having no purpose, which was not something I was used to.”

But then she discovered Live at Home – and that made a great difference to her life, and has done so for the last ten years.

The first thing it did was to arrange transport for her to get to and from a hospital appointment as she no longer drives.  Then after that, the befrienders started coming.

“Sometimes we talk for hours,” Annie, now 81, says. Her befrienders take her out for tea, walks or to the cinema, or simply stay in and chat if she prefers. One of them showed her how to use her smartphone, and later her iPad. He still continues to come and help her to improve her technological skills. This helps her to keep in contact with her family and other aspects of life.

“I think Live at Home is the most important area of community improvement and wellbeing in the country now,” Annie says. “There’s a lack of community in the entire nation. There has to be change and coming together to stop the extreme detriment of loneliness in society. It contributes to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, it leads to the need for social care and it can be a killer.”

She added, “Northwood Live at Home is brilliant. All the staff and volunteers have enabled me to experience so much kindness and caring in the world once again, when for many years I had very little of those. I have so many lovely befrienders I can call on for help and fun, and this is part of what is now a full participation in life.

“If I choose, I can join in all the other activities that Live at Home offers.

“I have now the courage and confidence to step out and not be afraid to ask for help. Before Live at Home, I could never have done that.

“I know that I have a whole new chapter of life ahead of me, and with so much, thanks to Live at Home.”

To make a donation to the Appeal visit Best For Ages

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