This week is National Safeguarding Adults Week and here at the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board, we are working with our partners to encourage local people to do their bit in combatting loneliness and keeping vulnerable people safe, writes Allan Breeton.
Loneliness can have a major impact on someone’s wellbeing, with Age UK saying it can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
It is also affecting an increasing number of people, particularly those in later life.
We can all do something to help and even small actions can make a big impact.
Why not pop in and see an elderly neighbour, find out if they’re okay and have a cup of tea together?
You may be the only person they talk to that day.
If they are struggling to get out and about, you could offer to drive them to places or go shopping for them.
You could also help people to get connected to information, services and support online.
There is a wide range of information available online which can be filtered by age, location and interest.
But this can be daunting for someone who isn’t used to technology.
By sitting with someone and helping them get connected to local support, you could make a huge difference.
It’s not just about helping people to get out and about.
You can play an important role in keeping people safe from scams or abuse.
By being vigilant, you may also be able to help someone who is struggling at home or has had a fall and get them the help and support they need.
This is particularly important during the winter months when people are more likely to stay inside their homes.
If you have spare time and want to help others, you could become a volunteer or a befriender and offer regular support to people who need it.
Whatever you can do, your support can really help.
By tackling loneliness now, this can help prevent instances of abuse or neglect further down the line.
Find out more here.
Allan Breeton is the independent chairman of the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board.