Staying in touch in late life
There are many reasons why people can start to feel lonely or isolated as they get older. It can happen after retirement or the loss of a loved one, because social circles tend to shrink as we get older, or because of problems with health and mobility.
On this page we take a look at the many ways in which older people can tackle loneliness and isolation and stay in touch with the wider world.
We've put together a list of local organisations who can offer you opportunities to get out and about and meet people. We've included suggestions on how you can get to where you want to go if travelling has become more difficult. And we've suggested ways in which you can stay in touch with other people even if you struggle to leave the house.
If you or somebody you know is feeling lonely or isolated then read this page and find out what's going on locally.
And don't forget that in our Events calendar you can find information on all sorts of activities and events which will help you to stay active, busy and in touch.
Day centres and local hubs regularly hold activities and events where residents can meet people, get free information and advice, and stay active.
In-Deep Community Task Force
In-Deep Community Task Force offer friendship and support with a range of activities and services to people living in Westminster.
In-Deep CTF puts a breakfast on every Friday at Grosvenor Hall, Vincent St, SW1 from 9.00am - 11.45pm. The also run:
- Monthly massage, manicure and pedicure services are run by trained professionals.
- Annual Christmas dinner and Christmas hamper scheme.
- Home visiting scheme.
Age UK Westminster
Age UK Westminster promotes the well-being of older people in the London borough of Westminster. This local service provides:
- Winter checks - a telephone service for vulnerable older clients over the winter months
- Information and advice
- Befriending services
Open Age Westminster - community hubs and more
Open Age has been championing active lives for older people for over 20 years. Services are available to any one aged 50 or older.
The charity provides a wide range of physical, creative and mentally stimulating activities to enable older people to develop new skills, fulfil their potential, and encourage social interaction, thus helping reduce loneliness, isolation and depression.
The organisation operates across a number of sites including:
The Penfold Street hub
The Penfold Community Hub (run by the Notting Hill Housing Group) is a hub in Westminster where anyone over the age of 50 can drop in and take part in over 100 weekly activities, find out about other services, and get the information they need to help them to stay independent and live a healthy and active life.
The Pullen Day Centre
The Pullen Day Centre offers day care for 25 physically frail older people a day on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
On Thursdays they offer support for 20 people with dementia.
Other opportunities in Westminster
Take a look at our leaflet with details of a wide range of day centres, drop-in centres and hubs in Westminster.
Kensington and Chelsea
Open Age has active sites that operate across Kensington and Chelsea. with active branches including:
Quest Day Centre & Kensington Day Centre
The Quest offers a varied programme of activities for older people with dementia or mental health problems, all with the underlying aim of maintaining or restoring independent living skills. Typical services on offer include the popular Lunch Club, visits by a community psychiatric nurse trips to the theatre/cinema, day trips and annual holidays.
Other opportunities in Kensington and Chelsea
You can take a look at our list of day centres and drop-in centres in Kensington and Chelsea
Hammersmith and Fulham
Imperial Wharf Resource Centre
The Imperial Wharf Resource Centre offers a safe environment for older people to socialise, enjoy a nutritious meal and take part in a range of activities.
Take a look at their leaflet to find out more.
Agewell provide a wide variety of exercise and healthy living activities for the over 50's in Hammersmith, Fulham and the West Kensington area.
Elgin Close Resource Centre
The Elgin Close Resource Centre provides a range of activities and activities for anyone over the age of 18, including advice workshops, activities, IT facilities, space to read and a daily lunch club. There is a dedicated outreach worker and drop-in service
Other opportunities in Hammersmith and Fulham
Take a look at our list of day centres and other opportunities for older people, people with physical or learning disabilities, and people with mental health problems in Hammersmith and Fulham.
London is a very cosmopolitan city; if you want to spend some time with people with a similar cultural background to your own then take a look at our page on Black and ethnic minority activity and social groups for some ideas.
There are a number of organisations offering support and social opportunities for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people, including some organisations supporting older people. Have a look at our page on LGBT+ activity and social groups to find out more.
If you are stuck at home then many organisations organise volunteers who can come and visit you in your home on a regular basis for a chat - go to our page on Befriending services to find out more.
In our Events section we are trying to gather together information on a wide range of activities and events in the local community, things which you might want to do regardless of health problems or age. Take a look and see if anything grabs your fancy.
Some organisations now offer you the change to get to know new people over the phone, and to join in phone discussion groups on the things which interest you.
Open Age organise local discussion groups.
Hammersmith and Fulham
Anyone over the age of 60 who feels lonely can join Homeline. They make regular phone calls to members for a chat, to check all is well and to help with any problems. They also run regular social events and lunches.
Take a look at their leaflet to find out more.
You're never too old to volunteer and there will always be people who can benefit if you share your skills and life experiences. Go to our page on Volunteering to find out about the wide range of opportunities available.
If you are struggling to get out and about, and find it hard to use public transport, then take a look at our Travel and transport section for suggestions on a variety of ways in which you might be able to get to where you want to be, and do the things you want to do.
If you are alone and it's getting you down then there are people out there who can offer emotional support - these range from counselling and therapy schemes to advice and information helplines. Please don't ever be afraid to ask for help, there is someone out there who will listen to you.
Third Age Counselling
Third Age Counselling offer a safe and supportive environment in which to explore difficult or complex thoughts and feelings. Together with a skilled counsellor you can reflect on how to respond to events in your life, and on how to relate to the people in your life.
Some issues which commonly bring people to therapy include:-
- Bereavement and loss
- Moving on from the past
- Relationship difficulties
- Experiences of growing older
- Failing health or disability
Third Age Counselling currently offer support at different venues around the three boroughs
NHS Therapy Services
You can get access to local NHS psychological services through your GP (family doctor) or practice nurse. Your local NHS psychological therapies service provides therapy and mental health services for people with mild to moderate mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, as well as feelings related to change,bereavement, and personal and family problems.
Details for your local services are:-
- Westminster (CNWL Talking Therapies Service)
- Hammersmith and Fulham (the Back on Track service)
- Kensington and Chelsea (Community Living Well Psychological Therapies Service)
Whether you just want advice on something, or are feeling lonely and down, give them a call.
If you're feeling down, or something is troubling you, then the Samaritans are at the end of a phone line, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Other information and advice
The Which website offers advice on tackling loneliness and isolation in older age.