Let’s celebrate Silver Sunday
As retirement rebels, I’m sure you will all joIn me in supporting this year’s Silver Sunday, the 4th October – the national day for older people. I’m pleased to see the Duchess of Cornwall has got behind the initiative: she seems to have an irreverent sense of humour which rather appeals to me!
Now in its ninth year, Silver Sunday is a nationwide campaign supported by hundreds of organisations across the UK who offer free activities for older people suffering from loneliness and isolation to help them socialise, get active and learn something new.
HRH the Duchess of Cornwall is patron of a number of charities that support older people, including the Royal Voluntary Service and The Silver Line. She has recorded a video message calling for everyone to take part and do something kind for an older relative, neighbour or friend. Silver Sunday “is a day that offers us all the opportunity to focus on older people’s contributions to our communities and to our society”, she says.
“Different generations gather together across the UK to celebrate their elders and to make new friends, through a variety of fun, free activities that range from tea parties to curling to Zumba dancing. As a member of Silver Sunday’s target audience, I can honestly say that it is a completely brilliant initiative”.
Covid-19 has made Silver Sunday even more important this year. Recent research from Royal Voluntary Service shows that over 4 million (52%) over 70s in Britain worry about the pandemic more than once a day and just over 3 in 10 are unable to do any of the things they used to enjoy.
I’ve blogged before about loneliness and how damaging it is for our mental and physical health, so I’m pleased to see the aim of Silver Sunday is to tackle the blight of loneliness that affects so many, and which has unfortunately increased significantly over the recent months of lockdown. It’s a shocking statistic that more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.
This year Silver Sunday will be celebrated in different ways from previous years, with more “virtual” events and socially-distanced outdoor activities to ensure that older recipients who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 can take part safely. Plans this year include a chair dance challenge, an all-day “Dance-a-thon”, a Cantonese Opera workshop, as well as outdoor museum tours, walking groups and boat trips.
Organisations have also found other creative ways to bring Silver Sunday to those who may be shielding or fearful of leaving their homes, by delivering special parcels with items donated by local businesses.
Westminster City Council will be delivering afternoon tea to 1,000 local older residents; many will also include a handwritten letter from local primary school children. Surrey-based charity ‘Painting Our World in Silver’ will be sending personalised packages with craft-based activities including afternoon tea to over 1,000 older people in the area.
I do encourage you to support this initiative to build awareness of the problem of loneliness in older people. You can also find the latest updates on Silver Sunday 2020 activities at www.silversunday.org.uk.