GP focus with Dr Amy Lee

Date posted: 1st November 2021

Our GPs are an important part of Bay Health Care Partners and here our GPs and primary care colleagues have the opportunity to talk about issues and specialties that they are working on or interested in. This month, Dr Amy Lee, of Captain French Surgery, advises on loneliness and highlights the amazing work of Kendal Lunch Bunch club which is bringing together some of Kendal's elderly frail residents to allow them to have a healthy meal and socialise with others to improve their wellbeing. 

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Over the past few years, a lunch bunch club at Kendal Parish Church has proved to be a vital asset, supporting the community’s elderly frail residents every week and allowing them to have a healthy meal and socialise with others to improve their wellbeing. The initiative is run by a group of volunteers and supported by the People’s Café, Kendal Integrated Care Community and local carers.

I am glad to see the club has restarted after what has been such a difficult period for all of us and especially our elderly frail residents who for many the club was their only chance to see and socialise with others. Numbers at the lunch bunch club have had to be limited due to COVID but the club hopes to increase numbers in the future.

Loneliness is something that could affect all of us in our lifetime and it’s something that the older generation is especially vulnerable to and it can have a serious effect on physical health and wellbeing. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are lonely and cut off from society, especially those over 75.

There are many reasons why a person can become socially isolated such as getting older or weaker, family living away, leaving their employment, the deaths of loved ones and friends or through disability and illness.

As the darker evenings and winter months move in, it’s important to reach out to those in need of support. So, if you know someone who is suffering from loneliness, maybe a neighbour, a loved one or a friend, there are things you can do to help them including regular calls, popping round to see them, doing their shopping for them and encouraging them to join clubs or activities like walking or swimming groups (do continue to check and follow any NHS guidelines for the pandemic that are in place. Useful advice and resources about loneliness due to coronavirus can be found here).

If you are someone who is suffering from loneliness and you feel your mental health is declining you should contact your GP. You can also refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP. You can find more information at the NHS website here. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis and you need urgent support you can call a local NHS mental health helpline for 24-hour advice and support. You can find more details at the NHS website here.

You can find out more about Kendal Lunch Bunch Club at the Bay Health and Care Partners website here. More advice on loneliness and support available can be found at the NHS website here.

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