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helping the elderly brings its own rewards.

I asked what anyone is doing to help others and got these e mails this week...

John - as requested.

I put a note on our garden fence to offer assistance shopping for elderly people in the area and 3 elderly women asked for assistance and I have been either shopping for them, or Elsie ( 72 ) comes with me once a week ( she has no transport and during lockdown feared the busses ) and this helps with their food supplies weekly and is a regular visit from someone for them weekly.

I usually stay safely masked and we share a laugh and I just check up on them a couple of times a week besides the shopping I do, and it is important for them to know someone is there, someone is watching out for them and someone cares in a world gone mad.

It's not much but if everyone took the time and the effort to helkp just one other person, life would be so much better for us all, as I feel good about wht I am doing, they appreciate and are happy with my visits and all in all, it is good for all of us. I don't do it for attention, I do it as my old Mom who died years ago needed help and as I lived away and was not there for her,m she struggled alone and I do not want to see others struggle with capable people around who could quite easily spare an hour once a week to donate time to help someone else in need, even if jjst for a chat and a cuppa. It means a lot to them.

Robert G.

John: Just before the first lot of lockdowns an elderly women fell in front of me at our local shops and I stayed with her while the ambulance came and she was carted off. Seems she was fine as the next day she phoned me and thanked me for my help ( I gave her my number ) and it turns out she lives 3 doors down from me and yet I have never seen her before, and she invited me for tea, and I went. She was a gay old girl with amazing WW2 stories of being a nurse and the horror stories she shared and the loss of her husband and years later the loss of her son and alone now, she has no family at all. Because she was just a few doors down this became a regular thing and I started taking her in the car to Sainsburys and this weekly visit lasted all through lockdown but where I shopped for her and she remained safely indoors. One of her eldely neighbours asked if I could get her a few things and it soon became a regular thing and I would take the different lists to the supermarket,mand take my 12 year old son with me and we would shop for them, and my son thoroughly enjoys knowing we are helping people who needed a helping hand and I am so proud of my son for wanting to help and enjoying the company of these old dears.

My wife died some years ago and it is just my son and myself so to have some feminine energy around, even if elderly, is like a surrogate Grandmother for my son and thes eladies are now like family. I juist hope and pray that if I ever get infirm and needy there wil be some kind hearted thoughtful person out there to help me and not because it is their job, but as the decent thing to offer.

James and son.

John: I live in a high rise council block in Stratford, London. It is a rough area and one where there is a certain level of homophobia and abuse from some of the kids and gangs that hang around and it not the best place to live but is where the council put me 3 years ago so I stay. Some time before lockdown I saw a elderly women being harassed by some kids and went to her defence and was agasp when she lifted her shopping basket on wheels and swung it around her head at these boys and scared the shit out of them and they ran off and she absolutely did not need my help at all, and bless her, she was up for a fight with these boys and as she told me after, she would rather die fighting than let those punks rob her of her pension money. We became friends and I take her shopping regularly and all through lockdown she stayed at home and I shopped for her. I also spend an evening weekly - masks on, and just watch a movie together and share a meal and I have to admit we both find this enjoyable. She soon figured out I am gay and told me she thought her first husband was gay - as after 40 odd years of marriage ( he had died some years before ) she was still a virgin. She lives in the same block as me and I am pleased to have someone to help during these times and I am sure I have made a friend for life, and I know she appreciates the company. Oh and she was in WW2 and was some war hero working for some secret military thing and as she said once, she fought the Hun and was not about to allow some young punks to steal her pension after fighting Hitler.

I do love elderly people who have a story to tell.

David D.

John. I noticed my local church was organising food parcels for the needy in lockdown and although I hate the church, I asked and volunteered to help. Collecting food from donors and distributing it to the elderly and infirm. I have never met so many miserable old folk who have nothing nice to say, and I have never met so many wonderful kind and thoughtful elderly people as well as the other volunteers - and it has opened my heart. Not to the Christian stuff as anyone who says ' It's the Christian thing to do, to help others' - my argumment back would be it is NOT the Christian thing to do at all, it is the HUMAN thing to do as religion has nothing to do with being a decent person and be you Jew, Muslim, Christian or Athiest, helping someone less fortunate than yourself if the decent thing, the human thing and please leave religion out of it. Stop grabbing everything decent and making it only for Christians. Stop claiming it is God's work, when it is my time and effort and not His. I enjoy this and enjoy putting something back. Chris K.

Many years ago after leaving hospital and being unable to return home as my ( now X ) lover was there and causing all sorts of trouble and fights while I was in recovery from a big operation, I left the flat, got in a cab and asked the driver if he knew a friendly B&B where the owners could keep an eye on me, and his own Mother owned a local B&B and she was delightful. She nursed me, cooked and kept an eye, making sure my bandages were changed and that the stitches had not split and all sorts ( turns out she had been a nurse ) and while I was just a BB&EM customer, she really looked after me for 3 weeks and I was forever greatful. My lover and I became X's and he moved out and I was able to move back into my flat and always kept in touch with this kind woman. Ten years later under Covid restrictions, it was my turn to help her out with shopping and various things difficult for her on foot and now in her late 70's . Her son, the cab driver, divorced his wife and moved from the area and she was now alone and except for me and social services, which are not as reliable as they should be, she was lonely. Since lockdown we have become much closer still and this kind hearted thoughtful women is now receiving the same kind hearted and thoughtful friendship from myself and remember, she offered it to a stranger at the time and this meant so much to me at a time when I desperately needed help. I am now here for her throughout and she knows that and finds comfort in it. Samuel M.

I met the most miserable son of a bitch a couple of years ago when he complained about the noise coming from my home. The old fool next door complained about everything while actually being half deaf, so there was no way my music was too loud for him. So I took it upon myself to find out why he was constantly complaining and it was so simple - he was lonely and wanted company and going about it in all the wrong ways. He was bitter about being alone and bitter at the world, so as a challenge, I took this on board and started to talk with him every time I sa him, nothing deep just a good morning and how are you stuff, and we soon got to talking in more depth and he completely changed. He is a sweetie - just lonely. Hos kids don't visit, one being in proson and the other in Australia - and after his wife died 20 odd years beforehand, friends slipped away and he found himself alone. He is actually a sweet old man now and so much friendlier and relaxed and knowing I am next door cheers him. We even have a secret knock on the joining wall every morning between us so I know he is okay. Lockdown brought us closer as I shop for him and sometimes he comes with me, and just by having someone to talk to and someone who listens has brought about a massive change in him and is a delight to be a part of. Just a couple of hours of my time every week has helped turn a bitter old man into a delightful old man you now want to visit and laugh with and listen to his stories. Graham G.

I use to take my dog into the local old peoples home which has a lot of dementia patients and she ( my dog ) being a very gentle Lab - was loved and petted and hugged by the 'inmates' as they rarely see animals and is a reminder of times past, and just stroking her makes them somewhat calmer and more at peace. During lockdown we would go the the window and they would watch as we played together in the garden and it always brought a smile for them and myself. With lockdown easing it is hoped we can go back inside again and they can pet and touch as it means a lot to them. Simple things. Simple gestures. Is all it takes. Andy and Scooby.

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