Category: Health

Disabled and lonely? The Red Cross can help

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Sue Seers received support from the British Red Cross

Isabella is a life-line to Sue Seers. She’s not her carer, support worker, or even a family member – but a wheelchair.

For two years Sue was unable to leave her house due to deteriorating health. But then the British Red Cross helped her get a wheelchair and start a journey away from loneliness and social isolation.

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Four things to know about care

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An older lady is helped down a path

At the British Red Cross, we want everyone to get the support they need to live as independently as possible. This is why we’ve been asking people to share their care stories with us.

Your good, bad and mixed experiences help us to understand how the health and social care system is working – or isn’t. The more we know, the more we may be able to help make it better.

Here are four key things we know about care based on the stories shared so far.

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Connecting communities: meet two women on a mission

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Nazia providing support to an older woman

Back in December 2016, the British Red Cross in partnership with the Co-op, revealed epidemic levels of loneliness and social isolation in the UK.

Now we’ve started to roll out connecting communities: the name of our brand new services designed to help tackle these issues head on.

At the heart of these are an inspirational team of individuals, people like Vicky Day and Nazia Rehman.

Both these women know what it is like to be lonely and are on a mission to ensure others in a similar position get the help they need and deserve.

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Health and social care: small things that make a big difference

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Mrs Bennet and Red Cross volunteer Janet

Breaking a bone can make everyday activities particularly tricky. Especially when it’s your dominant arm and you live alone. Just ask Mrs Bennet who badly broke her right arm last year.

But thanks to a close group of good friends and a little help from British Red Cross volunteer Janet Shaw, Mrs Bennet got the person-centred support at home she needed.

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Disabled people are a diverse group – but loneliness is a common experience

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loneliness-blog

Loneliness and social isolation can affect anyone, but some people are more vulnerable to it than others – like disabled people.

Anyone can experience the life transitions that our research has shown can trigger loneliness, like retirement or bereavement. But disabled people often face barriers in daily life that can make them more likely to be chronically lonely than non-disabled people.

A new report by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness explores why loneliness affects so many people with disabilities, from the perspective of disabled people. It claims over half of disabled people report feeling lonely.

While each disabled person is unique in terms of the impairments and personal circumstances they face, loneliness is an experience that many disabled people will have in common. Getting the right support is so important.

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Children hit worst in Yemen’s cholera epidemic

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Ragdad, a young girl with cholera in Yemen, likes on a bed with her eyes half closed and an IV line draped across her body

Ragdad, a young cholera patient in Yemen © ICRC

The statistics in this blog were updated on 25 July 2017.

“She is unable to eat. She vomits everything and diarrhoea is constant,” said Ahmad.

He is worried about his two-year-old daughter Ragdad.

Like over 390,860 others in Yemen, Ragdad has been infected with cholera. More than 1,860 people have already died from the disease.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 suspected cases per day have been reported in the past week alone. And around half of those infected are children

Cholera in Yemen has become an unprecedented public health crisis.

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“I loved my wife, she was my life” – The drought threatening lives in Somalia

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Drought and conflict have led to a critical humanitarian crisis in Somalia. Over 6.2 million people are in need of urgent help – more than half the country’s population. The Times photographer Jack Hill visited Sool, in Somaliland, one of the worst affected areas. His images capture the crisis and the Red Cross Red Crescent response.

A dust tornado rips through the arid, desolate landscape.

Photo credit: Jack Hill / The Times

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Men and loneliness: “I miss my wife a great deal… I just miss having company”

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Sarah-Jane with Desmond Gregory

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has released new research showing that millions of men are experiencing loneliness but suffering in silence – men like Desmond Gregory.

When Desmond’s wife passed away in 2015, his world fell apart. After nearly 60 years of marriage, the 89-year-old from Midsomer Norton, in Somerset, was suddenly alone.

Despite his daughter visiting regularly, his grief was overwhelming and he began to feel increasingly lonely.

“Some days I didn’t see anyone at all. I miss my wife a great deal. I miss going to work. I just miss having company,” Desmond said.

Fortunately his health worker spotted the signs and was able to introduce him to the British Red Cross – we offer services for those experiencing loneliness and social isolation.

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