As we get older, changes to our bodies mean that the cold weather affects us more than it used to. Our immune systems aren’t as good at fighting off common winter illnesses like colds and flu; the cold weather puts more pressure on our hearts and circulatory systems; lower muscle tone means it is harder to keep warm; and miserable weather or darker evenings mean it can be harder to get out and find company. Our Warming Hearts this Winter campaign aims to raise money and awaress of the challenges facing older people throughout the winter months, and how more than 90 Brendoncare Clubs are helping to face these challenges across Hampshire and Dorset.
Rose Goldie (pictured above) is 92 years old. She is a member of the Weeke Friendship Club in Winchester, and says the club is like a family to her:
“During the winter months when you are old, you just feel like locking yourself up inside your house and never going out. If I didn’t have clubs like Brendoncare to go to, I would end up sitting in my chair and stagnating. On my own, I am miserable, and I don’t like my own company, so I live to be with people – as an only child, the clubs have become my family.”
Mary Borrow, aged 91, also attends the Weeke Friendship Club, and told us about the way the weather can influence the way she feels:
“Everything seems to go wrong when you are old. I used to do so much before I got old. Now I feel like I am always ill or having operations. I recently broke two ribs just from rolling over in bed. I have to get out to the clubs and meet people to cheer me up. The dull weather makes me feel sad. I am so glad for the company, because in the summer I can muck around in the garden and walk outside in the sunny weather. When the sun shines, I feel like kissing the ground. When it is the winter, I can’t stand the cold, and the weather makes me feel so depressed. Some days I will have to have an additional electric heater on as well as the main heating, as I will be freezing, which makes my electricity bill dearer.”
Mary also wrote a poem inspired by the winter weather:
Weather man, please chase the grey clouds away
Promise you’ll give me a nice sunny day
I’m begging, I’m pleading, oh please – do your best!
And get this depression off my chest.
For when the sun shines, I’m on a higher plane,
I’ll speak to strangers whatever their name.
It’s not much to ask, just more sunshine, less rain,
I’m not like Gene Kelly, I won’t sing in the rain!
We pledge to continue our vital services throughout the winter months, offering venues which are safe, accessible and warm; continued activity and routine, with transport for those who need it; an Access Fund to help those receiving Pension Credit; and special festive activities and outings with a network of people to support each other. There are lots of ways you can help or get involved:
- Knit (or crochet or similar!) a square for “The Big Knit” (before end of November)
- Attend the Brendoncare Christmas Concert on 15th December
- Make a donation through The Big Give campaign, where every penny that you donate is DOUBLED for one week only (from 3rd December to 10th December)
- If you know of someone who would benefit from attending one of our clubs, please contact our Clubs team on 01962 857099 to discuss local options and support available.