Supporting Older Members of our Community

 “It quite startled me to realise that four months of isolation and constant news bulletins of sickness and death had given me a sense of having aged. Though I am blessed with my faculties, I seem somehow, during isolation, to have lost some independence. Now I must wait for the Government to tell me what is safe and what is not safe, what I can and what I mustn’t do”. (A quote from a parishioner).

As the lockdown eases, many older people will be delighted, once again, to see family and friends. But others will still find themselves alone, as they feel too unsafe to venture out. Or have no one to take them and ensure their safety. Some older people may have lost their confidence, as a result of the pandemic and no longer feel sure of how to safely access everyday services. Government advice is that people, aged 70 years and older, still need to be particularly careful. It is therefore natural for anyone in this age group, and particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions, to continue to feel concerned and anxious about changes to their daily life.

Here are some ways to help with these difficult feelings:

Stay connected: Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and parish. Try to stay in touch with those around you, this might be over the phone, by post, or online. If you have been advised to stay at home, let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine.

Get practical help: If you need help, for example with shopping or prescriptions, ask for it and let those around you know what they can do. Please contact the Pastoral Care Team in the parish: ring 07394 440938 or email

Age UK runs an advice line (0800 678 1602 – lines are open every day, 8am to 7pm) that can put you in touch with local services.

Age UK Berkshire can be contacted on 0118 959 4242 or email

For people with dementia and their family carers, COVID-19 is making daily life particularly challenging and has caused additional distress. Staying connected, maintaining a routine and keeping active and entertained, as much as possible, are all essential to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of people with dementia and their family carers. Someone with dementia may have difficulty understanding instructions about self-isolation, social distancing or handwashing. The lack of social stimulus and contact has also had a great impact on people living with dementia and their family carers. Many miss attending the Age Concern Day Centre and/or the Triple ‘A’ support group (which are not running due to Covid) and they miss having the option of respite care. Personal assistants/carers from the ‘Support with Confidence’ group are available and it may be possible by contacting Bracknell Forest Adult Health and Social Care to ask for respite to cover the time that someone would usually have attended the Day Centre or Support Group.

Bracknell Forest Adult Health and Social Care (including Intermediate Care Services)Tel 01344 351500; The ‘Support with Confidence’ scheme is an initiative which is operating in the Bracknell area, run by Action for People alongside Trading Standards Service. It offers self-employed PAs who can help with a range of needs from personal care to social activities. This can provide social stimulation for a person living with dementia and respite for the carer. To contact the Support with Confidence Team: 01344 206 113 or 0118 907 6397 or email:

Dementia Connect support: 0333 150 3456

The Alzheimer’s Society has published information on coronavirus (COVID-19) for people affected by dementia. If you’d like to connect and talk with other people affected by dementia, you can visit the Alzheimer’s Society online community Talking Point. If you are still feeling worried and want more help you can call the Alzheimer’s Society Helpline on 0300 222 11 22. You can also speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse on Dementia UK’s Helpline, on 0800 888 6687.

Memory radio is an archive of music-based radio programmes covering 1940s/1950sand 1960s accompanied by printable activity sheets.

The Music for Dementia campaign has launched m4d Radio – a free internet radio station created for people living with dementia and their Carers. The station went live on Wednesday, 17th June and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Daily Hope: 0800 804 8044 is a new national telephone line offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line 24 hours a day. Just dial up whenever you like

Mind: gives practical tips to help manage feelings of loneliness, and other places you can go for support.

Forestcare is a 24-hour Telecare response centre based in the heart of Bracknell, providing a range of telecare solutions, e.g. a personal Alarm system, worn as a pendant or on the wrist, providing a link to the dedicated control centre 24/7. To find out more Tel 01344 786599

Healthwatch Bracknell Forest – coordinating coronavirus community response for those who don’t have support and need advice or practical help – Tel 01344 266911

SIGNAL4Carers provides free support, information and guidance to all unpaid (non-professional) carers who care for someone in Bracknell Forest. Their telephone support calls can result in referrals to services, including the Dementia Advisor or the COVID community response hub for practical support but, often, they are a chance for carers to just have a chat and offload some of the stress they may be experiencing. The SIGNAL website is updated with any new resources to help support people all unpaid carers. Call 01344 266 088.

The Silver Line Helpline0800 470 8090 – is the only confidential, free helpline friendship service for people aged 55 and over, open every day and night of the year. All helpline calls are free

Which? Elderly Care A free online information resource to help people explore care options for an elderly relative or for themselves. The site has information on financing care, housing options and older people’s needs. There is also advice on support available for family carers.

​At a conf
erence on pastoral care of the elderly in January, 2020, Pope Francis said that old-age is, ‘a precious treasure that takes shape in the journey of every man and woman’s life, whatever their origins, background, or economic or social conditions.’ He reminded us that, 

‘Life is a gift, and when it is long, it is a privilege, for oneself and for others,’
Pope Francis, Conference on Pastoral Care of the Elderly, January, 2020