YEP Says, June 23: Huge challenges that lie ahead to tackle elderly loneliness

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...and let’s grant letter writer Lawrie his final wish.

THE FIGURES that reveal the number of pensioners who will be left to endure isolation in their final years make for grim reading.

More than 32,000 women over the age of 65 will face a daily struggle of life on their own in Leeds within six years’ time.

And statistics show that a further 15,400 men will be in the same boat.

At the same time, research reveals that more than 8,500 people are battling with dementia – robbing them of their independence and dignity.

And health chiefs predict that figure will have risen to 12,000 by 2028.

All in all it paints a pretty grim picture of life for the city’s older population.

The only positive is that Leeds City Council is aware of the challenges that lie ahead. To be forewarned is often to be forearmed.

The difficulty lies in the fact that the state of the country’s finances means there is precious little money available to fund a battleplan to tackle them.

It’s why now is the time for innovative thinking. Leeds is hoping to secure nearly £6m of Big Lottery cash which will give vital support to the neighbourhood networks currently caring for tens of thousands of older people in Leeds.

A lot of good work – much of it by volunteers – is being done in Leeds, but much more needs to be done.

Let’s grant letter writer Lawrie his final wish

DOWN the years, Lawrie Slack has become something of a fixture in the YEP.

Signing himself ‘LE Slack’, the pensioner has been a regular contributor to the paper’s letters page, writing on all manner of subjects close to his heart.

Sadly he has now passed away at the age of 77 – but he used what he knew would be his last letter to ask readers to support our Half and Half Appeal in aid of the city’s two hospices.

Lawrie’s daughter Catherine says it was typical of her dad to think of others, even in his final moments.

It would be great if readers now grant his final wish – and give whatever they can to this tremendous cause.

Gary Edwards, pictured with some of his Leeds United memorabilia collection in 2012.

YEP says: Help uncover this pre-LUFC piece of history