It’s cold, it’s dark and everyone’s in a mood because it’s January. It’s not all bad though. We bring you good news from our friends in the Netherlands.
Staff at Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn are being trained to recognise signs of loneliness or self-neglect amongst their older customers and, with the help of specialist volunteers, offer them the support they might need.
Shop staff are uniquely placed to spot decline in the well-being of their customers, especially amongst the elderly, who may not have anyone around to check up on them.
The initiative started when an Albert Heijn worker noticed something unusual with one of her regulars. They’d lost weight, were buying less fresh food, and one day had to be taken home in an ambulance. Instead of doing nothing, she contacted the charity Royal Zorg who helped set up the campaign.
It can be all too easy to overlook the needs of those you don’t know, but this initiative just goes to show that armed only with a good idea, and a willingness to make things happen, it’s possible to do a bit of good for your fellow humans.