Chorlton-based Maneet Kapoor, who runs Kapoor Pharmacy and Manley Pharmacy, is calling for more awareness of loneliness and its effects. He estimates that he sees at least ten isolated people a day through his work.
Maneet is keen to support the city’s health commissioners to ease the problem, while making the use of pharmacy skills and expertise.
One of his ideas includes expanding a section of the front of the Wilbraham Road shop to include an information point. Here, customers will be able to learn about activities and friendship events in the area, whilst waiting for their prescriptions.
“So many people who come in to our shop frame their day around picking up their medications – and for some we will be the only people they interact with that day,” he says.
“That’s why it’s so important to talk to our customers – and while we do that we can also do a quick review of their medication.
“We already have a seat in the shop – which is part of an age-friendly drive to help older people. But we want to be able to go further and have more seating and encourage people to look at the social or group events in the area.”
The pharmacy’s drivers are asked to make more time at this time of year to talk to customers. They check that customers have everything they need as the cold weather sets in. Drivers are also giving out calendars to customers as a Christmas token.
“Even the calendars are a way of making that further connection,” says Maneet. “You’d be surprised at how many people ring to thank us for them – and again that’s a chance to check in on the customer, and ask them how they are.”
A Healthier Manchester
New ways of tackling loneliness and bringing more care into communities are two major themes within the city’s plans for health and social care in the next five years. This plan – A Healthier Manchester – also outlines how boosting support in communities can not only improve health and wellbeing, but also address pressures around hospital care.
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult health and Social Care at Manchester City Council, said: “We welcome this type of innovation and proactive stance”.
“Often it’s the small touches – those extra few minutes talking to someone – that can be a lifeline to helping with deeper-seated issues that can affect both mental and physical health.”