What we took from World Friendship Day
World Friendship Day was the end of July and as an occasion to draw awareness to appreciating the friendships we have, as well as building new ones, it is a fantastic event. However, in the aftermath of the day, it can be easy to let new habits slide or let other commitments get in the way of new friendships.
Friendships with older adults are especially important. Many older people feel lonely and can be isolated, especially those who rely on a brand- new stairlift. Building a relationship with an older adult can be mutually beneficial, as they have so many life lessons to impart.
There are many ways to develop a friendship with an older adult and lots of charities and organisations are dedicated to improving the social environments of older adults. We contacted some of these good causes to find what people can do and how they can help to keep loneliness to a minimum within the older population.
In your area
There are always older people feeling lonely and isolated, and this happens all over the world. This means there will be someone in your neighbourhood, village or town who is looking to be included, this means making a difference is easy once you identify who needs your companionship.
The Be A Friend campaign is organised by Friends of the Elderly to create awareness on new platforms such as social media. While Friends of the Elderly offer a range of services they also offer a befriending service. As a volunteer, you are expected to have regular visits with a lonely or vulnerable older adult in the Surrey area. It is hoped that with this service, it will enable the older adults to gain confidence and spend more time out and about in their community.
Contact the Elderly is a charity committed to tackling the loneliness in the older community, and they feel the best way to do this is through face-to-face contact. Regular Sunday afternoon tea parties are organised for small groups, with volunteer drivers picking up the attendees, limited mobility should not stop anybody attending. With hundreds of groups up and down the country, it is easy to get involved and make a difference.
For those based in Scotland, The Food Train offers a range of services and allows volunteers to get involved at any stage. Whether you wish to be part of the Outreach Library Service, delivering books to those who need them, or making food as a meal sharer with an older adult in your community who would enjoy a home cooked meal.
Manchester has a specific charity dedicated to befriending. The Cyril Flint Befriending Service recognises the importance of face-to-face contact and their befrienders are happy to drop by for a cup of tea and a chat. The charity is careful to match volunteers with similar likes, dislikes and beliefs to give the friendship the best chance, as well as giving volunteers the training necessary to deal with queries.
This positivity is not limited to the UK with many groups in America dedicated to this cause. Friends for Life is based in Texas and has volunteer supported adult day care groups. With many activities on offer as well as being a brilliant place to socialise, it has become a lifeline for many in the area.
Over the Phone
Sometimes it can be difficult to fit volunteering around a busy schedule and physically being there can be tricky, however, there are still lots of ways to help people. Though many older adults are online, others feel much more comfortable dealing with phones as opposed to computers. There are many ways you can help older adults over the phone, and simply listening and have a day to day conversation can be supportive to those on the other end.
The Silver Line is a free national service that offers a confidential and 24-hour friend for those who are feeling lonely. There is an effort to connect their volunteers with those in a similar area with the hope of building lasting physical friendships. The Silver Line also facilitates a silver circle, which is a group chat, allowing everyone to express their feeling in a telephone community.
Via Email or Letters
There are those who may be suffering from hearing loss, and therefore phone calls are not an appropriate way to communicate, however, there are still ways to include and befriend these older adults. With modern technology there is no need for older adults to decipher untidy handwriting or a small scrawl, instead, those looking to communicate through the written word can always type their messages in a large font size and print them out to avoid confusion from those with vision impairment.
Love for the Elderly was set-up by a high school student as a way to improve the relationships between generations as well as to disperse the loneliness found in older adults. Love letters is a program which encourages hand writing positive letters to seniors across the world, while senior buddies focus on connecting school students with an older adult.
For those who prefer an old fashioned mode of communication, Global Pen Friends is a site set up to connect people of any age across the globe. Pen friends have been a favourite method of learning new languages and making friendships across the globe, however with the rise of social media, the lowly letter has somewhat fallen out of fashion. However, there is still a joy to a handwritten letter or receiving something other than bills in the post.
This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.