According to Age UK, the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. This compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – marking a staggering 49% increase in just 10 years (Age UK 2018, All The Lonely People). Whilst we welcome the increased awareness that Christmas time brings, it is clear that loneliness is a problem for many all year round.
Here at Helpd, we’ve put together a quick guide of different ways that you can support a loved one, or someone in your community who is lonely.
- • Reengage. Reengage (previously known as Contact the Elderly) are a wonderful charity, with over 800 social groups across the UK. If you know of a person 75+ who is living alone and struggling to get out, then Reengage could make a real difference to their lives. With a team of amazing volunteers, they organise monthly Sunday tea parties in volunteers’ host homes across the United Kingdom. They will even provide transport to and from the event. Visit their website to find out more.
- • Face to Face Befriending is available at many local Age UKs. A volunteer befriender will visit an older person in their home, or accompany them to a local activity. Sometimes a volunteer might accompany them to a hospital or similar. Unfortunately, this service isn’t available across the whole of the UK just yet and we would suggest checking out your area here
- • Register for Age UK’s telephone befriending service, Call in Time. Call in Time covers the whole of the UK, and a volunteer befriender will phone an older person at an agreed time for a chat. The service carefully match the older person’s interests and hobbies to the befriender, who will provide friendly conversation and companionship regularly. The theory behind this is that the older person always receives a call from the same befriender.
- • Men’s Sheds are not-for-profit community organisations that provide a space for craftwork and social interaction among men. Originating in Australia they are a great way to support older men with their health and wellbeing. The strong community ethos behind Men’s Sheds has been effective in reducing loneliness and social isolation right across the UK, particularly among the elderly and retired. Find your nearest shed here
- • Bring Companionship into the home. If you have a family member living alone who is socially isolated, you might want to consider live in care, as our carers and helpers always provide genuine companionship. Our helpers will do all the tasks to support your loved ones, such as shopping, driving to appointments and domestic duties. It doesn’t stop there though, we recognise the importance of supporting our clients to keep up friendships, visit the theatre or cinema and pop out to a café for lunch. Our helpers don’t wear a uniform, and work hard to build strong bonds of friendship with their clients. Find out all about our live in helpers on our website today