Age Concern is developing a befriending group. The idea is to try and match volunteers with the more elderly and isolated people around us.
Why did we think of this? Well the new social prescribers based at the Swan surgery felt that loneliness was the largest issue for seniors in our parish. We were getting calls about all sorts of issues.
The causes of loneliness are many, ageing, families moving away, loss of the ability to drive or walk long distances or basically the difficulty of making contact with other people.
We have a large number of groups and organisations around us like the CuppaClub, the outings organised by Penny Leigh for Age Concern, the Day Centre, seniors on the Go, Carers Group. However making the first step to get to them is often the hardest.
Small issues become big problems if no one shares them and people can retreat into their homes until there is a problem.
What are the problems?
A person gets taken to hospital, no one to care for the dog, Age Concen found a temporary hound home while a relative was contacted and agreed to house the dog until his owner was fit.
A person found their garden was getting beyond them and we found a green fingered friend to keep it under control until a plan could be put in place.
A woman felt her neighbours were terrorising her by cutting off her access to her back door and letting a German shepherd patrol common areas. Her befriended helped with a couple of letters and the pathway opened up for the person to get out.
Sometimes the issue is as simple as needing a lift to the Dr or hospital and the person just does not know the we have a special group that can offer a ride.
The overwhelming need is really for someone to talk to, it may be a phone call once a week, or a cup of tea or an invitation to come out for a drive, the befriender and the befriended simply work it out for themselves.
Just sharing information about local support can often start to unlock the feeling of isolation.
So if you feel you can offer anything from a regular phone call to a meeting for a cup of tea or an occasional meeting we would love to hear from you.
Equally if you or any friend of yours needs some contact or help from a volunteer please do not hesitate to contact us.