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At Age UK one of the ways we try to beat loneliness in later life is through our befriending services, where a volunteer visits an older person once a week in their own home.

What is befriending?

Age UK offers different types of befriending services:

  • Face-to-face befriending, where a volunteer befriender visits an older person in their home
  • Telephone befriending, where a volunteer befriender will phone an older person

With both types of befriending each older person is assigned a befriender, who provides friendly conversation and companionship on a regular basis over a long period of time.

Befriending provides an older person with a link to the outside world and often acts as a gateway for other services and valuable support.

Why is befriending so important?

Loneliness is a massive issue for people in later life in the UK:

  • 200,000 older people say they haven't had a conversation with friends or family for a month.
  • 3.9 million older people agree the television is their main form of company.
  • Loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

What do I do next?

Find your local Age UK to arrange face-to-face befriending

Watch Len and Ivor's friendship

Age UK Essex volunteer befriender Ivor visits 92-year-old widower Len. Watch their story below:

More loneliness stories

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081