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?
Watch Len and Ivor's friendship
Age UK Essex volunteer befriender Ivor visits 92-year-old widower Len. Watch their story below:
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