Have you ever heard someone tell you that they don’t want to live anymore because they feel so lonely? Or that they would rather go without food than a visit every fortnight from their befriender? Sadly, our partner Time to Talk Befriending have.
We meet amazing people in their fourth-age almost every day who have a rich life history, yet they tell us they are living without hope and that they feel invisible in the world. It is truly heart breaking to think that there are so many people living in our local neighbourhoods who might also feel this way.
It is not always easy to admit you feel lonely and admittedly it is not always the older generation experience these chronic feelings. However, we live in a society where our elders are often forgotten and hidden within the four walls of their homes which is exactly why we are here for such a time as this!
At Time to Talk Befriending we believe older people should be honoured and respected not forgotten. We see the value in each individual and we strive to tackle this huge local and national epidemic head on through the provision of intergeneration befriending, training, signposting, events, outreach and seasonal campaigns.
Time to Talk Befriending have been operating as a charity for almost 5 years. We currently support 283 ‘befriend-ships’ between older people and volunteers across our City, who meet for friendship and company once a week or once a fortnight. We are overwhelmed by the life changing difference that befriending can make in people’s lives. However, even working alongside other befriending providers, we are literally just scratching the surface in terms of meeting the need in our City.
For example; did you know that there are potentially 7000 people aged 65+ who can go weeks or months at a time without talking to anyone? We also know from our own research that local people living with long term health conditions are further impacted by the damaging effect that loneliness can have. In fact, loneliness is proven to reduce the life-course as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. This sounds unbelievable but sadly it is a very harsh reality.
The festive season can be the loneliest time for people who have lost loved ones or who are remembering days gone-by. We realise that not everyone has the time to spare for an hour every week or fortnight to befriend someone in their senior years, but if this article speaks to you and inspires you to get in touch, we would love to hear from you.
Failing that you could help us by supporting the Charity through one of the other following ways. Text THNK00 £5 or £10 to 70070 to support our ‘Thinking of you at Christmas’ campaign (which delivers meals and providing befriending to people on their own on Christmas day). You can also give regularly via our website www.tttb.org.uk/donate or help at our regular or occasional events through befriending, serving or volunteer driving.
If you think your older relative could benefit from Time to Talk Befriending’s service you can speak to one of the team you can call 01273 737710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.