Help an older person tackle loneliness by phoning them, buying groceries or just decorating their home this holiday season
Young people in Cardiff can volunteer to support older people who experience loneliness during the festive season.
Independent charityAge Connects encourages volunteers to have a chat, drive around, take a stroll, watch a match or share a cup of coffee with older people to bring them joy at Christmas.
“Volunteers often come up to us and tell us how they benefit from helping an older person,” says Karen Fletcher, marketing and partnerships manager at the charity.
Contributors can choose to phone their older companions, drive them around to run errands, participate in outdoor activities with them or visit them at their homes for a one-on-one chat on a regular basis.
Over Christmas, volunteers can help out during lunches, tea parties and other celebrations.
Volunteers often come up to us and tell us how they benefit from helping an older person
Volunteers are often introduced to clients based on shared interests. “We matched a student who loves rugby with a client who loves the sport too. They used to watch matches together,” says Fletcher.
She also says how these activities stave off feelings of isolation among older people and help them become a part of a larger community.
“Our youngest volunteer is a med student and the oldest is 92,” she adds. All those who are 18 and older can undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Services) check and training to register as a volunteer.
Half of the people in Wales who are 75 and over report feeling lonely sometimes. Meanwhile, more than one in 10 older people 60 and above say they are constantly lonely, according to Welsh government’s official data.
But, why is loneliness such a problem in Cardiff?
Fletcher says, “It’s not just in Wales and in older people. It’s everywhere, if you ask me. I guess the way our interpersonal relationships have changed – people prefer talking on the phone rather than going to see their friends, that’s the problem.”