In Cumbria, there are more than 205,700 households across the county with residents aged 50+ years, accounting for 42% of all households in the county. Of those households almost 1 in 4 are people living alone. This amounts to 32,000 pensioners that are living alone and are potentially feeling lonely and socially isolated. Half live in rural areas with limited access to transport and services, which can make their solitary existence unbearable. As a domiciliary care company, this is something our carers see on a daily basis. Unfortunately, having conversations and building up relationships with care givers, is still not enough to help ward away older people’s feelings of loneliness and isolation; what they are truly in need of is friendship.
We can all appreciate that loneliness is an upsetting feeling, but did you know that loneliness has a huge impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing? Indeed research has found that being lonely is more dangerous to our health than obesity, can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can lead to earlier onset of dementia, as well as being linked to causes of depression and cognitive decline. What is so upsetting about this is that loneliness is something we can solve. If we come together as a community and all dedicate just a short amount of time, such as an hour a week, we can truly help transform a lonely person’s life.
This is exactly what the charity Cyril Flint Befrienders is doing. They are reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people in Greater Manchester by bringing communities together. They recruit, train and DBS check volunteers from the local community and match them up with an older person who lives nearby. The volunteer then visits the older person for an hour a week, providing them with that much needed friendship they desire.
The benefits from befriending are incredible, not only do older people report reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness, they advise that their
self-esteem and confidence is improved by having someone who visits out of choice, rather than a paid professional. They also advise that the feelings last much longer than the one hour visit, as they can think over the conversations afterwards, talk about it with others and look forward to their next visit. They also feel connected to the community again as they have a local friend, so even if they themselves are housebound, they can feel involved via their befriender.
We feel that having such a provision will be invaluable in Cumbria and will really help transform older people’s lives. The directors of The Human Support Group (parent company of Homecare Support) set up the charity in Greater Manchester and have agreed to provide support for a new branch to be set up in Cumbria, upon us successfully raising £10,000 to contribute towards start-up costs.
From 1st May, myself and the team at Homecare Support across Cumbria will be working tirelessly to raise the £10,000 target! We will keep you posted on events and challenges planned. We’re looking for local businesses and people to help us reach our target, so please get in touch if you want to get involved!
In the meantime, please dig deep and donate to this great cause and help us reach our target by 30th April 2019!
Thank you for your support,
Registered Care Manager for Cumbria
Human Support Group
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Help bring Cyril Flint Befrienders to Cumbria!
I am fundraising £10,000 start up funds for The Cyril Flint Volunteering Charity because because we want to open a branch in Cumbria!
We Recruit and train befriending volunteers to visit lonely, isolated people
Charity Registration No. 1146179