Did you know in the UK often 225,000 older people go a whole week without speaking to anyone? Those people are part of a wider number of people, 1.4 million older people in fact, that struggle with loneliness.
This can be a real concern for family and friends of a loved one. How can your loved one have those social interactions to help them not feel as lonely and isolated? There is a range of support available in your local community that can offer these important social connections, here are just a few you might want to investigate:
Age UK is a national charity that works with and for older people and they provide a range of services. These range from day clubs to fun activities to digital drop-in services. What’s offered depends on your location, so be sure to use their easy search tool to explore what services are available in your area.
ALISS stands for A Local Information System for Scotland and it aims to increase the availability of health and wellbeing information for people living with long term conditions, disabled people and unpaid carers. The database is searchable by location and activity type, activities include social groups, exercise groups, singing groups and much more.
FoodTrain & MealMakers
FoodTrain provides a range of services for older people to support them to live at home independently, from befriending to shopping delivery to home support. A full list of services and the areas they work in can be found on their website.
MealMakers, a FoodTrain programme, matches older isolated people with a volunteer cook in their community. Diners and cooks arrange how often they’d like to meet, making friendships over a nutritious meal and helping to reduce isolation and loneliness. Find out more about the programme.
Men’s sheds are community spaces for men to connect, have conversations and create. They’re all about sharing skills and having fun and are typically for older men who are facing social isolation and loneliness (but younger men and women do also get involved). Activities can range from woodwork to metalwork to electronics to model building – whatever the Shedders choose to do!
Men’s Sheds are a fast-growing movement and there are estimated to be over 500 across the UK supporting over 12,000 people to be involved. Find out if there is one in your local area.
Re-engage (formerly Contact the Elderly)
A national charity that is dedicated to tackling isolation and loneliness among older people in the UK by providing free monthly tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75+. The tea parties are run by a network of over 12,000 volunteers and offer older people vital and regular friendship once a month.
Volunteers collect their guest from their home and take them to a volunteer hosts house where they enjoy a range of cakes, home bakes and, of course, a cup of tea (or coffee) with other diners and volunteers.
Royal Voluntary Service
The Royal Voluntary Service volunteers provide a range of support, help and companionship for older people in their community. From Community Transport to Lunch Clubs to Home Library Services – they have lots of things going on! Find out what’s available in your area.
Silver Line Friends
The Silver Line is a free and confidential helpline that operates in the UK and runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to the helpline, they run a Telephone Friends service where older people can enjoy a regular weekly catch up with a volunteer. Volunteers and older people are matched up depending on their interests and preferences.
Additionally, they also run Silver Circles which are group calls where small groups of people can discuss what’s of interest to them.
Find out more on their website and complete a referral form. You might also want to take a look at Independent Age and Friends of the Elderly for similar services.
Sporting Memories Network
Sporting history and heritage can be a great conversation starting point, that’s why Sporting Memories clubs across the UK are encouraging people aged 50+ to join weekly groups to reminisce about their experiences of watching & playing sport. At some clubs there are opportunities to join activities such as darts, boccia or walking football. These groups are a great opportunity to meet new people, chat about topics you or your loved one enjoy and become more active.
Do you have any other suggestions? Get in touch by commenting below or sharing ideas on our social media channels.
While you're here...
Have you heard of the YooToo app? An app and online platform that supports families to collaborate, communicate and coordinate care and support of a loved one with others. Find out more about the app over on our product website.
If you’re already using YooToo, add in some tasks to remind you to take a look at some of the suggestions above! And if you or your loved one is already acessing one of these services, add them into the calendar to help you and your family remember what's happening when.