Over 5 million older people are affected by loneliness which can cause distress and lead to a range of issues from depression to alcohol abuse. This number is set to rise by 40% in 2030 which will have a huge effect on relationships in the future . In order to address this issue and try to combat loneliness, Friends of the Elderly have launched their ‘Be a Friend’ campaign.
“The best piece of advice I could give to someone in their 20s is: Be kind to everyone, what you give out is what you get back.” Harriet, aged 91.
The campaign calls on people to have everyday interactions with older neighbours and members of their community so you can become friends and look out for each other. It can even be as simple as starting a conversation or try this top 10 tips:
- Simply say help to people on the train, in the supermarket or in your street.
- Get to know the names of at least two neighbours.
- Offer to clean a neighbour’s path, drains or doorstop of fallen leaves.
- Offer to take your neighbour’s bins out.
- Ask your neighbour if they’d like to join you for a dog walk.
- Ask your neighbour to share recipes, make extra, then share with them.
- Ask your neighbour to join you for a cup of tea.
- Ask your neighbour to take in your parcels while you are out.
- Offer to drive them somewhere they need to go.
- Invite your neighbour to join you for a day out.
Be a Friend has a range of tips and advice on staying safe, conversation openers and spotting loneliness so you can start getting to know your neighbours and strive to combat loneliness in your community #beafriend.