The Importance of Human Connection
If we could share one thing that older people continue to tell us during research studies, consultations and reviews, it is that friendship in later years is of extreme importance! But what happens when you begin to outlive all your family and friends? Or your health declines which restricts you from getting out and about into the community? We have witnessed first hand the damaging impact of loneliness experienced by older people because they have limited or no existing social networks. We have lost count the number of times that older people have told us that they don’t want to live anymore because they feel so alone, yet these are incredible people who have a rich life history to share. When someone tells you that they feel like they are invisible and that they have no purpose anymore it is truly heart-breaking to hear which is why we feel extremely privileged to play a part in overcoming loneliness through a range of relationship-centred befriending interventions.
Something very special happens when you connect generations together for mutually beneficial friendship and company. We quite literally see lonely people come to life again finding new purpose and confidence. In fact witnessing the outcome of befriending between older people and volunteers who share similar interests is extremely rewarding!
“Who knew I could make new friends at my age?! There are 57 years between us yet we are the greatest of friends?! I wish so many more people could benefit...” (Scheme Member Muriel).
“I didn't know you could make such profound connections with people entirely through phone conversations. It's been amazing to navigate these recent months with people in very different circumstances to mine, but still find so much in common. I've laughed so often during our phone conversations - something I really didn't expect! It's so brilliant to come out of our conversations feeling better about the world and the people in it”. (Volunteer Sharon).
There are many joy-filled opportunities for human connection across the UK. Befriending is one of those awesome opportunities! So, if you have a heart for older people and would like to make a big difference by giving just a little time, perhaps becoming a befriender might transform your life? Anyone living in Sussex is welcome to be part of our TTTB volunteer community who believe in the importance of human connection. But if you live elsewhere in the UK why not check out the Befriending Directory via Befriending Networks, an organisation which we are proud to be members of and who provided our accreditation of ‘Excellence in Befriending’ in March 2020. To find out more check out: https://www.befriending.co.uk/directory/
Could you help make a difference?! www.tttb.org.uk