"Having a befriender has given me confidence, I now know there are things to look forward to out there."
Isolation and loneliness are experiences which affect many of us in today’s society and one group often described as being most acutely affected are older people. There are many theories relating to why older people experience isolation and loneliness such as those associated with bereavement, poor health, lack of mobility and caring responsibilities. As a result older people begin to lose confidence and their mental health suffers as their social network shrinks. In today’s globalized world the family structure often lives more disparately and during times of need are less able to be called upon for regular support.
Our population is ageing at an increasingly fast pace and the social structures that formerly existed to provide support are ever more fragile. New structures must be created in the empty spaces once fulfilled by family, friends and the good neighbour if we are to protect the well-being of our older people and future proof our communities.