Key priority area: Social isolation and loneliness
Funding awarded: £11600
Hand of Solace befriending service aims to improve mental wellbeing and provide companionship to older people - reducing social isolation and loneliness. Through the Befriending Service, befrienders visit isolated older people in Aberdeen and help them to be informed, to access and also support them to attend local activities (activities organised by groups, organisations, government etc). Older people’s confidence and independence are important protective factors against social isolation and loneliness. A lack of either can be detrimental to people’s ability to get out and about and engage with wider networks. Some of the older people from minority ethnic group due to language barrier demonstrated low confidence in some cases to go out into their surroundings and navigate the city. Our befrienders encourage and support our older people to attend appointments, group outings, assisting with using public transport, reading the bus timetable or how to call the taxis. This improves the elderly’s independence, connectedness to the community activity and develop their confidence to visit public places such as coffee shops, restaurants and city sites etc. even after their support from the service has ended. Our service users experience improved mental health and wellbeing, independence through having someone to speak to and being supported to leave the house quite often.