Old Swinford Hospital and Age UK Dudley joined forces almost six years ago to try and help alleviate isolation and loneliness suffered by older people living within the Dudley borough.
Sixth Form students have been regularly visiting residents in care homes and sheltered accommodation, who may not have regular visitors, to play games or simply sit and chat.
With the population living longer the incidents of loneliness and isolation are set to rise steeply and Age UK Dudley has a huge demand for service in this area of need.
Mark, Judy and Julie from the Good Neighbour Team, Dudley Age UK said: “Very often social interaction is limited for older people and these outstanding young people undoubtedly bring a great deal of cheer into the care homes. Word spreads quickly and already this year we have received eleven requests from one care home alone for OSH students to visit. Our thanks to Mr Holder and all of the OSH students who help us to make a difference to the lives of our elderly community.”
Georgina Rowley, OSH Year 12, explains why she became involved in the scheme: “I was resolved to participate in the Age UK Good Neighbour Scheme as I wanted to contribute to transforming the lives of elderly people who desperately require a companion to communicate with. I would like to help reduce the isolation that the elderly may experience and allow them to engage with the younger generation. I hope that I will be able to learn of their life experiences and develop a strong bond with my elderly counterpart, whilst helping to diminish their loneliness.
Finally, by participating in the scheme, I hope that this will enable me to become more aware of the difficulties facing the elderly and how I can contribute to combating these issues. I truly believe that the elderly deserve our respect and compassion. I would like to play a modest part in ensuring that they are taken care of and supported by society as they reach the end of their lifetime, just as they have supported their families for a lifetime.”
Pic shows: Mark Thomas Age UK Good Neighbour Co-ordinator with OSH Sixth Form students.