Celebrating National Friendship Day

How the team at Home Instead Exeter & East Devon are celebrating age-gap friendships

Research has shown that the benefits of ‘age-gap friendships’ are many, and if you ask our Care Professionals, they will wholeheartedly agree!

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness found that almost 75% of older people in the UK struggle with feelings of isolation, so the benefits of finding friendships with all generations, are clear. Very often, we provide support that is purely companionship based, and the positive effect of this care often shows itself immediately.

By the time many clients reach their later years, they have often lost friends from their own generation through bereavement or a change in circumstance. This is where the opportunity arises for a mixed age friendship.

We know that there is no reason why an age-gap friendship cannot be as close as any other, as the common interests and characters of a person often remain, regardless of age – dementia included.

There is so much to learn for both parties in a mixed age friendship. Younger people may assume that the lives of older friends are boring, forgetting that they have lived long, eventful, interesting, and exciting lives along the way.

The advice and insight that an older ‘friend’ can offer can be limitless, and a sense of humour doesn’t age… Ask our Care Professionals!

We have seen lots of heart-warming bonds made between Client and Care Professional, such as Alison and her client, a former art teacher, who set themselves up with sketchpad and pen, and had their own art lessons!

Or for Care Pro, Rufus, who would enjoy playing the keyboard for his former music teaching client, often playing scores that she had composed but could no longer read.

Plus, it works both ways. We have Clients that have learned many new skills with regard to culture and technology, opening up their world and all under the guidance of their Care Professional.

Very often, friends from older generations can be a calming influence, taking the challenges of life in their stride, advising with a voice of experience that can be invaluable. With age comes confidence, and that can be inspiring.

For those at the start of their career, or at a turning point, demonstrating the ‘soft skills’ of patience, an ability to communicate, and to adapt to differing scenarios, and people, are invaluable assets to any CV. With Home Instead, there is also the opportunity to develop specialist skills via our Personalised Career Pathways scheme, which includes fully funded RQF qualifications.

Social care careers are unique in their opportunity to provide experience of such skills, which are highly prized by employers, and it’s the communication with a wide spectrum of ages through client and colleague contact, that’s invaluable. Remember, our most ‘senior’ Care Professional, Judi, is currently 80 years young! Find out more via our article, HERE.

Socially too, our Company are keen to encourage contact between colleagues, whether via a Walk & Talk event, Menopause Meetup, or Book Group outing, there are plenty of opportunities for friendship.

In so many ways and for both parties, the advantages are clear: Age-gap friendships work.

We know from experience that our clients can be brilliant company and that’s why we see the person, not the age. We are thrilled to celebrate this on National Make a Friend Day, and year round.

If you would like to know more about the rewarding role of Care Professional, just give our friendly Recruitment Team a call on 01395 200600, email [email protected] HERE or visit our Facebook page and discover why we are different.