Home Instead marks National Friendship Day

Exeter & East Devon celebrate friends of all ages

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

The International Day of Friendship was created by the United Nations (U.N.) in 2011, in an effort to encourage the worldwide community to step back and be thankful for friendship and to encourage peace, happiness and unity.

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness recently 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 at Home Instead, we provide support that is purely companionship based, and the positive effect of this care can show itself immediately. Loneliness is often cited as a reason for requiring our person-centred home care, and drawing from our own experiences, human contact is vital to wellbeing.

By the time many clients reach their older years, they have often lost friends from their own generation through bereavement or a change in circumstance, and 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 stay, regardless of age.

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! Take Kelly for example, who says of her Clients, “They’re inspirational. If ever I wake up and I am in a bit of a mood, they just lift me up. There’s never a day goes by that I don’t smile because of my job….”.

We have seen lots of heart-warming bonds made between Client and Care Professional, such as Alison and her former client, once an art teacher, who would set themselves up with sketchpad and pen, and have their own art lessons! Or for Care Professional Rufus, who would enjoy playing music once composed by his client but that she could no longer read, on his keyboard. Currently, our Care Professional Paul has an ongoing game of chess underway with his client, which is becoming quite the meeting of minds! It works both ways, too. We have Clients that have learned many new skills with regard to technology, opening up their world and all under the guidance of their Care Professional. Common ground is always there, and at Home Instead, time is allowed for a deeper bond to be made.

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. Being exposed to the different point of view from both sides, can expand mindsets. The benefit of having trusted older or younger friends outside of family is obvious too… you get to ask the advice, but the person isn’t your Mum or Dad or child! They’re impartial.

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 Friendship Day, and every day in fact!

If you would like to know more about the rewarding role of Care Professional just give our friendly Recruiters, Tracy and Chris, a call on 01395 200600 or visit our Facebook page and discover why we are different.