A call has gone out for caring individuals interested in taking on a companionship role to help transform lives and tackle loneliness among elderly people in Oswestry.
It comes as the national charity Age UK warns that 300,000 pensioners face the ordeal of chronic loneliness.
Home care company Home Instead Senior Care Shrewsbury Ludlow and Oswestry wants to recruit an army of caring individuals who have a few hours each week in which to become companions to older people and make a big difference in their lives.
The company is holding a series of coffee mornings, on March 23 and 30 and April 8, for people to find out more information about the role.
“Companionship provides a real life-line and friendship to many elderly and vulnerable people who can become isolated and lonely as they get older,” said Rachael Birchall, who launched the company nearly three years ago after caring for her grandmother during the last two years of her life.
“Companionship is a big part of what we do and it’s an area that would suit many people who might otherwise be attracted to voluntary work and may have never thought about working in social care before.
“Elderly people can become isolated for many reasons and this loneliness can have a devastating impact upon both their mental and physical health.
“People who were once out-going, confident and independent can become withdrawn and wary of the outside world after long periods of only minimal contact with others. This can trigger depression and anxiety and a vicious cycle of loneliness in which they can become fearful about leaving the house. This makes shopping for themselves, even visiting the doctor a real struggle.
“The value of companionship cannot be under-estimated. Companion CAREGivers become trusted friends with whom to share hobbies, interests, outings and trips. They can support older people with activities such as shopping and getting to and from appointments and can assist with travelling for visits to see family and friends.
“The role is a huge privilege and immensely rewarding. All our companion CAREGivers are special people with natural qualities of compassion and empathy who have an amazing impact on the lives of the people they care for, enabling them to live independently and confidently at home whilst ensuring that they are safe and happy.”
Rachael will be holding the coffee mornings on Wednesday March 23 at Oswestry Memorial Hall, 11am to 1pm; on Wednesday March 30 at The Qube, 11am to 1pm, and at Oswestry Library Work Club on Friday April 8, 10.30am to 11.30am.
Experts say loneliness dramatically increases the risk of dementia, heart disease and early death. Age UK is handing a petition to Prime Minister David Cameron, urging him to do more to tackle loneliness among the elderly.
For further information contact Home Instead Senior Care Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Oswestry on 01743 387650.