K&D get behind Befriending week

Sharon and her befriendee Dorothy
Sharon and her befriendee Dorothy

Kincardine and Deeside Befriending is raising awareness and the importance of Befriending Week from November 2-9.

Research has shown that about one in 10 older people are feeling lonely. Social isolation increases with age and has a detrimental effect on a person’s health and wellbeing.

Most commonly it leads to high blood pressure, low self esteem and self-confidence, depression and it also increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by over 60%.

Even people who were previously socially active can become isolated; for example, after a move, the death of a partner or friends, or if their health and mobility deteriorates.

However, with befriending, the social and emotional support they receive from a befriender can often lead to significant and lasting improvements in their emotional health, well being and quality of life. It also helps them to maintain their independence at home.

By recruiting, training, deploying and supporting volunteer befrienders for over 17 years, K & D Befriending has been able to support older, isolated and vulnerable people, alleviating loneliness by engaging the goodwill of local folk who spend an hour or two a week with their ‘befriendee.’

They currently have 70 very dedicated volunteers giving up their time to regularly visit an older person in their home or take them on an outing. Many have lost their confidence to go out by themselves and much appreciate if the befriender accompanies them.

The national organisation Befriending Networks, of which K & D Befriending is a member, has created Befriending Week as an opportunity for services to promote what they do and to raise awareness locally work of their volunteer befrienders.

This year, during Befriending Week, there will be an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament, including information about K & D Befriending, in order that MSPs can learn more about the issue in their own constituencies, and so they can sign a pledge supporting the work of befriending.

Dorothy (84) said: “I love to talk to Sharon, my befriender, as we are as close as two fingers crossed together. She gets me out of the house in my wheelchair.”

Visit www.kdbefriending.org.uk or contact Sheena on 01330 823368 or Brigitte on 01569 765714.